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Ohio Senate passes $1.4 billion in appropriations but it appears it's dead on arrival in the House

 Ohio Senate votes on budget
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Senate votes on budget

The Ohio Senate has approved $1.4 billion worth of appropriations over the next two years. But the funding wasn’t passed as a stand-alone capital bill.

Instead, the funding was rolled in as an amendment to Sub. HB 27, a bill that requires state colleges to provide financial cost and aid disclosure forms. And the leader of the Ohio House is saying this bill won't be approved in that chamber.

The Senate's appropriations fall into four basic buckets. The breakout for the money is as follows:

· $600 million for K-12 schools

· $575 million for public works projects

· $196 million for the Ohio State Fair

· $38 million for a program to help families defray the costs of adoption

The bill with the appropriations amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 30-2.

The process by which the appropriations were passed is raising questions from House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill). He is not happy with the way these appropriations were rolled into an amendment to another bill.

Stephens said the House passed time-sensitive construction investments in Substitute House Bill 2 earlier this month. And he said that should have been the vehicle for the Senate’s appropriations too.

“The House has remained very transparent about ensuring money is readily available for the beginning of the summer construction season, and we look forward to the Senate taking up Substitute House Bill 2 and adding their $350 million portion of the One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund,” Stephens said in a written statement. “We believe the sooner this is accomplished, the better for Ohio.”

The House approved HB 2 on Feb. 7. It spends $1 billion in bond money for schools and public works. House Bill 2 also includes $350 million in one-time funding for a lengthy list of projects.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said there’s a reason why his chamber passed the funding through as an amendment in this bill.

“We would like those enacted by the March 31st deadline. Don't have to be the funding stops by June 30th. So, there's that 90-day period. It could be passed as an emergency that gets a little messy,” Huffman said. “And we're told largely that those things are, you know, if we they know they're going to be approved and if the House does it by April 10, it's not really going to interrupt any of those schedules.”

The House and Senate could still come together to pass a bill that could make deadlines for funds if it would include an emergency clause. That would allow the bill to take effect right away. However, an emergency clause requires at least two-thirds support in both the House and Senate. And even though Republicans dominate both chambers, finding concensus in the Ohio Legislature isn't so easy.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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