Week in Review - 03/23/2018

Week in Review - 03/23/2018

BALLOT ISSUES

Secretary of State Jon Husted Thursday released an educational video to inform Ohioans about State Issue 1, congressional redistricting reform authorized by the General Assembly through SJR5 (Huffman-Sykes). Complete information, including the educational video, ballot language and arguments for and against Issue 1, can be accessed by visiting the secretary of state's website at www.sos.state.oh.us.

 

EDUCATION

In this time of heightened awareness of the need for improving school safety, legislation that would codify the role of school resource officers (SROs) is being expanded to include a grant program to fund one-time expenditures to improve safety in Ohio's schools -- the reason the bill has been rereferred to the House Finance Committee after clearing the House Education and Career Readiness Committee at the end of February. HB318 co-sponsors Reps. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) told the finance committee Tuesday that the proposal, which is still being worked on, would encompass a non-competitive grant process that could be used for training for school resource officers, safety devices for classroom doors, training equipment money for ALICE or similar training, safety equipment at schools such as ballistic shields, first responder bags, safes for storage and handheld magnameters, gun lockers, and all grade level educational resources.


A proposed overhaul of the state's school report card system was the first item on the agenda of a new workgroup aimed at improving the state's school accountability system Thursday. Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) presented an early draft of his bill to the State Board of Education's Accountability and Continuous Improvement committee, which over the next few months will host a stakeholder workgroup assigned the goal of providing recommendations on changing the report card to the board and legislative leaders.


Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC) Executive Director Lauren Monowar-Jones briefed legislators Thursday on her upcoming report on early learning and development by enumerating funding totals and other statistics pertaining to the state's four existing early childhood education programs while answering questions from the committee.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Senate will consider setting a reduction target for regulatory restrictions and instituting a rule to limit growth in rules, President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said Wednesday at a press conference where he shared the stage with a researcher who highlighted Ohio's relatively high number of regulatory restrictions.


Action in the Senate Wednesday included passage of SB216 (Huffman), the Public Education Deregulation Act, and HB98 (Duffey-Boggs), regarding career information for students.


Wednesday's House session included passage of HB343 (Merrin), regarding property valuation challenges.


In other legislative action, the House Education and Career Readiness Committee reported out HB477 (Koehler), to eliminate certain education programs and HB491 (Edwards), regarding substitutes.


TAXATION

The new Tax Expenditure Review Committee, created to give ongoing scrutiny to foregone state revenue in the form of exemptions, deductions, and other special exceptions in the tax code, has announced its first meeting and the first set of tax expenditures to go under the microscope. After years of discussion among legislators and advocacy from outside groups across the political spectrum about the need for such reviews, lawmakers finally created the committee at the close of the previous General Assembly in 131-HB9.