Ohio legislature

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.

a photo of demonstrators

Some Democrats in the Ohio Legislature say more needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of children.

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) is sponsoring a bill that is on the books in 23 other states.

“The purpose of this bill is to keep kids safe and make sure that if there are firearms in a home, on a property that they are locked up and stored appropriately so kids don’t have ready access to them,” Kelly said. 

a photo of a referee at a basketball game

Referees at sporting events are used to being heckled by fans but sometimes, they are victims of actual assault. A new bill has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature to address that problem.

Democratic Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) is also a college basketball referee. He says he hasn’t been assaulted by over-zealous fans but he’s aware of some of those situations.


Ohio Republicans have made it a top priority this legislative session to cut state regulatory restrictions.

Senate Bill 1 calls for a 30 percent reduction in regulatory restrictions over the next three years.

Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina is a cosponsor. He said a study has found Ohio has more than 246-thousand restrictions, a number he calls burdensome. 


One of the most influential lobby groups at the Ohio Statehouse has come out with its legislative priorities for this year. Topping the list is a controversial abortion bill that’s expected to be re-introduced soon after being vetoed twice by former Gov. John Kasich. 

This time, when the bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected is reintroduced, Ohio Right to Life will be backing it. The group had remained neutral on that legislation in the past but Jamieson Gordon said, recently, it’s had a change of heart due to a change in the nation’s highest court.

The Ohio Senate and House have voted to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto on a bill, SB296, that would increase death benefits for the families of first responders but also hike wages for lawmakers and other elected officials. 

The Ohio House and Senate have voted to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto on, HB228, a bill that would revamp the way the state handles self-defense cases in court. 


The Ohio Legislature recently passed two controversial abortion bills. Gov. John Kasich vetoed one that would have banned abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected. Lawmakers could override the veto but it doesn’t look likely, at this point, that they’ll have enough votes to do that.

Kasich signed the other bill. It bans a procedure commonly used in abortions at 12 weeks gestation. But those were not the only abortion bills lawmakers considered this year.


The Ohio House and Senate are bracing themselves for a busier than usual week after Christmas. What is usually time spent away from the Statehouse could be used to override potential vetoes from the governor. 

Two abortion bans, a pro-gun bill, and a pay raise for elected officials are all on Gov. John Kasich’s desk. All are bills he’s hinted he’ll veto.

But with supermajorities in both the House and Senate, leaders are preparing to come back after Christmas for possible overrides.

How Ohio Lawmakers Voted on Abortion Bills

Dec 17, 2018
photo of Ohio Legislature

Ohio lawmakers recently passed two restrictive abortion bills, Senate Bill 145 and House Bill 258 (better known as the Heartbeat Bill). The debate over the bills has garnered attention in the national news.

The Ohio House scrambled to pass a pay raise for themselves and other government officials before the year ends. They’re taking criticism for what they attached that provision to.

A piece of legislation with bipartisan support would increase benefits for the families of first responders who died on the job, but an amendment to give elected officials pay raises is causing a rift in the Statehouse.

Several legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, spoke out against the tactic, including Democratic Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown.


The Ohio Senate has approved the so-called “Heartbeat Bill," which bans abortion at the point when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill now goes back to the House. When it reaches Governor John Kasich, he has said he’ll veto it. He’s also said he’ll veto a “Stand Your Ground” self-defense bill if it comes to him. 

During the lame duck session, why are legislators working to pass measures the governor has said he’ll veto? 

The Ohio Senate could vote this week on the so called “Heartbeat Bill,” legislation that bans abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Backers are getting some help from evangelical leaders. And they are sending a strong message to Gov. John Kasich and Ohio lawmakers.

Pastor J.C. Church, national director of ministry engagement with the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council is calling on Kasich to either sign it into law or veto it immediately so lawmakers can override the veto before the holiday break - or during the break, if needed. 

photo of Sherrod Brown

State lawmakers have been working quickly to pass last-minute legislation before session ends, including controversial bills relating to issues such as abortion and guns. The state’s Democratic US Senator – who just won re-election and is considering a run for president – thinks this creates a bad reputation for Ohio.

A photo of clothing on a sales floor

Lawmakers have sent to Gov. John Kasich a bill that would make a permanent sales tax holiday one weekend in August, replacing the temporary one Ohioans have seen for the past three years. The bill also includes a provision meant to make schools safer.

Republican Rep. Tim Schaffer says the sales tax holiday helps the state’s bottom line because shoppers buy non-exempt items while taking advantage of the tax-free school supplies.

Akron City Council Calls for Assault Weapons Ban

Feb 26, 2018
Akron City Council chambers
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Akron has become the first city in Ohio to officially ask the state Legislature to ban assault weapons and related equipment. 

City Council passed a resolution at its regular meeting Monday night calling for a ban on the asssault-style weapons at the state level. Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples introduced it. 

She says it’s necessary because local communities can’t restrict gun sales, but the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that states can. She says the GOP-dominated Statehouse could be ready.

8th St. entrance, Affinity Medical Center
Affinity Medical Center website

Two northeast Ohio representatives who introduced a bill to slow the  closing of Massillon's only hospital are pushing for action on the  measure this week.

Affinity Medical Center owner  Quorum Health Corporation said on Jan. 5th it will close the hospital March 6th.  All clinical operations are to end a month sooner, on Feb. 4.

Ohio Statehouse
State of Ohio

This was a budget year, and there was a looming deficit lawmakers had to deal with. That took up a lot of time in the Statehouse, but legislators passed other laws affecting baseball, sales tax breaks and workers' compensation.

photo of American Fireworks

For decades, customers at fireworks stores in Ohio have had to sign forms promising they will leave the state before setting them off. Now the Ohio House has passed a bill that would loosen state regulations on fireworks sales. 

The bill would allow retail sales of consumer grade fireworks beginning in 2020. Republican Rep. Bill Seitz says passage of this bill would make Ohio the 45th state to both allow sale and use, something he suggests is already happening anyway.

photo of Ohio State Fair

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, September 18th:

Greta Johnson
Jo Ingles / State House Bureau

State Rep. Greta Johnson, whose 35th district includes Akron and Barberton, officially leaves the Ohio Legislature Sunday.  She announced several weeks ago she was resigning before the end of her term.  On the way out of Columbus she had a message for Gov. John Kasich. 

photo of Kari Bloom

A group hoping to reform criminal-sentencing laws is accusing legislators of relying on bills that create new penalties and extend sentences. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports on new findings from the ACLU.

The ACLU released an analysis of the more than 1,000 bills introduced in the Ohio House and Senate last session. According to the report, about 9 percent of those bills had some type of provision that either created new criminal penalties or strengthened existing ones.