Ohio legislature


Tax changes are on the minds of Ohio’s legislative leaders.

Senate President Larry Obhoff of Medina County says taxes are one of the priorities in the 132nd General Assembly.

“Even though our overall [tax] rate in Ohio has gone down, the complexity, the needless layers of it, haven't really changed, and I think that’s a problem,” Obhoff said.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger says he also wants to tackle taxes.

“Tax shifting is not one of the things I’m interested in,” Rosenberger said.

A photo of Central Ohio Transit Authority bus in the Short North district of Columbus.

With the Ohio Legislature's lame-duck session just concluded, groups are already starting to look ahead to next year’s big budget bills. Several see this as an opportunity to increase money and access for public transportation.

A coalition of environmental, disability and other groups from around the state are calling on lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich to increase funding for public transportation. That would mean more sidewalks, bike paths and mass transit.

photo of Ohio Statehouse

Two think tanks that are normally on opposite sides are very pleased with a bill passed in the lame-duck legislature which would require a review of billions of dollars in tax breaks and loopholes. 

Greg Lawson with the conservative Buckeye Institute says he’s thrilled lawmakers passed the bill forcing them to study $8 billion in tax expenditures, credits and other breaks – though he says it’s not enough.


Ohio lawmakers are coming back into session next week. And they are expected to tackle a long list of things during the next few weeks.

The lame-duck session of the Ohio Legislature is the last few weeks of the year when bills are on a timeline to expire at the end of the two-year session in December. So bills can pass quickly, without much public scrutiny.

photo of a panting dog

A new Ohio law will give immunity to people who rescue pets and kids from hot cars. 

Police Capt. Jim Coey recently got a report of a dog that had been left inside a car at the local canoe livery in Loudonville.

“The dog was starting to get in a bad way. He had crawled up to the front of the car and was down under the brake pedal in the front driver’s side of the car. We got concerned about that so we went ahead and broke a window out and got the dog out, got him some water. He came around pretty quick. He was pretty hot and pretty distressed at that point.”

photo of Ohio House chamber

The Ohio House and Senate took on a packed slate of bills during the last day of lawmaking before leaving for summer break. 

The bang of the gavel could be heard throughout the day inside the House and Senate chambers as the General Assembly cranked through about 50 pieces of legislation.

To put that into perspective, the House and Senate usually see five to eight bills on a typical day in session.

And while medical marijuana was the blockbuster issue of the day, the Legislature had plenty of other big measures on its plate.

photo of Ohio Statehouse cupola

State lawmakers will be busy again this week with two major pieces of legislation and lots of other bills.

Hearings continue in the Senate on the capital bill, which earmarks $2.6 billion for construction and improvements at universities and schools and for local roads, bridges, water supply systems and other projects. Lawmakers want that signed by the end of the month.

And the members of a committee created to hear a bill legalizing medical use of marijuana have two hearings scheduled on that measure.

photo of Don Wirtshafter

Just one day after the Ohio House announced it will pursue a bill allowing limited use of medical marijuana, yet another group got approval to start circulating petitions to put its issue on the fall ballot. 

Athens attorney Don Wirtshafter with Grassroots Ohio says he’s not sold on the medical marijuana plan Ohio House leaders say they want to pass.

“It’s a very timid first step. I believe our initiative is necessary because it will force the Legislature to look at this more realistically in view of the modern science on the subject.”

Janine Boyd and Christie Bryand Kuhns

A new bill in the Ohio legislature would give employees of businesses in the state a full 12 weeks of paid family leave each year.

Some Democratic state lawmakers are backing the plan that would require most employees to pay about $25 to $30 a year into a state insurance program much like the one operated by the Bureau of Unemployment Services.

Then, when they need maternity or paternity leave or time off to care for close family members, they could tap into the program to be paid while they’re not working.


One of the sponsors of a bill that would expand the exemptions to Ohio’s indoor-smoking ban says he’s willing to consider changes to address concerns of anti-smoking advocates. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, that’s unlikely to sooth those concerns.

A crowd gathers at the Riffe Office Tower to hear the "State of Black Ohioans" address

Ohio’s African-American state lawmakers say their fellow legislators aren’t taking action on bills they feel should be priority legislation.

Democratic Rep. Alicia Reece of Cincinnati delivered the annual “State of Black Ohioans” speech before dozens of activists who came to Columbus Wednesday.


Residents in many cities throughout Ohio are clearing their sidewalks to comply with local laws. As Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, some Ohio lawmakers have a bill that would allow townships to pass laws to also require sidewalks to be shoveled.

Republican State Rep. Tim Brown says there are some townships where local leaders cannot require homeowners to clear sidewalks. And that, he says, is not fair to township residents.

photo of Fred Mills

This year, a collection of state lawmakers, local officials and historians took a long look at extending term limits in Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports opponents said average Ohioans had a different view about the idea. And, at least for now, the opponents won.