Ohio lawmakers prepare for final vote on $62 billion budget
Gov. John Kasich has until Sunday to sign budget
4:55 AM, Jun 27, 2013
5:35 AM, Jun 27, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After months of wrangling, state lawmakers are preparing to grant final approval to the massive policy document laying out Ohio's spending priorities for the next two years.
The $62 billion state operating budget is scheduled for floor votes in both the state House and Senate on Thursday. Republican Gov. John Kasich faces a Sunday deadline to sign it.
Kasich says there are some great successes in the budget, including a $2.7 billion tax reduction over the next three years.
Those tax changes could mean that shopping online will get a little more expensive. The sales tax changes would also apply to digital products and items such as Netflix subscriptions.
The budget does not include a tax increase on oil and gas drillers or a plan to expand Medicaid.
There is one last-minute change causing controversy, and making national headlines. A change in abortion regulation was added late Tuesday.
Abortion providers in Ohio would have to inform pregnant women in writing about he presence of a fetal heartbeat before performing the procedure.
In addition to those measures, State lawmakers have approved a measure that increases penalties for human trafficking offenders and adds protections for victims. The House has unanimously endorsed the legislation.
The bill says minors or developmentally disabled people should be considered victims of human trafficking if they're recruited or held captive to engage in sexual activities.
The legislation now moves to the senate for consideration.
The Ohio Senate is also taking up a bill that would require drivers to change lanes when passing maintenance vehicles. The house has already approved the legislation.
The bill is similar to a current law for stopped emergency crews, but would apply to things like snowplows, road sweepers, and cement trucks. Under the measure, you will need to change lanes when driving passed stopped maintenance vehicles or slow down and proceed with caution.