Bills stuck in Ohio legislature while speaker impasse continues

OHIO (WOIO) - For the last several weeks, more than a hundred bills have sat in the Ohio House of Representatives, waiting on a vote.

There's just one problem, no votes are happening. Leaving virtually all those bills in limbo.

The backlog originates from the resignation of Cliff Rosenberger from his post as Speaker of the House, amid reports of an FBI investigation.

Since Rosenberger's departure, House members have been unable to select a formal new speaker. That leaves them largely unable to take action on bills passed out of committee, even bills that have been stated priorities for lawmakers.

House Bill 332 began as a guarantee to disabled Ohioans that they would not be excluded as recipients of organ transplants.

The Ohio Senate has since added a provision, helping to fund PEP Connections in Cleveland.

The program provides services for about 850 children who have mental health needs.

Medicaid funding for PEP was cut, leading to a major budget shortfall. The $2.5 million allotment from HB 332 would help shore up PEP's financial future. However, the House needs to vote on the newest version of the bill before it can be signed into law.

House Bill 365, also known as the Reagan Tokes Act, makes changes to the criminal justice system, particularly those convicted of violent crimes in Ohio.

Under the new law, judges could adjust sentencing for violent offenders, based on their behavior behind bars.

The bill is named for Reagan Tokes, who was just 21-years-old when she was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a convicted sexual predator, who was wearing an ankle monitor.

The original version of the bill called for changes to GPS monitoring, but has gone through changes since its passage in the Senate. The House has not voted to approve the latest version of HB 365.

Senate Bill 4 would expunge criminal records of victims of human trafficking. The bill would apply to accusations and convictions for victims, for crimes that allegedly happened while they were being trafficked. The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate, but still needs to pass the full House before it can become law.

Other hot-button bills include regulations on payday lending, reductions in the legal age for marriage in Ohio, and funding for new voting machines which will be used in the 2020 elections.

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