In a departure from prior years, lawmakers are planning not one but two capital appropriations bills, according to the Senate’s leader.
Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said lawmakers are on track to introduce House and Senate bills early next week.
In prior cycles, it was the Senate that has taken the lead in authoring a single two-year spending bill. But the thought is that by introducing twin bills, lawmakers can begin hearings in both chambers simultaneously, expediting the legislative process.
“I think we’ve worked very well together with the administration and with the House and it’ll be a pretty smooth process,” Sen. Obhof said in an interview.
It’s the House version, Sen. Obhof said, that he believes will ultimately be passed. Brad Miller, a spokesman for House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) confirmed the House measure is on track to be unveiled early next week.
Sen. Obhof has previously predicted this cycle’s capital budget will be “a little bit tighter” than 2016’s $2.6 billion spending bill.
Lawmakers in both chambers have spent recent weeks meeting among themselves and with interested parties to hammer out the finer points of the proposal in advance of its introduction. The goal, as in past years, is to have the legislation as close to a final product as possible before the formal hearings begin.
Gov. John Kasich, meanwhile, is expected to push for the inclusion of $20 million in bond-backed funds to be set aside for funding community service organizations. That’s on top of about $130 million being targeted for other “community projects.”
The 2019-2020 funding bill is also expected to include reappropriations for ongoing projects, a topic tackled in years past through separate legislation.
If it pans out like recent capital bills, the measure that’s enacted will clear both chambers with few if any changes, having been worked out behind the scenes beforehand.