June 21, 2018
After several weeks with no Speaker of the House and as a result, no bills, newly-minted Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) is making up for lost time this week, taking up two dozen bills in yesterday's voting session.
But before getting to their legislative business, House members honored the service of former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner who, looking far more relaxed than he did in his Washington days, used the opportunity to extoll the virtues of disagreeing without being disagreeable. The Representatives present seemed to adhere to his advice in the handful of bills where there was opposition.
Among the bills approved:
House Bill 365, sponsored by Representatives Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), also known as the Reagan Tokes Act. The bill is named in memory of an Ohio State University student who was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender out on parole. The bill seeks to improve electronic monitoring as well as to restore indeterminate sentencing for high-level felonies, allowing for sentences to be reduced or extended depending on the offender's behavior in prison. The bill passed 90-3.
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senators Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), which allows for expungement opportunities for victims of human trafficking. The bill passed 81-12.
House Bill 231, sponsored by Representatives Tim Ginter (R-Salem) and Robert Sprague (R-Findlay and candidate for State Treasurer), the bill is one of the latest bills passed in response to the opiates crisis and would create a pilot program for dispensing controlled substances in lockable or tamper-evident containers. The bill passed 89-3.
House Bill 296, sponsored by Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), another opiates-related measure which would elevate aggravated drug trafficking from a fourth-degree felony to a third-degree felony if the offense is committed near a drug treatment center. The bill passed 92-1.
House Bill 139, sponsored by Representatives Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Candice Keller (R-Middletown), which would generally eliminate the public disclosure exemption for any permanently retained record 100 years after the date of its creation. The bill passed 93-0.
House Bill 406, sponsored by Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), which would add certain mental health professionals involved in criminal justice matters to the list of those whose home addresses are exempt from disclosure under public records laws. The bill passed 93-0.
House Bill 361, sponsored by Representative Greenspan (R-Westlake), which would expand the timeframe for deciding local property tax complaints. The bill passed 91-2.
House Republicans seat Rosenberger replacement – Representative Wilkin
In addition to moving on legislatively, the House is also moving on in the aftermath of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger's resignation by seating his replacement in the 91st Ohio House District — Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro). Wilkin recently won the Republican primary for the seat, which Rosenberger would have been vacating at the end of the year due to term limits.
House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee holds first hearing on notary reform legislation
Following its unanimous passage in the Ohio Senate a couple of weeks ago, the House has begun work on Senate Bill 263, the Notary Public Modernization Act, sponsored by Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville). The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee held its first hearing on the bill Wednesday. As you may recall, the OSBA joined the consortium of metro bar associations in testifying on this legislation in the Senate and has been successful in securing important amendments that will help ensure that both the interests of attorneys and the public will be served.
We'll keep you posted on its progress.
Kasich sees need for more asylum judges
Responding to reporter questions regarding the widely criticized Trump Administration zero tolerance policy, which has led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the southern border, Governor Kasich said that in addition to immigration reform, in the short term, there may be a need for more judges who hear asylum cases. He has been outspoken in his opposition to the policy.
Additionally, Democratic lawmakers have introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 26, sponsored by Senators Cecil Thomas (R-Cincinnati) and Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), calling on Congress to enact legislation to prohibit the practice of separating families at our nation's border. A similar resolution is expected to be introduced by House Democrats in in the near future.
The Ohio House will be in session on Wednesday, June 27, while the Senate has it slated as an "if needed" session.
Tracking OSBA legislation