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DeWine Signs Ohio's New Two-Year Budget With 14 Vetoes

Gov. Mike DeWine signs an executive order.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine signs an executive order.

Nearly two hours past the midnight deadline, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine put out a statement saying he signed the two-year, $75 billion state budget – while striking out 14 items. Most of the vetoes were technical and specific, but others were more notable.

DeWine struck the provision vacating the COVID-19 violations of bars and refunding them their fines paid, he said “Ohio law should not reward businesses and individuals that violated orders and rules adopted to protect Ohioans from the spread of COVID-19 by excusing their actions.”

DeWine also struck the proposal to allow the House Speaker and Senate President to hire private attorneys in lawsuits over new Congressional and Statehouse district maps. He said lawmakers intervening in lawsuits is virtually unheard of, and that the governor and the attorney general have that duty.

Perhaps the veto with the widest-ranging impact would be on the re-do of the procurement process for Medicaid managed care organizations, which advocates said would have caused big delays, and could have put kids in the new OhioRISE program for children with complex and costly behavioral and mental health issues in danger. DeWine agreed, writing that it “puts at risk the overhaul carefully designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable Ohioans.”

But most vetoes were highly specific, such as one on putting certain Medicaid rates in statute and creating a second venue in court of claims to hear violations of open meetings laws.

The main elements of the budget, a 3% income tax cut and a new school funding plan, stayed in place.

Non-monetary provisions Democrats and other advocates had asked him to veto, such as a medical "conscience clause", limits on hospitals where certain abortion providers can work and a ban on public-private partnerships on voter registration and education will also stand.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman tweeted out that they had met in their joint hometown of Lima to sign the budget together.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.