Legislative Watch – March 17, 2023

Draconian Higher Education “Catch-All” Bill Introduced in Ohio Senate

On Tuesday, March 14, Senate Bill 83 was introduced by Senator Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland).  OEA is opposed to the legislation that proposes to make sweeping changes to a wide variety of issues regarding higher education.  Senator Cirino indicated that SB 83 is the result of conversations with higher education experts, students, and trustees. The bill is scheduled for sponsor testimony before the Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee, pending committee referral, on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 11:00 AM. Among other provisions the bill contains the following:

  • Prohibits employees of any state institutions of higher education from striking.
  • Requires faculty to have annual performance evaluations, including student evaluations that will account for at least 50% of the teaching evaluation component.
  • Requires a post-tenure review if the tenured faculty member does not meet performance expectations.
  • Requires institutions of higher education to incorporate the following concepts into their mission statement:
    • It will educate students by means of free, open, and rigorous intellectual inquiry.
    • Its duty is to equip students with the intellectual skills they need to reach their own, informed conclusions on matters of social and political importance.
    • Its duty is to ensure that no aspect of life, outside or within the classroom, requires, favors, disfavors, or prohibits speech or action to support any political, social, or religious belief.
  • Prohibits requiring diversity, equity, or inclusion (DEI) courses or training for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Requires universities to guarantee free speech protection and intellectual diversity.
  • Requires a syllabus to include the instructor’s name and biographical information, description of course requirements and major assignments/exams, reading list, and description of each lecture or discussion.
  • Requires a three-credit course in American Government or History course with enumerated required readings.

You may view a summary of all the provisions of Senate Bill 83 here.

House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1 to Receive Sponsor Testimony Next Week

House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1, formerly HJR 6 in the last General Assembly, will receive its first sponsor testimony on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at 8:30 AM, at the Ohio Statehouse in hearing Room 17. If you can attend, please show up. We plan to pack the hearing room in coordination with our partners at We Are Ohio. HJR 1 undermines the principle of one person, one vote and removes our right to make needed changes to the Ohio Constitution by a majority vote. This initiative is undemocratic, unfair, unpopular, and unnecessary.

OEA is partnering with We Are Ohio to promote our efforts to pack the committee room and show HJR 1’s sponsors that Ohioans will show up to protect our freedoms and rights. Please click here to download the WAO flyer that contains information on the hearing date, time, and location.