The speaker also announced that House Bill 1 — a designation often given priority legislation — will be a measure pushed last session by Democrats Emilia Sykes of Akron and Christie Bryant Kuhns of Cincinnati to update Ohio’s domestic violence laws.
Ohio and Georgia are the last two states that don’t offer immediate civil protection orders to people in violent dating relationships, even if they’re not married, not living together or not parenting together. A bill to change that cleared the Ohio House last May but stalled in the Senate in the lame duck session.
The 132nd General Assembly kicked off the new two-year term with 20 new members of the 99-member House and 10 new senators in the 33-member Senate. But two dozen of the 30 “new” members already know the ropes, having previously served in the legislature.
Republican Keith Faber, R-Celina, handed off the Senate presidency to Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Medina, before dashing across the hall to be sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives and take his seat in the back row of the chamber.
Faber is among several veteran politicians switching chambers after hitting term limits. Republicans Jim Hughes of Columbus, Bill Seitz of Cincinnati and Tom Patton of Strongsville all switched from the Senate to the House. Former state representative Matt Huffman, R-Lima, takes over representing Faber’s senate district.
Just one new lawmaker from the Miami Valley joins the Ohio House: Scott Lipps of Franklin, who replaces Ron Maag of Lebanon. Lipps could be identified in the field by his tie, which was decorated with red lips.
The area will soon gain a new senator when someone is appointed to fill a vacancy created when Republican Shannon Jones decided not to seek re-election and instead won a seat on the Warren County Board of Commissioners.
The Senate GOP caucus will appoint Jones’ replacement. The following have applied: Maag, who was term-limited in the House; Lauren Clouse, a lawyer from Mason; Zac Haines, of Symmes Twp., chief executive of Distributor Partners of America; Steve Muterspaw, of Lebanon, director of the non-profit Trinity Debt Management; and Steve Wilson, of Lebanon, a retired bank executive.