The Senate is aiming to unveil its substitute version of budget bill HB166 (Oelslager) by Monday, June 3 or Tuesday, June 4, according to Senate Republican Caucus spokesperson John Fortney. Fortney emphasized that timeframe is a "rough estimate," and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) didn't offer reporters any timeframe on the sub bill. Dolan did say the committee will hold more hearings after the sub bill is accepted and will have an omnibus amendment after that. The Senate Finance Committee already has public testimony on HB166 scheduled through Wednesday, May 29.
Witnesses turned out to testify before the full Senate Finance Committee on the provisions in the proposed FY20-21 budget, HB166 (Oelslager), dealing with higher education and taxation and general government.
Ohioans involved in the state's film industry filled a Senate hearing room Thursday during budget testimony on HB166 (Oelslager) to urge preservation and expansion of the Motion Picture Tax Credit, saying the House's plan to eliminate it will dry up an industry that's generating jobs and keeping young talent here. The Senate has already made its feelings on the topic known, with a recent unanimous vote to expand funding for the credit in SB37 (Schuring).
Ohio business leaders voiced confidence after the year's first quarter in a survey recently released by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, following expectations of growth in the previous "Prosperity Pulse" report. The previous report, on 2018's quarter four, had the chamber's "Prosperity Pulse" rating at an "above average" 103.5. That sharply rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 to 121.8, though that is still below the 2018 third quarter's record high of 139.9. The rating is based on anticipated profits, hiring, available positions, capital expenditures, and overall business outlook.
The Ohio departments of education and mental health and addiction services have issued a voluntary Request for Information (RFI) to better understand the status of kindergarten through grade12 drug prevention education across the state. According to the agencies, the findings will be used to inform future investments and opportunities aimed at helping communities build and leverage partnerships to deploy prevention education practices. Ohio schools, districts, and communities are encouraged to respond to the RFI by Wednesday, June 5. Questions and inquiries regarding the RFI are due by Wednesday, May 22. The RFI can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/y4wmycnb .
Senators and witnesses critiqued potential new graduation frameworks at a hearing Wednesday that featured repeated calls for a pullback from high-stakes testing requirements and also concerns that testing alternatives might not be consistently applied. Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), chair of the Senate Education Committee, called a hearing Wednesday to air the proposals as potential budget amendments. She said lawmakers need to resolve the graduation requirement question before the next school year starts. The State Board of Education endorsed a graduation plan in November while the Alliance for High Quality Education (AHQE), Fordham Institute, and Ohio Excels recently joined to meld their own ideas into one plan.
Ohio's unemployment rate dropped to4.3 percent in April, down from 4.4 percent in March, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Thestate added 1,400 jobs, from a revised 5,595,300 in March to 5,596,700 in April. The number of unemployed workers also fell, from March's 258,000 to 247,000 in April. The number of unemployed workers has decreased by 15,000 in the past 12 months, and the April 2018 unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.
HB12 (Manning-West) would create the Ohio Children's Behavioral Health Network, a stakeholder group that will study and help develop recommendations for a comprehensive system of programs that will support children and their families in facilitating health, social,emotional, and behavioral development. The learning network would be integrated, coordinated, and deployed across the state engaging cross-sector stakeholders with a focus on prevention.