By Wayne Allen
The Ohio Senate is anticipated to vote Wedensday on a $71.5 billion two-year budget, which includes an amendment allowing for the Scioto County Water Splash Park.
Scioto County was allotted $250,000 in the state capital improvement budget. The county had planned to build a campground, but instead has moved forward with plans for a water splash park at River Side Park in West Portsmouth.
In order to change the scope of the project, the county had to lobby state representatives. State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson introduced an amendment to the budget to change the scope of the project and the House of Representative approved a budget with the amendment attached.
State Senator Joe Uecker said he had to explain the budget amendment to a caucus.
“As we we’re going through and slashing a lot of the earmarks, this one had already been approved with a slight change in scope, I’m hopeful we’re able to get that taken care of without any problem,” Uecker said.
Uecker said there were a lot of negotiations over the weekend and what not certain what made the cut as of Monday morning.
The two-year spending plan would redirect some local government funding to cover training for officers. Some of the amendments added by the senate include language to block journalists from viewing concealed firearm licensing records, including documents outlining the issuance, renewal, suspension or revocation of such licenses. Under current practice, journalists can view the documents but without recording devices or any means of copying the contents.
The Senate version of the budget shifts $15 million over two fiscal years in local government funds for use by those governments to train officers.
The amendment also specifies continuing education requirements for law enforcement over the next two fiscal years and outlines reimbursements that would be provided for related costs.
A provision would eliminate the requirement that consumers complete purchaser forms when buying fireworks. Existing prohibitions against using fireworks remain in state law, but buyers would no longer have to disclose their address and other personal details or acknowledge their legal obligations with such purchases.
The Senate reinserted a provision providing pay raises to Ohio Supreme Court justices and judges, increasing salaries by 5 percent per calendar year through 2019. The Senate budget also would increase pay rates for sheriffs and prosecutors by comparable amounts.
The Senate version of the budget would block state universities from requiring students to live on campus if they already live within 40 miles of campus.
Once the bill is passed by the Senate a Conference Committee will be established to reconcile differences in the House and Senate version of the bill. Once the two bills have been reconciled one bill will be sent to the governor’s office where it would be signed into law. Once in the governor’s hands he has the right to exercise line-item veto or veto the entire bill.
Once signed into law the budget would be effective July 1.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT. The Associated Press contributed to this report.