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Ohio lawmakers prepare to pass flurry of bills before heading out for summer

The Ohio Statehouse in June 2024.
Sarah Donaldson
Statehouse News Bureau
The Ohio Statehouse in June 2024.

There's a good chance Ohio lawmakers will be in Columbus late into Wednesday evening, with more than 50 bills getting a vote between the House and Senate chambers.

June 26 is the last session on the schedule before the legislature goes on recess through summer, which has historically meant it’s also the last chance to move bills until after the November election—in which many lawmakers are running for reelection.

The big agenda item in both chambers is to pass the biennial capital appropriations budget that has gone through months of negotiations. It puts $4.2 billion total toward infrastructure projects, including a $700 million package of one-time funds that come from excess money during the latest fiscal year. John Fortney, spokesperson for the Senate majority caucus, said the slew of appropriations are now largely set in stone.

But 32 unrelated bills are scheduled for a vote on the Ohio House floor.

They include House Bill 308, which would reclassify nuclear energy as green energy, and House Bill 79 on energy efficiency. Also on deck for a House vote are Senate Bill 144, dealing with Medicaid daily rates among other health care measures; Senate Bill 214, enabling human trafficking survivors to erase some criminal records; and House Bill 599, making the walleye the official state fish.

On Tuesday morning, lawmakers also rolled a number of different bills—including the CAMPUS Act, a recent bipartisan proposal allocating $4 million to security and student safety grants for protests at public colleges—into Senate Bill 94.

Senate Bill 83 is not on the House schedule. The partisan legislation to address concerns conservatives have about higher education cleared the Senate more than a year ago and is stalled in the House.

When asked Tuesday, House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said he didn't know anything about whether it would come forward via a floor amendment.

“It's been a bill that was introduced a year ago,” Stephens said. “A lot of events in the world have changed and I think some of the things could be changed in it.”

The Senate will set its schedule late Wednesday morning.

But senators will vote on two dozen or more items, Fortney said Tuesday afternoon. Senate President Matt Huffman told his colleagues during a rules and reference committee hearing Tuesday that session will last “most of the day” and “most of the evening.”

Changes to the state's cannabis law could be among the votes Wednesday. But lawmakers have yet to successfully enact changes to the initiated statute ratified by voters last year.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
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