COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio Statehouse is back in session after summer break and lawmakers have a list of things they want to get done.
Last week, NBC4 talked to senate leadership on both sides of the aisle, and on Tuesday, House leadership talked about their goals for the fall.
Speaker of the House Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) and minority House Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said redistricting is top of mind.
“I think we’ll get a good map for Ohio,” Stephens said. “And I would like to see us get a good map for eight years, so we don’t have to talk about redistricting for a while. So, we can focus on policy and all that stuff. So, we’ll see what comes about.”
The first meeting of the redistricting commission is Sept. 13, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio) said the State Senate and House maps should be drawn by Sept. 22.
“I think that we should be looking certainly towards mid-October and not going past that. But this new renewed sense of urgency to me is almost laughable given that we are at well over a year that nothing has been happening,” Russo said.
Stephens said there are also several bills to look at. He said that includes passing House Bill 7; a bi-partisan effort to further support women both during pregnancy and after birth.
“A lot of different provisions when it comes to early childhood and dealing with issues such as that,” Stephens said. “That, I think, will be an important priority for us this fall and looking forward to that coming out of the Finance Committee and, you know, having a good debate on that this fall.”
He said some bills that passed in the Senate — like the Higher Education Enhancement Act — are going to take “a lot of work” before it is ready to pass the House.
Russo said her caucus will also focus on continuing to push the issue of well-funded childcare and looking at the issue of freezing property taxes for some senior citizens.
“We are also still pushing and would like to see the spousal exemption for rape eliminated here in the state of Ohio,” Russo said. “We’re one of the last states to have that on the books.”
Despite House Republicans still being divided, Stephens said he is confident they can still get a good number of bills passed.
“We’ll be able to work together, and again, it takes a lot of work,” Stephens said. “As we get into this fall, we’re going to have much more deeper issues other than financial issues. I mean, they are financial, but, you know, they’re going to be a little more technical and a little harder to just, you know, do it quickly.”
Representative Bob Young (R-Green) did resign after two arrests. Stephens says they will be appointing his replacement in “due time.”