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May 31, 2022

Ohio Legislative Update

Last Updated: May 31, 2022

OVERVIEW

The Ohio legislature has recessed with no scheduled session dates until mid-November, after the general election. During the final session before recessing at the end of May, more than 30 bills passed out of the House and Senate. Also, federal judges have finally weighed in to set the General Assembly redistricting maps, however, the maps will only be valid for two years as they are deemed unconstitutional. Ohio will hold its second primary on August 2nd for the Ohio House and Senate. See G2G's full report on Ohio politics, legislative activities, education, and health.

Capital Budget

Ohio lawmakers passed the Capital Budget HB 687. The $3.5 billion budget includes nearly $1.1 billion to Intel for a chip fabrication plant, $100 million in school safety grants, and $191 million for Community Projects (a portion of the $1 billion total project requests). The Ohio General Assembly passes a capital budget every two years, usually a year after it passes the state’s operating budget. The capital budget pays for construction projects for state agencies and colleges and universities, must be bondable, and is required to have a state nexus.

Redistricting

Nearly nine months after Ohio was supposed to have legislative maps for the 2022 election and five rejected maps later, a decision by a federal district court gave Republicans the green light to use twice-rejected unconstitutional legislative maps. Calling it "the best of our bad options," the panel of three federal judges ruled 2-1 that Ohio must hold its legislative primary August 2nd using the third set of maps produced by the Ohio Redistricting Commission but invalidated by the Ohio Supreme Court, but for this year's elections only. The House map has a 54-45 GOP advantage Senate has an 18-15 GOP advantage. However, nearly 20 of the Democratic House districts and about 10 in the Senate are considered political toss-ups. None of the Republican districts are considered a toss-up, which is why the maps were consistently deemed unconstitutional.

LEGISLATORS RETIRING AND ELECTIONS

In April, Congressman Bob Gibbs announced he will retire after six terms instead of trying to run in a substantially new district stretching much farther north with two-thirds of it primarily from another district due to redistricting. Meanwhile ballots were already printed, and early voting began just seven days before the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision. Gibbs retirement benefited Max Miller, who won the primary, had outraised Gibbs, and had secured former President Trump’s endorsement last year when he launched his campaign to take GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s seat. Gonzalez later announced his retirement in September, as he faced an uphill battle as one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president. Miller is expected to win the general election in the 7th district.

In the Statehouse, long-time legislator Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) announced she is resigning from the legislature, effective June 8th. While she is term limited from her current seat, she had intended to run for the Ohio House but will instead pursue other ventures. The process to appoint her replacement has not yet been announced. His departure, which comes after ballots have been printed and early voting has begun in Ohio, is a big win for Max Miller, a former Trump official who secured the president’s endorsement last year when he launched a challenge against GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 Republicans voted to impeach the former president.

House Democrats voted to seat Bishara Addison as the new 9th District representative, succeeding former Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights), who left to serve as the new regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Addison is a staffer with a Cleveland philanthropic organization and will represent Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights, and some of Cleveland’s East Side neighborhoods. Addison will not be on the ballot in the primary election and so she will leave the Statehouse when the term expires at the end of the year.