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February 27, 2023

Ohio Legislative Update

Last Updated: February 27, 2023

budget season

It is budget season in Ohio! Because the state of Ohio operates on a biennial budget, the first six months of this year will be mostly dedicated to the budgets that fund our state. The state transportation budget (HB 23) must be passed by March 30th and the state operating budget (HB 33) must be passed by June 30th. The Ohio House is currently hearing the transportation budget with passage expected this week. Following the tragedy in East Palestine, rail safety is top of mind for legislators in this budget. Hours of hearings have been dedicated to rail safety, worker safety, and transportation of hazardous materials. The transportation budget has already started hearings in the Senate so it may quickly make it through the legislative process and to Gov. DeWine’s desk before the end of March.

The state operating budget (HB 33) has also begun hearings in the House with department heads giving their testimony to the committee in early February explaining the funding needs of their departments. Gov. DeWine’s priorities for this budget include a focus on literacy, specifically through the use of phonics, a continued focus on mental health, and also H2Ohio. DeWine has also proposed a new department — Department of Children and Youth Services — to consolidate programs now spanning six agencies. The agency will focus on the health of mothers and children, children’s behavioral health, foster care and early childhood education. The budget will likely pass the House by the end of April and then make its way to the Senate for passage in late May/early June. Conference Committee for HB 33 will likely happen in mid to late June so it may be passed and to the governor before the end of June. G2G is regularly at the Statehouse meeting with legislators and attending events. Should you have any questions about the state budget or its provisions, please let us know.

ohio department of education overhaul

A major bill that did not make it through the legislative process in the 134th General Assembly has resurfaced as SB1, sponsored by Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin). Reineke cited lagging test scores, delayed rollouts of key initiatives and a lack of alignment to workforce needs under the oversight of the State Board of Education and state superintendent as the need for the overhaul. In his bill, the Ohio Department of Education would retain authority over realms like teacher licensure and discipline and school district territory transfers but the new Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) he proposes would be run by an appointee of the governor and give the governor more direct control of education policy and administration in the state. The bill is currently being heard in the Senate Education Committee and expected to have many amendments and changes. The House Primary and Secondary Education Committee also had its first hearing on companion legislation, HB 12 sponsored by Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and David Dobos (R-Columbus). G2G is closely monitoring this bill.

Legislator Updates

Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has officially launched his campaign for U.S Senate to run again U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in 2024. Dolan has stated America’s challenges demand the focus of experienced leaders who reject fictional grievances and are ready to do the hard work of getting results to make our future better than the past. Dolan said he is committed to putting the needs of Ohio first and delivering results. We expect to see more Republican announcements in the coming months.

The Ohio House announced the death of current Representative Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) who passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, February 25th at the age of 46. Jordan was serving his third term in the House after previously serving 8 years in the Senate. He was Chair of the Financial Institutions Committee. In late January, former Representative Dan Ramos, a democrat from Lorain County also passed away at the age of 40. Ramos was the second person of Latino descent to be elected to the Ohio General Assembly serving from 2010-2018. Our thoughts are with both families and loved ones at this unimaginable time.