Ohio moved a step closer to recognizing business licenses from other states, which could help with an ongoing labor shortage, a Columbus-based policy group believes.
The House and Senate each passed versions of bills that would adopt universal occupational license recognition before the summer recess, a move The Buckeye Institute believes will make the state more attractive to newcomers and allow employers more options to fill open spots.
Calling the actions of Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission a “stunning rebuke of the rule of law,” the Ohio Supreme Court rejected for a fifth time a set of Ohio House and Senate district maps.
The decision came three days before a deadline set by federal judges, who said they would implement maps ruled unconstitutional if no new legal maps were created.
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a Democrat request to move the state primary to June, while independent map makers told the Ohio Redistricting Commission progress is slow creating a fourth set of state legislative districts.
The Supreme Court left the power to establish election dates and times in the hands of the General Assembly after Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, filed a motion last week to have the court set a new date.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose wants more money from the General Assembly to conduct the state’s May 3 primary after continued delays in creating new district maps increased pressure on county boards of elections.
LaRose, who also is a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission that twice had maps thrown out by the Ohio Supreme Court, also ordered county boards to start taking steps to place candidates for the General Assembly on the ballot, even though the court has yet to approve a third set of maps passed late last week.
“The General Assembly has the legal authority to set the time, place, and manner of our elections, and they’ve made it clear that the state House and Senate contests will be placed on the May 3 ballot,” LaRose said. “I’ve also communicated to the legislative leaders the risks associated with rushing this process. Elections officials across Ohio are concerned about the compressed timeline for candidate certification, ballot preparation and the programming and testing of voting equipment.”
Vendors wanting to do business with the state of Ohio would be banned if they are caught committing fraud under proposed legislation in the General Assembly.
What sponsoring lawmakers are calling anti-corruption legislation also is aimed at stopping influence and collusion. Ohio is one of a few states that does not have a law modeled after similar federal legislation.
“Ohio is potentially letting criminals get away with millions of dollars of ill-gotten taxpayer dollars by failing to adopt these long-needed and commonsense reforms,” Rep. Jeffrey Crossman, D-Parma, said. “There is no reason why we shouldn’t pass these bills to catch and punish fraud.”
A bill passed in the Ohio House would help the state prepare for a future with electric vehicles.
House Bill 292, which was passed in the House on Thursday, establishes the Electric Vehicle Commission, consisting of elected officials and industry leaders, to study electric vehicle production and the steps needed to take to adapt to potential growth in the industry.
Ohio’s effort to redraw congressional districts bounced back to the General Assembly, where Democrats are calling the Republican proposal heavily gerrymandered and against the wishes of Ohioans who voted for reform in 2018.
State Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, however, said the Republican proposal meets state constitutional requirements.
“It is the product of a deliberate effort to draw compact districts, while keeping Ohio’s largest cities whole,” McColley said in sponsor testimony.
Foreign languages, business education and home economics still will be a required part of curriculum in Ohio schools after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously to stop a proposal from the Ohio Department of Education that would have allowed them to be eliminated.
The Senate concurred with House Concurrent Resolution 35 to stop a plan that would have changed the state’s administrative code to eliminate those required courses of study, a change put forth by the State Board of Education. The House passed the resolution, 95-0.
Wednesday’s vote marked the first time in 25 years the General Assembly stopped a rule from going into effect, according to Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who serves on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
Two more lawsuits have been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court challenging Republican drawn legislative district maps, claiming they are unconstitutional and gerrymandered.
The most-recent challenge came Monday from the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and was filed by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law and the law firm Reed Smith.
The prime sponsor of a vetoed voting reform bill said Friday he reintroduced the measure after Gov. Tom Wolf shifted his public opinion on some components of the legislation over the summer.
Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said House Bill 1800 would bolster voting rights “through three broad concepts of increased access, increased security and modernization.”
“We know access and security are not mutually exclusive,” he said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) vetoed a bill Friday that would expand benefits for widows and children of deceased first responders because it also included legislative pay raises. According to The Dayton Daily News, Senate Bill 296 included a provision that would increase pay for lawmakers by 4 percent in…
The recently ended legislative year in Nashville was “pitiful” in terms of protecting gun rights, a state firearms advocacy group says in a report. The “Tennessee Firearms Association 2018 Legislative Report and Review” takes the Republican super-majority in the General Assembly to task on 15 new laws and/or amendments to…