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April 2017 Legislative Update: Latest News from the Ohio Statehouse

By Jason Warner, GOPC Manager of Government Affairs With the legislature wrapping up spring break, now seems like a good time to provide the first status update on a number of bills currently pending before the 132nd Ohio General Assembly.

GOPC has compiled a comprehensive recap of legislation, which is available here

A number of bills have been introduced since the new general assembly began in January, but most of the work continues to concentrate on the various budget bills which must be enacted by July 1, 2017 when the new state fiscal year begins. Already, one of those bills has already been passed and signed into law; the state transportation budget was signed by Governor Kasich on March 31 and will provide funding for Ohio Department of Transportation, among other agencies, for the next two state fiscal years, which begin on July 1, 2017 and end on June 30, 2019. HB26 includes a significant boost in funding for public transit fleet replacement, increasing funding for this program by $10 million per year and is primarily derived from the state motor fuel tax and federal transportation funding.

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The main operating budget, HB49 is still pending in the House Finance Committee. This bill provides funding for state government operations for the next two state fiscal years, which begin on July 1, 2017 and end on June 30, 2019. Also known as the general revenue fund (GRF) budget, this is the primary source of funding for state government operations for the next two years. The House is expected to pass a version of the budget by May 3, 2017; the Senate has begun informal hearings on the budget and will undertake formal hearings following the passage of the House version next month. Final passage is expected by June 30, 2017.

During the spring break, Governor Kasich was joined by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Larry Obhof at a press conference to announced that, due to declining state tax receipts, it would be necessary to cut $400 million per year over the next two years from the current budget proposal. It is not yet known what areas will be targeted for cuts in the budget proposal, but state budget director Tim Keen has indicated that the new budget will essentially be flat funded; meaning that funding for state programs will remain equal to what they have been for the past two years.

For more information about all bills GOPC is currently tracking, please read the full legislative update, which is available for you here