The Ohio General Assembly concluded its 133rd legislative biennium (2019-2020) in November. Given the lame duck time crunch and other political factors, the House / Senate did not finalize the proposed Fair School Funding Plan—which will be on the legislature’s agenda in the first half of 2021 as the state prepares its biennial operating budget.
The House / Senate did finalize its last education-related pandemic response measure (HB 409), which, among other provisions:
- Extends temporary authority granted in the 2019-2020 school year for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to adjust deadlines for teacher evaluations, intent to reemploy notifications, school safety drills, emergency management tests, requirements to fill a vacancy on a district board of education, updating teacher evaluation policies, and gifted screening requirements.
- Extends the prohibition on the Department of Education from publishing and issuing ratings for overall grades, components, and individual measures on the state report cards and submitting preliminary data for report cards for districts and buildings for the 2020-21 year.
- Requires ODE to report any data regarding performance by Sept. 15, 2021, and extends the safe harbor from penalties and sanctions for districts and schools based on the absence of state report cards.
Also note that SB 89 was passed in late November (effective March 3, 2021), see related article here.
The 134th Ohio General Assembly (2021-2022) kicked off in early January with House and Senate members being sworn in at the Ohio statehouse. In addition, both chambers have announced their new leadership teams for the upcoming biennium:
In the Lower Chamber’s Majority Caucus, Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) will remain Speaker of the House, with Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem) serving as Speaker Pro Tempore, Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) serving as Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) serving as Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) serving as Majority Whip, and Rep. Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) serving as Assistant Majority Whip. In the House Minority Caucus, Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) will remain Minority Leader, with Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) serving as Assistant Minority Leader, Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) serving as Minority Whip and Rep. Richard Brown (R-Canal Winchester) serving as Assistant Minority Whip.
In the Upper Chamber's Majority Caucus, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) will serve as Senate President, Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) will serve as Senate President Pro Tempore, Sen. Kirk Schuring will serve as Majority Floor Leader, and Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) will serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. In the Senate Minority Caucus, Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) will serve as Minority Leader, with Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) serving as Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) serving as Minority Whip, and Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) serving as Assistant Minority Whip.
The House and Senate are discussing legislative priorities during their caucus retreats this month. Both chambers have unfinished business from last term that will likely be remain priorities this year, including issue surrounding HB 6 (2019-2020) and energy policy, school funding, pandemic-related authority and closures, and criminal justice reform. The legislature will also be developing and considering the state's ($70B+) operating budget bill, which by law must be finalized by June 30 of this year.
- by Will Vorys, Dickinson Wright, LLC, Ohio ACTE Legislative Counsel