135th Ohio General Assembly Brings New Leadership and Republican Dominance

As the calendar turns to January bringing in 2023, it also signals the start of the 135th General Assembly. Like previous beginnings Ohio’s legislature holds firmly in Republican control. This past November both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate increased their majorities continuing a decades long trend of the state’s swing towards conservative candidates.

Each beginning of a new General Assembly requires the election of leadership in each chamber. In the Ohio Senate, Senate President Matt Huffman will remain the upper chamber leader for the next two years. In the Ohio House, former Speaker Bob Cupp’s departure due to term-limits brings new leadership. The majority caucus selected State Representative Derek Merrin to serve as the lower chamber’s leader for the next two years, before he too will leave the Ohio House due to term-limits.

As with every start of a new General Assembly the focus for the first half of the year will be the new state operating budget. Every two-years the Ohio legislature passes a budget appropriating expected resources to state agencies, counties, townships, and municipalities, along with several other programs supporting non-profits, healthcare, public safety to just name a few. In addition to the appropriations the biennial state operating budget serves as a legislative vehicle for major policy efforts proposed by the administration of Governor DeWine and members of the legislature.

The 135th General Assembly also will likely serve as the backdrop for legislative initiatives not making it over the line during the end of the year lame-duck session. Several controversial legislative proposals primarily dealing with social issues failed to garner enough support to pass both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Reform of the way Ohio makes education policy is another proposal not making it through to the Governor’s desk and is likely to be a focus as the new General Assembly kicks-off.

Although it is not clear yet what the primary focus for the upcoming two-year budget will be, it is safe to say as in past years each chamber’s focus will center around state taxing policy, education funding, and healthcare spending and policies. The new Speaker has focused in the past on being a leader in the areas of taxation, having served as the House Ways & Means Chairman. The Ohio Senate under President Huffman’s leadership has led on important educational choice policy changes, access to childcare, funding for mental health and addiction, while containing state spending and reducing the citizen’s of Ohio tax burden.

Governor DeWine will be starting his second four-year term and has indicated he will continue to propose policies which investment in the areas of mental health and addiction, funding for initiatives impacting children and families, public safety, economic competitiveness, water quality, and education. Governor DeWine began his tenure as the state’s leader emphasizing programs and policies with long-term impacts to the state, which may not have short-term results, but impact Ohio positively in the long-term.

The beginning of a new General Assembly and the introduction of the next state operating budget bring opportunities to impact policy and funding for the state. The Montrose Group brings experience and results to help organizations, businesses, and individuals achieve their objectives. Please contact Dave Robinson at drobinson@montrosegroupllc.com if you have any questions regarding seeking federal budget earmarks.