Ohio General Assembly
|Ohio General Assembly|
|Term limits:||2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 4 terms (8 years) in House|
|2015 session start:||January 7, 2013|
|Website:||Official Legislature Page|
|Senate President:||Keith Faber (R)|
|House Speaker:||William Batchelder (R)|
|Majority Leader:|| Tom Patton (R) (Senate),|
Barbara Sears (R) (House)
|Minority leader:|| Eric Kearney (D) (Senate),|
Armond Budish (D) (House)
|Members:||33 (Senate), 99 (House)|
|Length of term:||4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)|
|Authority:||Art II, Ohio Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 |
16 seats (Senate)
99 seats (House)
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Redistricting:||Ohio Redistricting Commission has control|
- 1 History
- 2 History
- 3 Sessions
- 4 Ethics and transparency
- 5 Redistricting
- 6 Term limits
- 7 Chambers
- 8 Legislators
- 9 Joint legislative committees
- 10 External links
- 11 References
As of January 2015, Ohio is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
The second Ohio Constitution, effective in 1851, took away the power of the General Assembly to choose the state's executive's officers, granting that right to the voters. A complicated formula apportioned legislators to Ohio counties and the number of seats in the legislative houses varied from year-to-year.
The Ohio Politics Almanac by Michael F. Curtin (Kent State University Press) described apportionment thus:
- The new  constitution ... contained a complicated formula for apportionment, the so-called "major fraction rule." Under it, the state's population was divided by 100, with the resulting quotient being the ratio of representation in the House of Representatives. Any county with a population equal to at least half the ratio was entitled to one representative; a county with a population of less than half the ratio was grouped with an adjacent county for districting; a county containing a population of at least one and three-fourths the ratio was entitled to two representatives; a county with a population equal to three times the ratio was entitled to three representatives. To determine Senate districts, a similar procedure was followed; the starting point, however was figured by dividing the state's population by 35. The ratios for the House and Senate and the resulting apportionment was determined by a board consisting of the governor, auditor, and secretary of state.
In 1903, the apportionment system was modified by the Hanna amendment, which also gave the governor veto power over the assembly's acts, which could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the assembly's houses. The last state constitutional convention, held in 1912, gave the governor a line-item veto, but reduced the supermajority required for overriding the veto to three-fifths. In 1956, a referendum increased the terms of state senators from two to four years.
The Hanna amendment (which guaranteed each county at least one representative and all members elected at large) guaranteed that rural areas of Ohio would dominate the legislature by giving them disproportionate representation. Several decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1960s, however, mandated apportionment proportional to population. Reapportionment was ordered in 1964. Starting with the 1966 election, the number of seats in the two chambers were fixed at their present numbers of 33 and 99.
Partisan balance 1992-2013
Ohio State Senate: During every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Ohio State Senate. The Ohio State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Ohio was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study period.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Ohio State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Ohio State House of Representatives for 17 years while the Democrats were the majority for five years. Ohio was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study period.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Ohio state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Ohio had Republican trifectas during most of the years of the study, from 1995-2006 and from 2011-2013. The state's highest SQLI ranking, finishing 20th, occurred in 1997 during a Republican trifecta. Its lowest ranking, finishing 38th, occurred from 2008-2010 during a divided government.
Article II of the Ohio Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet. Section 8 of Article II states that the regular session is to convene on the first Monday in January of each year, or the following day if that Monday is a legal holiday.
Section 8 also contains rules for convening special sessions of the General Assembly. It empowers the Governor of Ohio or the presiding officers of the General Assembly to convene a special session. For the presiding officers to convene the session, they must act jointly.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the General Assembly is projected to be in session from January 7 through December 31.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the General Assembly will be in session from January 7 to a date to be determined.
As Keith Faber (R) takes over as President of the Senate, the main focus of the legislature will be adopting a new biennial state budget. Additionally, lawmakers will address casino regulation, state collective-bargaining laws, Medicare expansion, and prison overcrowding.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the General Assembly began its legislative session on January 3.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the General Assembly will be in session from January 3 through a date to be determined by the Ohio Legislature. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
Ethics and transparency
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Ohio was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Redistricting in Ohio
The Ohio Apportionment Board is responsible for legislative redistricting. It is comprised of 5 members: the Governor, State Auditor, Secretary of State, and two members selected by the legislative leaders of the two major parties.
Ohio received its 2010 local census data in early March 2011. Although the state population showed net growth, Ohio's large cities recorded significant population loss. Of the state's five largest cities only Columbus showed population growth. Cleveland suffered the sharpest decline, losing 17.1% of its population.
The Ohio Legislative Task Force on Redistricting, Reapportionment, and Demographic Research assisted the General Assembly and Ohio Apportionment Board in drafting new maps. Four of the five members of the Board were Republicans. By a vote of 4-1 they gave final approval to new maps on September 28, 2011 - two days after posting them online. The lone Democrat on the Board, Rep. Armond Budish, opposed the maps, saying the plan "quarantines" Democrats in 1/3 of the legislative districts.
On January 4, 2012, Democrats filed suit against the legislative maps, saying they violated constitutional requirements for compactness and preservation of county and municipal boundaries. The Ohio Supreme Court took the case but, due to the time factor, ruled the new maps would stand for the 2012 elections, with possible revisions to apply starting in 2014.
Republican activists, led by Fred A. Lennon, began pursuing term limits in the 1980s. In 1992, a referendum set term limits of eight consecutive years -- four consecutive terms in the house and two consecutive terms in the senate. Terms are considered consecutive if they are separated by less than four years.
The Ohio State Senate is the upper house in Ohio's legislature. Members of the Ohio Senate are limited to two consecutive four-year elected terms. Service to fill out another member's uncompleted term does not count against the state's term limits. There are 33 members elected from individual districts. The current party distribution is 21 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Each member represents an average of 349,591 residents, as of the 2010 Census. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 344,035. Each Senate district corresponds exactly to 3 of the 99 State House districts.
|Party||As of January 2015|
The Ohio House of Representatives is the lower house of Ohio's legislature. The House first met in Chillicothe on March 3 1803, under the later superseded constitution of that year. The 127th General Assembly convened in January 2007. There are 99 members of the house, elected from single-member districts. Every even-numbered year, all the seats are up for re-election. The current party distribution is 59 Republicans and 40 Democrats. Each member represents an average of 116,530 residents, as of the 2010 Census. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 114,678.
|Party||As of January 2015|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Ohio Legislature are paid $60,584/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive no per diem.
When sworn in
Ohio legislators assume office January 1st.
Joint legislative committees
There are five joint legislative committees in the Ohio State Legislature.
- Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, Ohio State Legislature
- Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Ohio State Legislature
- Joint Legislative Ethics Committee, Ohio State Legislature
- Legislative Service Commission, Ohio State Legislature
- State Controlling Board, Ohio State Legislature
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio Senate’s new leader brings aggressive style," January 6, 2013
- 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- 2010 session dates for Ohio legislature
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Examiner.com, "4 of 5 big Ohio cities, counties lose people, Whites still dominate, Census says," March 10, 2011
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Reapportionment: Maps tilt Ohio more to GOP," September 24, 2011
- Daily Jeffersonian, "No Ohio Redistricting Decision Before Election," February 19, 2012
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- Population in 2010 of the American states
- Population in 2000 of the American states
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013