Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Looks like our House Bill 315 will have to wait once again, doesn't it?

From John Curry, May 27, 2008
Subject: Looks like our House Bill 315 will have to wait once again, doesn't it?

Soon, your friendly local legislator will be doing the rubber-chicken circuit for his/her summer recess. Lots of baby kissing and county fair visiting with a healthy dose of "just look at how much I have done for you!" Will your rep also tell you just how much he/she didn't do for you? I doubt it!
It looks like HB 315 (increased contributions to the STRS HC fund) will sit idle on a shelf in an Ohio House committee for the duration of this season......are you surprised?
If, per chance, you happen to bump into one of your favorite House members at a summer function you might remind him/her of how the Ohio House this year did manage to pass a bill relating to the classification of Llamas but just somehow couldn't quite come up with the effort to ensure the stability of your retirement system's healthcare plan....I'm sure he/she would not like to know that! Maybe, come election time, you might just be able to place your representative "below" the black line! Paul Kostyu's article below will explain a little more about that black line.
P.S. I know that my House Rep, Cliff Hite (also a retired public school educator), will be at my county fair...I saw him there last year wearing a cowboy hat. He also happens to be on the F.I.R.E.S. committee...the very same committee in which HB 315 still is resting and collecting dust. Cowboy hats aren't hard to find in a crowd, are they?

Can Legislature act quickly? Just watch
Canton Repository, 5/27/08

COLUMBUS Can he do it?

Last week, House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, announced, though not entirely seriously, that he wanted to pass 50 pieces of legislation in 10 days, and some major ones at that, including an economic stimulus package and capital budget.

To put that into perspective, as of May 16, the Legislature had passed and the governor had signed 67 bills into law in the past 17 months.

To help him achieve his goal, Husted told House members to prepare to meet in an unusual Friday session at 9 a.m. if it's needed. State Rep. Larry L. Flowers, R-Canal Winchester and majority floor leader, said late last week he thought it would be.

The Legislature is scheduled to go on its extended election-year summer recess this week. Lawmakers will barely make an appearance in Columbus before the November election unless it's for a fundraiser.

A week ago, the House passed six measures, all by overwhelming majorities, dealing with a constitutional amendment, adoptions, veterans boards, divorces, cigarettes and management of institutional funds. The latter was sponsored by state Rep. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton.

On Wednesday, another seven bills were added to the list, again all by overwhelming majorities, including four unanimously. Notable among them were House Bill 554, the governor's and Legislature's economic stimulus plan, and Senate Bill 289, which creates a Department of Veterans Affairs. Gov. Ted Strickland signed it into law Friday. Other bills dealt with liquor permits, pawnbrokers, voyeurism, child neglect and school employee misconduct.

On Thursday, in the closest vote of the week, 54-42, the House passed House Bill 477, which requires all public meetings, their related records and correspondence to be in English. Not the same as declaring English as Ohio's official language but pretty close. Strickland has promised a veto if it reaches his desk.

The House also passed the two-year capital budget and five other bills, dealing with watercraft laws, initiating a referendum, marriage and family- therapy practices, handgun purchases by military personnel and subdivision levies.

The budget passed late Thursday evening. Strickland said he would veto parts of the budget if the Senate doesn't make changes first.

That's 20 bills (one of which was introduced in February 2007) in three days.

A freshman lawmaker asked state Rep. Allan R. Sayre, D-Dover, what he had to do to get legislation "above the black line."

That line on a chamber's agenda separates legislation from action and inaction. Above the black line means a bill will get a chamber floor vote on a particular day.

Over the years, legislation below the black line has died for want of interest by a House speaker or Senate president or their caucuses. At the end of the legislature's two-year term, which comes in December, anything left below the line dies.

Sayre's answer to his colleague: "Luck."

With Husted's ambitious goal, some lawmakers and their legislation may be more lucky than good.

Reach Repository Columbus Bureau Chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail:


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