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With New Speaker, Ohio House Takes Another Break

Rep. Smith speaks during Ohio House session on April 11, 2018.
Ohio House

When newly-elected Speaker Ryan Smith talked to reporters after the House’s voting session on June 8, he was all smiles.

“It’s good to be back to work,” Smith said.

After seven weeks of not voting, the Ohio House passed 28 bills on Friday - 17 bills of their own and 11 from the Senate. This session was the first since former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger stepped down in mid-April amid an FBI investigation.

But the burst of productivity was short-lived, as the Ohio House won’t be holding voting sessions this week.

“I think we are just trying to take a deep breath and get some inventory on where we are at,” Smith said. "Give us a little bit of runway from here to the end of the month so we can get some things done that are in the hopper.”

In its first day back, lawmakers passed a bill that was expected to be contentious: HB 123, the payday lending crackdown. Despite some opposition, the bill was approved overwhelmingly and sent off to the Senate.

Among the other bills approved: SB 135, which provides $114.5 million to update Ohio’s voting machines; HB 456, which bans hospitals from forcing nurses to work overtime; and HB 535, which mandates further overdose data collection by the Ohio Department of Health.

However, there are still over 100 more bills waiting for a vote. Smith says he wants lawmakers to focus on the legislation to figure out which bills should move forward.