Cleveland Shows Off for GOP; Lawmakers Head Home for Summer
This week Cleveland got a visit from officials with the Republican National Convention in 2016. There was another setback this week for libertarians who are still hoping to get on the ballot, as an appeals court declined to rehear the case involving Libertarian Party of Ohio candidate for governor Charlie Earl.
It was a busy week at the Statehouse, as lawmakers tried to wrap up work on some bills so they can go back to their districts for summer break – and a few weeks of fundraising and campaigning. They finished up work on several parts of Gov. John Kasich’s budget update – the appropriations mid-budget update, the ones dealing with workforce development and veterans, and the education MBR. In total, the House passed more than two dozen bills this week, including a set of procedures for removing county treasurers, auditors and other fiscal officers from office, a new Ohio Economic Council on Women, the establishment of a state expenditure database in the treasurer’s office, a new Ohio State Beekeepers Association license plate and a ban on the use of tanning beds by minors who don’t have parental consent to use them. This week the Senate took action on some House measures and moved several of its bills, included speeding up the testing of a state backlog of rape kits, the termination of parental rights of rapists to the children conceived in those sex assaults, the inclusion of family pets in protection orders for domestic violence victims, and the creation of the post of Ohio Poet Laureate. But the Senate refused to agree with the House’s amendment to a bill that says a protective order issued to protect a domestic violence victim is effective as soon as the offender is told about it, not when it’s formally served. The House amendment required a paper copy of the order, which Republican Sen. Kevin Bacon said seriously dilutes the bill. But they went along with a bill that would allow electronic tolling on the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. Lawmakers also passed a bill aimed at preventing youth drug abuse by requiring a guardian's consent before a minor is prescribed painkillers, and the House approved a bill that would keep insurance companies from charging significantly more for chemotherapy pills than for traditional intravenous treatments.
But lawmakers didn't take any action on legislation related to the severance tax on oil and natural gas drillers, on changes to the state’s concealed-carry weapons permit law, on requiring most children in day care and preschool programs to be immunized, and on traffic cameras. Meanwhile, a rarely used legislative procedure is now being tried for two bills that didn’t move in the last few weeks. Discharge petitions were pulled for two measures – the so-called Heartbeat Bill and the bill that would repeal the Common Core. Opponents of the Common Core standards gathered in the Statehouse this week, led by Heidi Huber, founder of Ohioans Against Common Core. And watching from the back of the room were a few supporters of the Common Core, including Lisa Gray, the Project Director of the Ohio Standards Coalition, a group of some 40 organizations that back the Common Core.
In an election year, it’s expected there will be a lot of bills that are introduced that get people talking, but are unlikely to go far. One of those may be a measure proposed by a Democrat from Lakewood that speaks specifically to something that a lot of restaurant patrons might not realize is happening, but a lot of servers know all too well. Rep. Nickie Antonio has put together legislation that deals with so-called “tip pools”, which involve not just servers who most consumers are used to tipping, but a whole group of other restaurant workers as well.
We close this week with images and sounds from a very moving ceremony on Monday – to officially unveil the Holocaust and Liberators Memorial on the south lawn of the Statehouse. And “The Making of a Memorial” video – which was created by this show’s director and editor Ron Corby – is available here.