Lima — Two Limanians in positions of power. His two-year debate on pandemic authority, abortion, education reform, and the legislative map.
Let’s take a look back at key moments from the 134th General Assembly, led by Speaker of the House of Representatives Bob Kapp of Lima and Speaker of the Senate Matt Huffman.
Pandemic force triggers war against DeWine
The session began with a power struggle between the Republican-dominated Congress and Republican Governor Mike DeWine. Voted to restrict permissions.
“If you have one person who can declare an emergency, have emergency powers, and decide when the emergency is over, that’s not a very good recipe for democracy,” Huffman said.
Decisions were made quickly. The House and Senate have been debating whether and how the governor’s emergency powers should be limited since the pandemic began, but Huffman will be 3 years old when he takes over as Senate Speaker in 2021. Within a month it adopted Senate Bill 22.
Huffman received enough votes to override DeWine’s veto. In June, all pandemic-related health orders were rescinded.
“We both looked at the governor and said, ‘If you deny this, we will void your refusal,'” Huffman said. “The governor doesn’t like it, especially from your own party. And I think that was a monumental thing to accomplish.”
fair school funding
Perhaps the most monumental achievement of the 134th General Assembly was the adoption of the Just Schools Funding Plan, known as the Kapp-Patterson Plan, for inclusion in the Summer 2021 State Budget.
The phased-in formula was the first to rule that the state’s previous school funding formula was unconstitutional when the Ohio Supreme Court first ruled that the state’s senator and the It was an important legislative priority for Kapp, who spent years devising a new methodology for
“I returned to Congress only to work on public policy,” Kapp told Lima News last month. “One of my main goals her was to create a better school funding system.”
A year after he became Speaker of the House, he was finally able to enact the plan.
Lima School Joins Voucher Lawsuit
The new formula increased state funding for school vouchers, or scholarships for underperforming school students to attend private schools.
“I think that was pretty groundbreaking,” Huffman said, pointing to new programs for homeschooling families and increased funding for EdChoice and autism scholarships.
A few months later, the Lima school joined a lawsuit claiming the voucher program was unconstitutional, claiming that the vouchers encouraged racism and siphoned money from public schools.
“What we’ve seen over the years is that parents really had no choice,” superintendent Jill Ackerman told Lima News before the lawsuit was filed. Private schools can screen applicants based on discipline or academic performance, she said.
A Franklin County judge ruled in December that the case can proceed. But to Huffman, the lawsuit looks like nothing more than a scare tactic to deter lawmakers from expanding the vouchers, he said.
“When those people try to come to the congressman’s office, they say, ‘Well, this lawsuit might wipe everything out. We might not want to expand too much,'” Huffman said. rice field.
He added: It’s really just a legislative negotiation tactic that makes no sense to me. ”
New abortion ban sparks controversy
After the 2019 law banning abortion if a fetal heart is detected, Ohio sparked a debate about how far access to surgery should be restricted. effect.
The law being contested in court quickly gained national attention when a 10-year-old rape victim traveled to Indiana for an abortion.
Huffman has promised to review the law amidst the uproar to clarify what the exception to the law for mothers’ lives means. No agreement was reached during the session.
“There was no consensus on how to go about it all,” says Huffman.
Instead, Congress set aside funds for critical pregnancy centers and created a new grant program for adoptive families. Huffman eliminated tax credits he said were unavailable to most families until now.
“What we are trying to eliminate as much as possible are people who are having abortions because of the economic costs,” he said.
Reorganization battle draws outrage from court
Two men from Lima drew the ire of the Ohio Supreme Court last year for serving on Ohio’s Redistricting Commission. Its legislative map has been repeatedly rejected by courts because it reportedly violates the state’s new anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment. .
A highly publicized battle dragged on for months, resulting in a second primary and a federal court order requiring states to use the commission’s original maps in the 2022 election. it was done.
“The constitutional amendment was good in theory,” Kapp said. “In practice, as with many things, it didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would.”
At issue was whether the amendment called for a proportional representation system that would divide districts between Republicans and Democrats based on the share of the vote each party won in the previous election. It was about the division of the vs. 46 and how it applies to the Tossup constituency. And one that slightly favored one political party.
Huffman, who helped push for constitutional reform, said such things as the division of political subdivisions “do not have to follow some degree of proportionality because it will not take effect unless it violates other rules.” was dismissed, “it became clear that the Supreme Court was making the map,” he said.
The committee will convene again this year to chart the map for the 2024 election, this time with some new members of the Ohio Supreme Court.