DeWine Signs Ohio's New 2-Year Budget, With 14 Line-Item Vetoes

[Dan Konik / Statehouse NewsBureau]
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Nearly two hours past the midnight deadline, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement saying he signed the two-year, $75 billion state budget – while striking out 14 items.

Most of the line-item vetoes were technical and specific, but others were more notable.

Perhaps the veto with the widest-ranging impact was removing the reorganization of the procurement process for Medicaid managed care organizations, which advocates said would have caused big delays and could have endangered kids in the new OhioRISE program for children with complex and costly behavioral and mental health issues. DeWine agreed with those concerns, writing that it “puts at risk the overhaul carefully designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable Ohioans.”

DeWine struck a provision vacating the COVID-19 violations of bars and refunding them their fines paid, saying, “Ohio law should not reward businesses and individuals that violated orders and rules adopted to protect Ohioans from the spread of COVID-19 by excusing their actions.”

DeWine also removed the proposal to allow the House Speaker and Senate President to hire private attorneys in lawsuits over new congressional and state district maps, saying lawmakers intervening in lawsuits is virtually unheard of and that duty lies with the governor and state attorney general.

But most vetoes were highly specific, such as one on putting certain Medicaid rates in statute and creating a second venue in court of claims to hear violations of open meetings laws.

The main elements of the budget – a 3 percent income tax cut and a new school funding plan – stay.

And non-monetary provisions Democrats and other advocates had asked him to veto, such as a medical “conscience clause,” limits on hospitals where  certain abortion providers can work and a ban on public-private partnerships on voter registration and education – will stand as well.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman tweeted that they met in their joint hometown of Lima to sign the budget together.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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