Lawmakers Come Back From Spring Break To Consider Capital Budget, Medical Marijuana, Campaign Finance Reform

Lawmakers were back at work at the Statehouse this week, with a flood of committee hearings, press conferences and other business – including the capital budget. And now that the legislature is back in session, advocacy groups are descending en masse to lobby lawmakers on their issues - including Ohioans to Stop Executions, who brought with them some of the nine men who were sentenced to die and have now been exonerated for the crimes they always said they didn’t commit.

After months of testimony, the Ohio House’s task force studying medical marijuana has made its recommendations – and they include what could be the first-ever legislation with Republican leadership support to permit medical marijuana in Ohio. Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) talked about what the bill does and doesn't do. Former ResponsibleOhio fundraiser Jimmy Gould, who's part of the panel, praised the bill, along with House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville). But many people in groups that have been fighting for legalization of marijuana don’t trust the legislature, including Mason Tvert is with Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a national organization working to put a medical marijuana issue before Ohio voters this fall.

A group representing disabled Ohioans filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that tens of thousands are being segregated and are or are at risk of being what they called "needlessly institutionalized" because of the way that Ohio runs its services for disabled people. But not all disability advocates joined in this lawsuit. A group calling itself the Disability Advocacy Alliance has fired back. Caroline Lahrmann speaks for the Disability Advocacy Alliance.

It’s been six years since the controversial campaign finance case Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. And for the first time in six years, state lawmakers are looking over a bill that could make big changes in campaign finance reform in Ohio. Rep. John Becker (R-Cincinnati) talked about his bill, and Catherine Turcer from Common Cause Ohio reacted to it as well.

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