By the time you read this on March 19, the Capital bill may already be on its way to the Governor’s desk. In a sign that it will be non-controversial, the Senate has set an expedited schedule for the capital reappropriations measure that could see the $3.2 billion bill clear both chambers the week of March 15.
The bill (HB 462) is slated for a second hearing and vote on March 15 in the House Finance & Appropriations Committee, with a full chamber vote expected Tuesday.
The Senate Finance & Financial Institutions Committee has set hearings on the measure for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning in eying a full Senate vote later that day, March 17.
The bill mostly reauthorizes spending for ongoing capital projects during fiscal; years 2011 and 2012 but also includes $525 million in new appropriations for bond-backed expenditures by the Ohio School Facilities Commission and $145 million for the Ohio Public Works Commission.
If the bill, which impacts some 1,200 projects, proceeds like the last capital appropriations measure, it will get enacted without any major changes or controversial provisions.
Indeed, Sen. John Carey (R-Wellston), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has said that was the gist of an agreement between the Senate president, House speaker and governor.
“They’ve all agreed to keep it a clean bill other than technical changes,” he said.
House Republicans questioned the state’s spending pace and debt load and raised other concerns during the first hearing on the bill this week, however Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) said he didn’t foresee any problems in processing it in short order.