Ohio General Assembly: 2016 Election Review, Lame Duck, and Upcoming Budget

 By Jason Warner, GOPC Manager of Government Affairs

While much of the focus of the 2016 elections has been at the national level, voters across Ohio cast ballots last Tuesday on down ticket races to elect members of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly. Now that the dust has settled, we can look ahead to the new General Assembly, which will take office on January 3, 2017. The new legislative session will include Governor John Kasich’s final state budget and will prelude the 2018 statewide election when Ohioans will elect Mr. Kasich’s successor and other statewide executive officers.

Prior to the election, Republicans in the state legislature enjoyed a majority of 65/34 in the Ohio House and 23/10 in the Ohio Senate. Defying expectations, Republicans in the state legislature gained one seat each in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, increasing their majorities to 66/33 in the House and 24/9 in the Senate. Both majorities are now large enough to override any vetoes which may be issued by Governor Kasich and to pass legislation as emergency measures (allowing them to take effect immediately as opposed to 90 days after executive approval), without the necessary support of legislative Democrats.


  Ohio Statehouse

The short term impact of the election at this stage is hard to determine. GOPC will be attentive to leadership changes and will continue working with members on both sides of the aisle to advance policies on urban and neighborhood revitalization, development of a diverse transportation system and modernization of the state’s water and sewer infrastructure. GOPC has already been reaching out to members of the General Assembly to highlight policy initiatives and will be working with members to ensure these issues are emphasized in budget meetings and other legislative conversations.

Before the new General Assembly is seated in January, the current session will wrap up with lame duck session, when any remaining bills that are poised for legislative passage will be completed and sent to Governor Kasich for his approval. Since political upheaval in the state legislature did not occur, most observers expect that any lingering issues that are not in need of immediate action will be held off until the start of the new session. However, Senate President Keith Faber said recently, “If you have any bills out there…pay attention. Anything can happen.”

Several bills GOPC has been tracking could see action during lame duck. HB482 (Dever) makes changes to the calculation of the exempt value of improved property subject to a community reinvestment area exemption. The bill clarifies the calculation of the exempt value of property subject to a brownfield remediation exemption while authorizing the filing of a complaint with the county auditor challenging the assessed value of fully or partially exempt property. GOPC has worked with Representative Dever on this bill and the measure is highly likely to see action during the next month.

SB333 (Hite) makes changes to laws relating to environmental protection and could also move during lame duck. While SB333 has yet to receive a hearing, the bill was a priority for Governor Kasich earlier this year. The bill complements HB512 (Ginter), which passed earlier in 2016 and established requirements governing lead and copper testing for community water systems and revised the law governing lead contamination from plumbing fixtures. Both bills emerged in response to recent water crises in Flint, Michigan and Sebring, Ohio.

SB235 (Coley/Beagle) offers an incentive to property owners to enhance land sites for future business and development, and ultimately encourage job growth throughout the state. GOPC testified on SB235 while the bill was pending in the Senate Ways & Means Committee in April, expressing support for the bill’s intent to spur economic development. However, GOPC believes a statewide “automation” of offering tax incentives could result in negative side effects. GOPC will seek to modify the bill, which passed the Senate and should see action in the House during lame duck.


*Names listed in parentheses are the legislators who are chief bill sponsors


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One Response to “Ohio General Assembly: 2016 Election Review, Lame Duck, and Upcoming Budget”

  1. Linda Ellis says:

    I am interested in learning about two bills, and a recommendations document, that I know are still pending.

    HB395 and SB106, which are quite similar in nature. :

    As Introduced
    131st General Assembly
    Regular Session H. B. No. 395
    Representative Pelanda
    Cosponsors: Representatives Green, Grossman, Fedor, Ruhl, Hill, Sprague

    A BILL

    To amend sections 3705.17 and 4767.01 and to enact section 4767.09 of the Revised Code to establish the cemetery grant program and to make an appropriation.

    As Introduced
    131st General Assembly
    Regular Session S. B. No. 106

    Senator Tavares
    Cosponsors: Senators Yuko, Seitz, Williams

    A BI L L
    To amend section 4767.03 and to enact section
    4767.10 of the Revised Code to establish the
    Township Abandoned Cemetery Maintenance Grant


    Back in September 2014, over two years ago, the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force had concluded their year-long monthly meetings, and their final recommendations, a 260-page document, was submitted to the governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the Ohio House.

    I have repeatedly asked Anne Petit and my own house representative’s office and no one to date has been able to provide me with status updates on HB395, SB106, or the Recommendations submitted by the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force.

    If anyone has ever visited early Ohio pioneer cemeteries, then they know that far too many of them have been forgotten about and neglected. Much of the time, the reasons given for the neglect stem from lack of funds at the township or village level. In other words, minimum maintenance depends solely on donations. Too much history has already been lost, and all cemeteries are integral parts of their surrounding communities whether or not they are active (registered) or inactive/abandoned (unregistered).

    I am the admin. of the closed Facebook Group: “Preserving Ohio’s Cemeteries, with over 1100 members. We regularly see photographs of cemeteries full of broken, sunken, unreadable, etc. gravestones amidst tall overgrowing weeds. Ohio’s cemeteries, and gravesites, deserve better.

    If anyone could be so kind to reply here about these proposals and recommendations, and their status, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely, Linda Jean Limes Ellis

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