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Ohio Lawmakers Prepare For More Than 100 Bill Hearings This Week

New Ohio House Speaker Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) speaks during an announcement of a proposed overhaul school funding for schools in Ohio at the Statehouse in Columbus, March 25, 2019.
John Minchillo
Ohio House Speaker Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) speaks during an announcement of a proposed overhaul school funding for schools in Ohio at the Statehouse in Columbus.

The Ohio House and Ohio Senate will be busy with more than 20 different committee meetings for more than 100 bill hearings as the legislature nears the end of lame-duck session.

Among the bills receiving a hearing is SB3, a criminal justice reform bill that changes drug sentencing laws to favor treatment over prison time will get another hearing in the House. The bill is set to get revised language in the form of a substitute bill in a House committee. This is among the Senate's top agenda itemsfor the 133rd General Assembly.

HB460, which allows party designation to appear on ballots for the election of judges, could make it to the House floor this week. Currently, judge candidates run in partisan primaries but appear without a party indication in the general election.

SB374, which rejects Gov. Mike DeWine's 10 p.m. alcohol curfew at bars and restaurants, could be seen on the Senate floor. That curfew is set to expire this Thursday, but DeWine said he plans to extend itas Ohio's coronavirus cases and deaths remain high.

A bill that freezes new charges on electric bills to subsidize power plants, HB798, will receive several hearings. This is the latest proposal after a federal racketeering investigation sparked calls to repeal HB6, a controversial nuclear bailout passed last year.

The energy law from HB6 creates new charges on monthly electric bills of up to $2.35 to subsidize nuclear, coal, and solar plants. Those charges are set to begin January 2021 unless lawmakers halt them. There are also several lawsuits underway that aim to prevent those subsidies from being collected.

And the legislature will also hear bills that adopt health educations standards (SB121), provide reciprocity for occupational licensures from other states (SB246), and allow allows essential caregivers such as family members to go into long-term care facilities (HB770).

Several Republican lawmakers have recently tested positive for COVID-19, prompting calls from Democratic leaders to cancel this week's sessions. However, House Speaker Bob Cupp says no schedule changes are planned.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.