Ohio Senate

An Ohio Senate panel is considering a bill that would give judges the option of suspending a driver's license for someone convicted of a drug charge instead of the suspension being mandatory.

Republican state Sen. Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, says current law makes it difficult for hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio with suspended driver's licenses for drug convictions to find a job.

The legislation affects only drug convictions that don't involve driving. The bill is scheduled for another hearing in the Senate Government Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

Second Highest Ranking Leader In Ohio Senate Resigns

Jan 22, 2016
Ohio Senate

The second-in-command in the Ohio Senate announced he’s retiring at the end of the month.

Republican Senator Chris Widener of Springfield has served in the Ohio General Assembly for more than two decades. 

He got his start in the House before moving into the Senate and rising to rank of President Pro Tempore.

Widener was chair of the Senate Finance Committee and oversaw two budgets through his chamber.

Lawmakers scrapped Gov. Kasich's proposal that would have given schools less money.
User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

The State Senate has released its version of Ohio's budget. The chamber plans to send $71.3 billion over two years, which is about one billion less than both the House and Gov. John Kasich's proposed spending plans. 

Senate President Keith Faber of Celina is happy with his caucus’ proposal – which he says has a smaller bottom line than the previous two budget plans. Tax cuts are the big feature in the proposal.  

“We are continuing today to build on our commitment to fund what matters and return to the taxpayers what’s not essential,” Faber said.

Woman spend up to $200 a year on taxes for feminine hygiene products.
Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. John Kasich’s budget director is sending a strong signal to the Ohio Senate that the budget plan passed by the House won’t work. Kasich wants some elements of his original budget put into the Senate’s version.

Kasich’s budget included income tax cuts that were offset with new taxes on tobacco, gas and oil drilling and increased or new sales taxes. The House removed those tax hikes but offered a smaller 6.3 percent income tax cut. Budget Director Tim Keen says the House took money set aside for unplanned Medicaid expenses and used revenue figures that are too rosy.

Ohio Senate Takes Up Charter Reform

Apr 6, 2015
State Senator Peggy Lehner heads the Senate Education Committee.
OhioHouseGOP / Flickr/Creative Commons

 Now that the Ohio House has passed a bill aimed at reforming charter schools, the Senate will take up the issue. The head of the Senate Education committee says she is deeply concerned about the number of poorly performing charters.

The House bill would stop charter sponsors from selling services to the schools they oversee; the Senate is expected to go further and lay out the duties and limits of both sponsors and the operating companies who manage the schools.  

The Ohio Senate has inserted language into a state transportation bill that would limit what cities can do to ensure contractors on their projects hire local residents. The Senate language would forbid any state or federal funds from going to public projects with local hiring goals.

It’s similar to language that was stripped from the House version of the bill last month after Akron officials traveled to Columbus to protest.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic calls state officials hypocrites.

Ohio's Strickland To Focus US Senate Bid On Opportunity

Feb 25, 2015
Former Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland
Wikimedia Commons

Ohio Democrat Ted Strickland says his run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rob Portman will focus on expanding job and educational opportunities for average people.
 
The former governor announced the run, as expected, on Wednesday. His entry adds a formidable statewide name to what is expected to be one of the most watched and expensive of next year's Senate races.
 

Merle Grace Kearns, a former Clark County commissioner and a 15-year state legislator, passed away over the weekend at the age of 76. The veteran Republican lawmaker had gained respect from both sides of the political aisle during her career.

Kearns spent time as the director of the Ohio Department of Aging and was a member of the Ohio House, representing the 72nd  district and served as Majority Leader in the 126th General Assembly.

Prior to serving in the Ohio House, Kearns was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1991 to 2000, representing the 10th Senate District.

Freeze On State Energy Standards Closer To Passage

May 8, 2014

A measure to overhaul Ohio’s energy policies is on its way to the House after the state Senate held a vote very early Thursday morning. The bill would freeze the state’s efficiency and renewable standards for two years.

The standards, which have been in place since 2008, require utilities to achieve a certain amount of energy efficiency and use a certain amount of renewable sources by 2025.

One of the leaders of Ohio’s Green Party says his group is collateral damage in a fight between Statehouse Republicans and the Libertarian Party. Green Party Co Chair Bob Fitrakis says a newly passed bill in the Ohio Senate hurts his group.

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