Legislative Watch – May 5, 2023

Constitutional Amendment Proposal Coming Down to Final Days

Earlier this week, the House Constitutional Resolutions Committee again passed a resolution that would weaken the voice of Ohio voters by requiring a vote of over 60% to pass future constitutional amendments. The Committee passed Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR 2) after having passed a similar resolution the previous week. Neither has yet been brought up in the full House for a vote. Legislation that would call for a special August election to rush the proposal to the ballot, Senate Bill 92, was scheduled for a committee vote on Wednesday but the meeting was cancelled.

All of this means that it is coming down to the final week. The resolution and legislation enabling an August special election would need to be passed by the Ohio House on or before May 10th, 90 days before the proposed August 8, 2023, special election. Opposition to the unpopular and undemocratic proposal continues to grow. OEA members joined hundreds of others for a day of action at the Statehouse on Wednesday. This week five former Ohio Attorneys General from both parties came out in opposition—joining four former Ohio Governors from last week.

We need to keep the pressure up to defeat this! Click here to write to your Representative urging them to vote no on HJR 1/SJR 2 and to oppose an August 8, 2023, special election. You can also call your legislator by dialing 1-800-282-0253 and ask to be connected to your state representative. Urge them to oppose an August 8, 2023, special election and to vote no on HJR 1/ SJR 2.

House-Passed School Funding District Simulations Released

The Ohio House recently released school district funding simulations reflecting the changes in the House passed version of Substitute House Bill 33, the budget bill for FY 2024 and 2025. The simulations reflect the continued implementation of the Fair School Funding Plan (years 3 and 4) with updated base cost inputs from Fiscal Year 2022. Please note that the spreadsheets for JVSDs have not been released. Click here for the simulations. The budget bill is currently pending in the Ohio Senate.

OEA Testifies in Support of HB 117

OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified in favor of House Bill 117, sponsored by Representative Phil Robinson (D-Solon) and Representative Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. The bill would repeal mandatory student retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Additionally, the bill would reduce some state-mandated testing by eliminating the fall administration of the third grade ELA test. OEA strongly supports HB 117. The language was also included in the budget bill (HB 33) as passed by the Ohio House.

You can view OEA’s testimony by clicking here. Additionally, five OEA members provided testimony as proponents of HB 117. Melinda Lindauer (retired), Faith Elleman (Lebanon), Heidi Beradinis (Wayne Local), and Jennifer Bindus (Aurora) testified in person and Melissa Kmetz (Lakeview Local) provided written testimony. You can download all provided testimony on HB 117 by clicking here.

Social Studies Standards Bill Gets First Hearing

House Bill 103, sponsored by Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Representative Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), received a first hearing in the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Committee on May 2, 2023. The bill would create a nine-member Ohio Social Studies Task Force which must develop statewide academic standards in social studies for grades K-12 based on “American Birthright: The Civics Alliance’s Model K-12 Social Studies Standards.” The task force would be required to report the proposed standards to the Ohio General Assembly for further consideration. OEA opposes the HB 103 proposal to bypass the State Board of Education process for developing and adopting Ohio’s subject-based learning standards. Further, the Ohio Council for the Social Studies opposes use of “American Birthright” documents as a basis for making changes to Ohio’s Learning Standards for Social Studies.

For an archive of past Legislative Watch releases, visit the Legislative Watch archive.