While Ohio lawmakers cleared a host of legislation from their desks toward the end of 2021, they have several legislative tasks on deck for the start of 2022. The top of that list includes a review of criminal justice laws, debate over legalizing marijuana, and the ongoing COVID-19 response. In addition, the fate of new congressional maps lies in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court, as they have yet to determine whether the new 4-year maps pass constitutional muster.
Legislation creating broad exemptions for COVID vaccine mandates is likely the highest profile piece of unfinished business before the Ohio Senate. After two Senate hearings, the bill remains to be fiercely opposed on all sides.
Lawmakers also have $2.7 billion in federal relief dollars to spend this year. This is in addition to approximately $600 million in discretionary funding from 2021 that have not yet been dedicated.
Beyond policymaking, with a term-limited House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), the race to succeed him is heating up. Rep. Phil Plummer announced his intentions to run for speaker in July 2021, and several other Republicans also have their sights set on the job. On the Democratic side of the aisle, the caucus will be selecting a new House minority leader who will take office this month.
Debate over firearm laws will continue in the Senate, including lowering training requirements for armed teachers and eliminating the need for a concealed handgun license.