In this age of hyper-partisanship, there is still bipartisan agreement in the Ohio House.
February wasn’t a big month for passing legislation, but of the 12 measures the House did vote on, eight were unanimous, or nearly unanimous.
- House Bill 38, to provide credit reports to businesses and allow businesses to dispute item in the report, passed 91-1.
- House Bill 150, to reduce taxes on new banks and mortgage lenders, passed 93-3.
- House Bill 151, to create the Chiropractic Loan Repayment Program, passed 95-1.
- House Bill 222, which authorize a temporary income tax credit for an employer’s expenses to train a commercial vehicle operator and increases the commercial driver’s license skills test fee, passed 91-1.
- House Bill 277, to revise the law governing the electronic recording of custodial interrogations, passed 92-0.
- House Bill 341, regarding the administration of addiction treatment drugs and federal agency access to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, passed 96-0.
- House Bill 364, designating February 13 as “Aortic Aneurysm Awareness Day,” passed 96-0
- House Bill 412, establishing a Rare Disease Advisory Council in Ohio, passed 95-0.
Of these, three were co-sponsored by a Republican and Democrat.
Only four bills in the month were passed with more than a handful of “no” votes. Three of those measures, were opposed by representatives from a single party, but just one was opposed by only Democrats in the Republican-controlled House.
Seven Republicans voted against designating February 18 as Toni Morrison Day.
And 22 Republicans voted against House Bill 308. That measure extends Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation coverage to certain safety workers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), regardless of whether they have an accompanying physical injury.
While both Republicans and Democrats voted in favor of House Resolution 247, 29 Democrats voted against it. Resolutions are not legislation, but traditionally express the will of the House. H.R. 247 urges Congress and the President to eliminate the requirement to implement the E-Check Program and to explore alternatives to it in Ohio.
According to the resolution:
“The E-Check Program administered by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency(OEPA) imposes burdensome and costly motor vehicle emissions testing requirements on the citizenry of Northeast Ohio and wastes Ohio’s valuable tax dollars; and
“The E-Check Program has a disproportionate impact on poor and lower and middle class citizens because such citizens are more likely to own older motor vehicles that are subject to the E-Check Program, and those vehicles are more likely to fail an emissions test under the Program. In many cases, a vehicle that is subject to the E-Check Program is the only mode of transportation available to an individual and is vital for maintaining employment, making doctor visits, purchasing food and other necessities, and living a stable and normal life…”
In another indication of bipartisanship, Senate Bill 89 passed 88-7, with four Republicans and three Democrats opposed. S.B 89 was passed unanimously by the Ohio Senate in October. It makes multiple changes to Ohio educational law, including creating the new Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships, which replaces the old EdChoice voucher program. It also dissolves Academic Distress Commissions in place in three school districts and places a moratorium on any new commissioners until 2024.
In two of the bills, Rep. Niraj Antani (R-District 42) was the lone no vote. He voted against five bills in February.
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Maggie Leigh Thurber is a writer for The Ohio Star. Email tips to [email protected].