Ohio Statehouse Update: House-Senate Conference Committee Working to Finalize Biennial Budget Bill This Week

Attorneys & Professionals

As the deadline for passage of Ohio’s budget bill looms, members of a House-Senate Conference Committee worked over the weekend and are expected to reconvene on Wednesday to report a compromise version of House Bill 64, the state’s two-year main operating budget bill.  The H.B. 64 Conference Committee is comprised of three members from each chamber charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate-passed versions of the budget and hammering out a final version of the bill to send to the governor.

The House-appointed conferees are Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), and Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati).  Senators Scott Oelslager (R-N. Canton), Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.), and Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) are the appointed conferees on behalf of the Senate.

Going into the Conference Committee, significant policy impacts of the $71.3 Billion FY 2016-2017 spending measure, as passed by the Senate on Thursday evening by a 23-10 vote after a lengthy floor session, include the following:

The H.B. 64 Conference Committee held its first meeting on Friday morning to hear revised revenue projections from Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen and Legislative Service Commission Director Mark Flanders.  Due to improved revenue and spending projections since the beginning of the budget process in February, Director Keen estimated that the legislature has an additional $116 Million spending cushion available at this time.

After the Conference Committee concludes its work, H.B. 64 must go back before the full Senate and House, likely on Thursday and Friday, for final votes of agreement by each chamber to send the legislation to Governor Kasich.  The Governor must sign the bill by June 30th for the appropriation measures to take effect in time for the beginning of the new state fiscal year on July 1, 2015.

Click on the links below to review a full copy of H.B. 64, as passed by the Senate (4,372 pages!), and copies of the Legislative Service Commission’s H.B. 64 comparison documents.

Full copy of H.B. 64, as passed by the Senate

H.B. 64 Comparison Document – All Provisions

H.B. 64 Comparison Document – Executive-House-Senate Differences Only