Matt Dolan

In a strong showing of unity, state lawmakers have unanimously passed a bill making a lot of changes in state law related to the response to coronavirus – but they stress that they’re only temporary. The package now goes on to Gov. Mike DeWine.

empty chairs and desk

State lawmakers are expected to vote on a compromise that could stop a huge increase in the number of Ohio public school buildings where students will be eligible for private school vouchers starting this weekend.

mother consoling daughter

Lawmakers who’ve wanted to stop the impending explosion in the number of school buildings where students will be eligible for the state’s largest private school voucher program say there’s a deal in the works. But parents and students already in the EdChoice program want it to stay and expand. 

Changes Likely Coming To DeWine's Gun Bill

Dec 23, 2019

The gun bill supported by Gov. Mike DeWine and introduced in October is likely to see some changes before it reaches the Ohio Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 221 seeks to expand court authority to remove firearms from people considered a threat and to increase background checks before private gun sales.

A photo of Matt Dolan

Democratic state senators had lots of questions for the sponsor of Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed gun violence bill at its first hearing. They wanted details about the private gun sales background check system it creates as well as the version of the red flag gun seizure law it includes.

Democrats fired various scenarios at sponsor Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and asked why the bill doesn’t include mandatory background checks or a stronger red flag law. Dolan told them the bill will reduce gun violence, and therefore does something – as activists have called for.

Photo of Mike DeWine

One of Gov. Mike DeWine’s 25 vetoes on the state budget struck a provision that was added at the last minute – a property tax reduction for certain homeowners in one wealthy school district, but not others.

a photo of cleveland st patricks day parade

The two-year operating budget will move next year’s presidential primary to St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Republicans moved it to after March 15 so they could award all delegates to a single candidate. And they did it over the objections of Democrats.

Ohio lawmakers failed to reach a state budget agreement by the midnight deadline, missing the mark for a spending deal for the new two-year cycle. Because the House and Senate couldn’t reach a compromise, both chambers passed a temporary budget extension to keep the government running. 

With hours to go before the deadline for a two-year operating budget to be signed, the Ohio Senate approved a deal that would extend it for 17 days.

photo of Obhof and Dolan

The final version of the Ohio Senate’s budget is expected Wednesday. While there will certainly be some proposals added in, some things are unlikely to change – such as the money that goes to a fund that’s been decimated over the last eight years. 

A photo of Matt Dolan

The Ohio Senate’s budget plan adds more money to the fund that helps children who are dealing with severe mental and developmental issues. But the changes include a policy shift that helps parents maintain custody of their children in the process.

The Senate heard the testimony of several parents who were forced to give up their kids to get state-paid treatment.

Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said their budget will change the rules to avoid child custody relinquishment.

Photograph of Matt Dolan

The two year state budget has passed the House and is now in the hands of the Senate. And the head of the committee that is looking it over said he has some concerns about the spending in it. 

Senate Finance Committee chair Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said the House added millions of dollars in spending to the budget from Gov. Mike DeWine. And just hours after that budget passed, the state announced April tax revenues came in well over estimates. Dolan said lawmakers are still looking over all the math.

a photo of a scene from the filming of 'The Avengers' in Cleveland

There’s a blockbuster battle brewing over a small tax credit that was cut in the House version of the budget. Senators from northeast Ohio are among those planning to restore the credit.

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) led the charge to cut the $40 million film tax credit, saying that money would be better spent on reducing income taxes across the board, including eliminating them for people making under $22,000 a year.

And Householder said after the House budget passed that it was determined to cut what he called, “special deals for certain people”.

Hog Creek Wind Farm

An issue that some believe will reignite the wind energy industry is getting a new wave of support. A previous version of the bill stalled after the abrupt resignation of the senator who was backing it.

A northeast Ohio Republican lawmaker has reintroduced a bill to decrease wind setbacks, which is the distance a turbine must be from a property line.

Sen. Matt Dolan is the new leading voice on the issue. He says the current setbacks handcuff the wind industry.

photo of Sen. Frank LaRose

Ohio could soon become the third state in the country to ban abortion after a diagnosis of Down syndrome. A bill to do that has passed the Senate.

Republican Frank LaRose of Hudson explained why he sponsored the Senate version of the ban.

“Do we want in the state of Ohio to have people making a decision that someone is less valuable because of a chromosomal disorder that they have?”