The General Assembly took on a large number of bills this week as both chambers met and passed many bills. Most notably, the Ohio Senate passed the capital budget this week, spending $2.63 billion of taxpayer money on various projects (you can get a closer look at the spending bill here). Meanwhile, both chambers passed nearly two dozen bills on their respective floors on Wednesday in several hours of session. The legislators are trying to wrap up their business for the early part of the year so they can go focus on elections—the primary election being May 8th.
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK:
HOUSE CONTINUES DEBATING EDUCATION CONSOLIDATION PLAN
The Ohio House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee held another hearing this week on House Bill 512, which would consolidate the state’s education agencies under the Governor’s control. The Committee took supporting testimony from two business groups: the Ohio Homebuilder’s Association and the Ohio Restaurant Association.
A substitute version of the bill was expected but was delayed this week at the request of Committee Vice-Chairman and the bill’s sponsor Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin). Reineke said that “we’re trying to make sure we pay attention to due process and make sure everybody’s heard.” He said he is considering amendments that would deal with homeschooling and religious schools. CCV will be speaking with members and voicing our concerns over this bill.
Committee Chairman Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati) said that he does not anticipate a vote this spring. That means we will likely get a vote on this next fall. The vote could occur during the “lame duck” period, which is the most dangerous time for legislation because it is after the election but before the next General Assembly begins. Make sure you contact your legislators if you have concerns over this bill. CCV is happy to facilitate that for you.
- CCV maintains deep concerns about House Bill 160 or other potential legislation that would provide special rights for those who identify under their sexual orientation and gender identity. Recent meetings with House leadership have not quelled our concern that at least some form of this bill is being considered. As the primary election nears, please demand that your candidates make their position clear on this now.
- Speaking of House Bill 160, our friend Ryan Anderson (who is speaking in Columbus on March 28—details here) just published a great article on this issue called “Shields Not Swords.” This article is a fantastic guide for legislators on this subject.
- Thanks to Representative Jim Butler (R-Oakwood), who approved of an amendment we requested to House Bill 345 to ensure that embryonic stem cell research will not be supported by Ohio taxpayers. The bill would have Ohio adopt the “Solemn Covenant of the States” to award prizes for curing diseases.
- I testified this week on House Bill 333 which would eliminate the marriage tax penalty in Ohio. I testified about the benefits of marriage generally, particularly for men, and why the state should support policies that promote marriage. My testimony can be viewed here.
- CCV was approved this week by Capital University Law School to offer an externship to law students. Please let us know if you or someone you know would be interested in clerking with my office. Details available upon request. We are also accepting applications for summer college internships.
- Voter registration for the May 8th primary election is due by April 9th. Click here to register or update your registration.
- Over the next several months, the Ohio Board of Education will hold 11 stakeholder meetings throughout the state for the purpose of developing a strategic K-12 plan for the state and we want to make sure your voice is heard in this process. Click here for more information on how to get involved.
- CCV will be hosting a public talk with the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson in Columbus on the morning of March 28. His book “When Harry Became Sally” is one of the first comprehensive books on the subject of the transgender phenomena. We strongly recommend that you get a copy and make sure you tell your legislators to read it as well. Click here for more information.
- CCV’s annual banquets are coming up, April 20 with Congressman Jim Jordan and April 27 with Chris Scalia. Details here.
LAWMAKER PRAYER FOCUS:
Each week, we ask that you take a little time to get to know one of Ohio’s legislators and pray for them to have wisdom, moral guidance, and courage. This week, I’d like you to pray for Senator Bill Coley of Cincinnati. He is a lawyer who mainly practices in commercial litigation. Whenever I have talked to him, he has always listened carefully and engaged thoughtfully. Senator Coley is a big fan of aviation and loves flying airplanes.
Please reach out to your member of the General Assembly to speak your mind about these bills and others that you care about. You can find your member here.