Ohio legislature

Two bills under consideration in the Ohio Legislature would change sentencing for low-level drug crimes to intervention over incarceration. A new study from a liberal leaning think tank shows passing those bills would improve the health of many Ohioans – especially now.

Some Ohio lawmakers are pushing five different bills they say will deal with the state’s opioid abuse problem in a comprehensive way. 

More than 50 people were signed up to speak out at the first hearing in the Ohio Senate for a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. They were some of the more than 130 people and groups who provided written testimony in support of the proposal backed by eight Senate Democrats and one Republican.

Republicans in the Ohio House have approved a bill that would limit the power and length of public health orders on coronavirus that their fellow Republican, Gov. Mike DeWine, has been issuing through Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. The bill reflects a split in the GOP on how to restart the economy that could carry over into the future.

a photo of Voting Machines

Election eve was confusing. An announcement earlier in the day stated Ohio's March 17 primary was still on. But that afternoon, Gov. Mike DeWine said he was going to get a court to postpone it until June 2. 

The court refused to do that. So later that evening, DeWine had Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issue an order to close the polls on Election Day. 

Nearly 180 charter schools will have to change how they do business or shut down under a new bipartisan bill introduced in the Ohio House. It's the latest attempt to crack down on charter schools.

photo of Ohio Legislature

Ohio voters might get to decide whether to amend the state constitution to set new term limits for state lawmakers.

The proposed amendment would limit lawmakers to serving 16 years total in the Ohio House or Senate. Now lawmakers are limited to eight-year terms. Attorney Don McTigue, who's leading the effort, says they can jump back and forth between the chambers to stay in the legislature much longer.

photo of man talking

A lawsuit has been filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by families who are affected by the legislature’s recently imposed 60-day moratorium on vouchers for the state’s EdChoice school voucher program. 

Aaron Baer with Citizens for Community Values says he represents parents and schools who have been harmed by the law pushing the EdChoice window from Feb 1 to April 1. Baer says it’s also unenforceable because it lacks an emergency clause that would allow it take effect right away.

a photo of a classroom

This is the week that advocates for school choice are highlighting alternatives to traditional public schools.

One choice that may be available to a growing number of parents is a voucher to use public money to pay for private education.

That expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program could devastate public school budgets unless lawmakers take action this week.

a photo of Plastic Bags

Local communities would not be able to ban single use plastic bags under a bill the Ohio House has passed – mostly along party lines – and sent on to the Senate.

The leaders of the House have differing views about the proposal.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) supports the ban on bans, saying retailers need uniform rules. "There should be consistency as far as your business is concerned."

a photo of Emilia Sykes and other members of the Ohio House of Representatives

Leaders of the Republican dominated Ohio Legislature have expressed frustration in recent weeks that more of the bills they consider “priorities” have not been passed by lawmakers. But Democrats in the House say they think lawmakers are spending too much time debating the wrong issues.

Democrats say there are bills, many with bipartisan support, that deal with kinship care, family leave and healthcare. But Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says the legislature is spending too much time on divisive bills that don’t benefit Ohio’s families.

a photo of a woman about to take a pill

The Ohio Senate is poised to pass two controversial abortion bills Wednesday that would put restrictions on doctors performing those procedures.

photo of empty ohio house chamber

The home rule provision was added to the Ohio constitution by voters in 1912, and the struggles between local officials and state lawmakers have raged almost since then. There have been claims that home rule is “under attack”.

Republican Leader Larry Householder

The Republican leader of the Ohio House says he’s watching what happened this week with the last-minute settlement to stop the big opioid trial in Cleveland – and the billions of dollars involved in it.  

Sad looking dog behind rusted chain link fence

Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase penalties for people convicted of cruelty to pets and other companion animals. 

Ohio Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) says first-time animal cruelty offenders can be charged with felonies under a law passed in 2016. But he says with newly passed criminal sentencing standards, even those who are convicted often spend no time behind bars. 

“If you smack them on the wrist for breaking the necks of puppies, that is not going to bode well for what they are going to do in the future to other animals or people.”

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the state did not overstep its authority when it passed a law that forbids cities from placing residency requirements on workers employed by contractors doing business with those local governments.

One of Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed gun law changes in the wake of the shooting that killed 10 people in Dayton is an idea that’s been talked about before, and has passed in 17 states – a way to remove guns from people who are thought to be dangerous to themselves or others.

a photo of Gov. Mike DeWine

In response to the mass shooting in Dayton, Gov. Mike DeWine is calling on the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a slate of gun regulations. His plan includes a version of the so-called "Red Flag Law" and expanded background checks.

DeWine says his 17-point plan is a comprehensive way to reduce gun violence.

Critics say more should've been done sooner.

But DeWine says his office has been working on these initiatives and that it was important to get it right.

In May, when 14 tornadoes ripped through Dayton, Ohio, and its suburbs, there was no force on Earth that could stop the destruction.

Tornadoes can't be legislated out of existence.

photo of guns

In the wake of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohioans for Gun Safety says now is the time for state lawmakers to pass tougher gun regulations. The group says they have the blueprint for one critical issue.

Ohioans for Gun Safety is collecting signatures to petition the Ohio Legislature to expand and strengthen background checks on gun sales, this includes closing the loopholes on online and gun show sales.

a photo of the budget conference committee

Ohio House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal on a $69 billion two-year spending plan. The plan will be up for a vote Wednesday in the full House and Senate. It comes just in time as the current interim budget expires Wednesday.

A bipartisan committee with representatives and senators hashed out what is expected to be the done deal between the two chambers.

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.

a photo of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

The six lawmakers working out the hundreds of differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget are facing a really big one right off the top – a major split over tax cuts. 

The House budget cuts income taxes by 6.6 percent and drops the $250,000 small business tax deduction to $100,000. The Senate budget restores that deduction and cuts taxes by 8 percent.

The two-year state budget is headed to a conference committee Tuesday to work out significant differences between the House and Senate versions. And there isn’t much time to deal, because the budget must be signed by Sunday night.