New Round of COVID Relief: House Democrats are drafting a new COVID-19 relief bill modeled after President Biden’s proposed $1.9T in federal response announced in January. A floor vote in the U.S. House is expected next week (the week of Feb. 22.); Congressional leaders are intending for the final bill to be signed by President Biden in early March.
On Monday, February 1, Governor Mike DeWine announced his administration’s executive budget proposal for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Joined by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted and Office of Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks, Governor DeWine walked through the highlights of the two year spending plan.
House Bill 6 – Repeal effort to resume in 134th General Assembly: In a Franklin County civil suit by Attorney General Dave Yost, Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Brown on December 21 blocked the collection of $170MM in annual subsidies that had been scheduled to commence this month (January 2021). Judge Brown noted an “obvious” public harm should the subsidies move forward. He further determined Attorney General Yost established by a preponderance of the evidence a likelihood of eventual success in the case on its merits, given the extent of the criminal allegations and the guilty pleas from two of the criminal defendants.
Efforts failed in the 133rd Ohio General Assembly to make a legislative fix of scandal-tainted HB 6, as lawmakers halted legislative work December 18 without acting on any of their pending proposals. Among the most promising and backed by Ohio House leadership, HB 798 failed to muster the needed votes to advance.
Efforts to repeal HB 6 will continue in the 134th General Assembly, with a Democratic plan announced shortly before the Ohio House’s opening day session. Senate President Huffman likewise voiced his desire to go line-by-line through the law to determine which provisions need to be repealed or reworked.
Capital Bill in lame duck session: As the 133rd General Assembly winds down its affairs, on Tuesday, December 8, Ohio OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks described a $2.1B state capital budget.
Interestingly, SB 310, originally intended to carry federal COVID-19 allocations through the Ohio General Assembly, has been identified as the vehicle such a fast-tracked capital budget; the capital appropriations would be inserted into SB 310 as the bill sits in conference committee.
Hearings are scheduled for the week of December 14. Be on the watch for amendments as the measure must be reconciled between the existing House and Senate versions to clear conference committee.