COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) are kicking off February with a list of priorities at the Ohio Statehouse.
“It’s important to me what the positions of members of my party are in, whether they be in the Senate, the House, part of the general republic,” Huffman said.
Republican-led Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 9 will have their second hearing this week. SB 1 is an education overhaul bill that failed to pass the House in the last general assembly after being amended.
“We need to be very careful about dismantling what exists right now instead of perhaps reforming it,” Antonio said.
Senate Bill 9 is a bill to revise medical marijuana laws in Ohio, expanding eligibility.
“I think the more inclusive those conditions are presented that is the more access for medical marijuana, I think the better in the long run,” Antonio said.
Antonio said top of her priority list is an effort she is leading with Senator Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) to get rid of the death penalty in Ohio.
“The providers of the medications are saying we don’t want our medications that were created to save lives to end lives, to execute someone,” Antonio said. “I do believe that this could be the time to pass this. I am encouraged by putting together a bipartisan group of legislators to look at it.”
While Gov. Mike DeWine did not give his exact position on the issue, he previously said he anticipates no executions while he is governor. Last week, DeWine introduced his budget plan during his state of the state address, which is now in the House and a priority for state lawmakers.
In addition, leadership in the House continues to be a toss-up.
“I do think we are going to be able to get a budget passed eventually,” Huffman said. “I would say that one of the possibilities here is that a lot of other legislation won’t go.”
Antonio also said a priority of her caucus will be redrawing districts, and she said she does not believe the Ohio Senate should only have seven Democratic seats.
“We have the dedication and the fortitude to do the work, but I am also hoping that in this general assembly this time around, we get more fair districts,” Antonio said.