Week in Review > Week in Review 6-3-2022

Posted by on June 03rd, 2022


Both chambers of the General Assembly voted to pass HB687 (Oelslager) on Wednesday, sending the capital budget to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature. The House approved the legislation by a vote of 82-8, while the Senate passed it 32-0. On Tuesday, both House and Senate finance committees accepted identical sub bills to their respective capital appropriations bills, HB687 (Oelslager) and SB343 (Dolan). The bill itself, as explained by Senate Finance Chair Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and House Finance Chair Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), now totals $3.514 billion — up from the $3.3 billion total of the proposal outlined May 24 by Office of Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks. The most unique aspect of this capital appropriations bill, according to Dolan, is that it uses $1.5 billion in General Revenue Fund (GRF) dollars — cash, in other words — to pay for the projects in the bill, and it authorizes additional use of GRF “if sufficient revenue exists.” The bill also includes nearly $1.1 billion for Intel. Other appropriations are as follows:

– $703.4 million for K-12 schools, including $600 million for school facilities; $100 million ARPA funds for school safety grants; and $3.4 million for the schools for the blind and deaf. 

– $400 million for higher education facilities. 

– $557 million for the Public Works Commission. 

– $403.8 million for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and $103.3 million for the Department of Youth Services. 

– $50 million for local jail grants. 

– $191 million in community projects. These are the projects that legislators propose for inclusion in the capital appropriations bill. 

– $500 million for the Department of Natural Resources.


Another bill among a handful of proposals to restrict instruction on certain “divisive” concepts, this one addressing gender and sexual orientation as well, had a first hearing Tuesday in the House State and Local Government Committee. Reps. Mike Loychik (R-Cortland) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) told the committee that their HB616 is about parental rights. The legislation prohibits public schools and private schools accepting students on state scholarships from teaching or providing training that promotes or endorses “divisive or inherently racist” concepts, defined to include critical race theory (CRT), intersectional theory, the New York Times essay collection “The 1619 Project,” diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) learning outcomes, inherited racial guilt, and any other concept so defined by the State Board of Education (SBOE). In addition, it bars instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for K-3 students, and requires it be developmentally or age-appropriate for older students. The SBOE would develop a procedure for taking complaints on alleged violations of the bill, with the potential for school funding to be withheld as a penalty.

Newly-minted Superintendent Steve Dackin visited the Ohio Dyslexia Committee at its Tuesday meeting for brief remarks to highlight literacy as his top priority and thank them for their contributions. “There’s no greater calling in Ohio than to make sure all kids — all kids — can read at or above grade level. No greater calling. Your work is a foundation to that,” Dackin said. “We’re going to lead the nation in making sure kids can read … with your help we’re going to get there,” he said.

The Senate Wednesday passed and the House concurred on legislation that reduces the number of training hours required for armed school staff in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court decision that had put the requirement on par with the training required for law enforcement. The Senate passed HB99 (Hall) 23 to 9 with all Democrats voting against it along with Sens. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard). The House concurred on the amendments to the bill 56 to 34. Despite calls from teacher unions to veto it, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement that he will sign HB99.

A Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) forum grew contentious at times as panelists debated the latest bill in the Statehouse aiming to restrict education on certain “divisive or inherently racist concepts” as well as on “sexual orientation or gender identity.” The event was held just a day after HB616 (Loychik-Schmidt) got its first hearing in the House State and Local Government Committee. The bill is among a handful of proposals that would limit how these topics can be discussed in schools. Also in the Ohio House, HB327 (Grendell-Fowler Arthur) is a similar bill that would extend to institutions of higher education.


Members of the House late Wednesday night passed legislation that would prohibit transgender women and girls from participating in women’s and girls’ sports. Republicans added the language to teacher residency program revision bill HB151 (Jones) near the end of the House’s hours-long session Reps. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester), Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) and Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) all spoke in favor of the amendment, arguing that transgender women have an unfair biological advantage over cisgender women. The amendment was accepted by a vote of 56-28, and the bill was passed by the same margin.

The House also sent education omnibus legislation HB583 (Bird-Jones) to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk. Rep. Adam Bird (R-Cincinnati) praised the Senate amendments, while Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) and Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati) criticized the amendments for weakening oversight of charter schools and expanding vouchers to wealthy families. The House concurred with Senate amendments 54-36.

The House voted 55-33 to pass SB156 (Roegner), which recognizes knives as “arms” that are constitutionally protected and provides uniform laws throughout the state regarding the ownership, possession, and purchase of knives. Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) said it’s important that local governments be prohibited from enforcing stricter knife laws than the state, as many people travel with knives throughout Ohio. SB156 ultimately passed by a vote of 57-32.

Members of the House voted 80-10 to pass HB497 (Manning-Robinson), which eliminates retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Rep. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) said parents should make the decision about whether their child should be held back, while Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) noted that retention often leads to more school dropouts and other problems. 

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