Ohio Statehouse

Lawmakers Consider Timing For Term Limit Ballot Question

Mar 18, 2015

Ohioans could have the chance to vote on a measure that allows them to keep state lawmakers in office longer. The idea of extending term limits has its supporters, but there’s still a debate over when it should head to the ballot.

Some fear the term limit issue could drag down another issue already set for this fall’s ballot—redistricting reform. However others, such as Republican Senator Frank LaRose of the Akron area, believe the two issues could appear like both sides of the same coin.

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.

User: eJourna / flickr

Ohio lawmakers are currently considering a measure that would fast track fracking on public lands. But there’s debate over whether it would allow drilling activity in state parks.

The bill would allow drillers who are working on private property that’s separated by state lands to drill through those lands. Republican Rep. Al Landis of Dover says the drilling would be thousands of feet underground, because a commission would have to allow drilling on the surface in state parks. 

The state’s tax commissioner took some heat from lawmakers looking over the budget. Lawmakers say they’re hearing complaints from some tax refund filers who are being required to take an identity quiz. 

During questioning before the House Finance Committee, tax commissioner Joe Testa says the state spent $6 million to stop thousands of fake income tax refund requests filed in many states by people who are stealing massive amounts of social security numbers. 

A photograph of Justin Back, signed in memorial by friends and community members, hangs in the home of Sandy and Mark Case.
Jerry Kenney/WYSO

A bill known as “Justin’s Law” will be introduced to the Ohio legislature soon.  The bill would allow for stiffer penalties for adults and juveniles convicted of aggravated murder.

About a year a ago, two 19-year-old men broke into the Warren County home of 18-year-old Justin Back. They stole some minor possessions and murdered Back.    

New Ohio House Speaker Selecting Leaders

Jan 8, 2015
Republican State Rep. Ryan Smith has been selected as the new House Finance and Appropriations Committee chair.
ohiohouse.gov

The new Ohio House Speaker is announcing appointments to big leadership roles. Republican Rep. Ryan Smith is the newly-selected chairman of what’s considered to be one of the top House committees.

Smith, of southeast Ohio, will serve his second full term in the House as chair of the finance and appropriations committee.

He says he sees himself as a fair and pragmatic leader. Smith and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger represent a wave of newer elected officials assuming bigger roles in the General Assembly.

Ohio statehouse
thoth188

Ohio lawmakers have finally come to a bipartisan agreement on redistricting that many are calling historic. The process of drawing lines for legislative districts has been controversial in the past, but an agreement passed in the Senate Friday will be sold to Ohioans as a way to make that process more fair.

“This is the most significant bi-partisan activity that I have been involved in in my time here in the House and the general assembly,” said Democratic State Representative Vernon Sykes, who’s leaving after 26 years in the statehouse.

West Carrollton city officials are considering a tax levy to help pay for an in-house emergency dispatch center.
City of West Carrollton website

The city of West Carrollton is considering changes to its dispatching service. Officials are concerned the city is getting priced out of offering an in-house emergency call center.

If the city wants to run its own operation next year, officials are expecting it’ll cost around $800,000. City Manager Brad Townsend says that isn’t feasible without residents paying a little extra. Voters could be asked to approve a levy in May at the earliest.

City of Springfield

  A tax reform bill passed in the Ohio statehouse Wednesday has lots of city and town leaders riled up. The bill, HB 5, set out to reform local income taxes by adding some uniform regulations, including changing the system for companies that work in multiple municipalities. Right now, municipal income taxes are a patchwork, with different policies in over 600 municipalities around the state.

The Las Vegas strip has an open alcohol policy, which is what Ohio legislators hope could become possible in some cities here.
Spreng Ben / Flickr/Creative Commons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Senate has passed a bill to allow people to carry alcoholic beverages outside as they visit restaurants and bars in certain designated areas.

The proposal would allow cities with populations of more than 35,000 to create entertainment districts, where Ohio's open container law wouldn't apply. Patrons with a beer or alcoholic drink from one of the district's establishments could carry it with them outside as they visit other district businesses. The size of the municipal entertainment districts could not exceed a half mile.

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