GREATER TOLEDO RIGHT TO LIFE & RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO "Friday Five" Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
Welcome to the inaugural edition of RTLACO’s weekly series for the 2019-2020 legislative session to keep member organizations informed on policies, personalities and events happening in and around the state capitol.
NEWS AND VIEWS 1. The 133rd Session of the Ohio General Assembly finds the House of Representatives being led by newly-elected Speaker Larry Householder of Glenford (R-Perry County). Other majority leadership positions are yet to be elected by the chamber, but will likely happen by the end of the month. The Republicans will have a caucus retreat on January 23-25 to determine committees, committee chairs, and assignments.
2. Senator Larry Obhof of Medina will continue as President of the Senate in the 133rd. The Senate majority leadership will undergo a change with the announcement by Governor-elect Mike DeWine of the choosing of Senate Majority Leader Randy Gardner of Bowling Green to become the Chancellor for Higher Education in his administration. This will see the Senate Republicans determining which member will be elevated to the vacant leadership position, along with picking a new chairman of the powerful Finance Committee and making chair and committee assignments as well. These are likely to be finalized when the Senate has a session scheduled for January 30th.
3. Treasurer-elect Robert Sprague was formally sworn-in to take that post. It is highly unlikely that Treasurer Sprague will be following the advice of a large number of pro-life leaders in the state and rescinding the job offer extended to former Senator Bill Beagle (Director of Policy and Programs), whose vote against the override of John Kasich’s veto of the Heartbeat Bill killed the measure at the last possible minute.
4. The regular activity of actual committee hearings and floor sessions does not look like it will be starting earlier than the first half of February. This is not unexpected with the amount of transition that has taken place. Bills are being drafted and filed with the office of the Clerk for both chambers, and formal bill introductions will likely begin rolling out in late January. The Heartbeat Bill will be filed with the Clerk of the House, but will likely not receive a number (formal introduction) until late in the month.
5. The first year of the two-year session is a budget-writing year. The legislature will be awaiting Governor Mike DeWine’s inaugural executive budget recommendations (called the Blue Book) and then the House will take the first attempt at crafting a spending plan for the upcoming biennium. Look to see the House attempt to complete their work on this and pass it along to the Senate around mid-April, right before the scheduled two-week spring recess. The Senate will then consider changes until mid-June, at which time the chambers will vote and likely not agree, creating a Committee of Conference on the budget bill. A balanced budget has to be in place for state government operations by no later than July 1st.
PROFILES Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key policymakers. One statewide or agency director, one Senator and three House members will be profiled each time.
Governor-Elect Mike DeWine—Long time pro-life stalwart Republican Mike DeWine is Ohio’s 70th Governor. DeWine, a former prosecutor, legislator at both state and federal levels, and most recently Ohio’s Attorney General, brings a lifetime of pro-life work to the office of Governor. He has already publicly pledged to sign Ohio’s Heartbeat abortion ban bill. DeWine was endorsed by RTLACO’s screening committee in 2018.
Senate President Larry Obhof—Attorney and second-term Republican state Senator Larry Obhof hails from Medina. A consensus builder, Obhof has led the Senate for the past two years, and is poised to lead a somewhat more conservative chamber during this session. Obhof has been a solid pro-life vote during his tenure, first in the Ohio House and then in the Senate. The 133rd session will hopefully see more pro-life initiatives move in the Ohio Senate under his leadership.
House Speaker Larry Householder—Holding the gavel for the second time (first from 2001-2004), Republican Representative Larry Householder understands how to lead. This will be handy, as he is currently leading a divided caucus, and counts equal number of Democrats as Republicans who supported his bid to ascend to the dias this session. Holding very traditional Ohio values, Speaker Householder has been a consistent vote on matters of life and family. He gained the endorsement of RTLACO in 2018.
Representative Niraj Antani—A young, up-and-coming pro-life leader, Republican Representative Niraj Antani calls Dayton his home. He has already shown consistent leadership during his first four years in the Assembly, having cosponsored and supported key life bills such as Heartbeat, Life at Conception, and is the sponsor of the “Fetal Development Education” bill. RTLACO enjoys working with Rep. Antani on strategic pro-life efforts, and has received their endorsement in his elections.
Representative Steven Arndt—This third-term member from the 89th House District hails from Port Clinton, Ohio. A former Ottawa County commissioner, Arndt has shown that he is not aligned with the pro-life agenda, having voted against the Heartbeat bill on multiple occasions, as well as voting against the Down’s Syndrome Abortion ban.
Greater Toledo Right to Life 5726 Southwyck Blvd., Ste. 120 Toledo, Ohio 43614 phone: (419)535-5800