COLUMBUS - The Ohio Senate yesterday approved the state's two-year, $1.27 billion capital budget and a hotly-debated bill to allow law-abiding Ohioans to carry concealed handguns.
Gov. Bob Taft will sign the capital budget bill into law.
But because the House and the Senate have passed different versions of a concealed-gun bill, Mr. Taft may not have to wrestle with the issue until next year.
The reason is that the House of Representatives does not plan to meet again this year. To get the bill to Mr. Taft's desk, the House either has to agree to the Senate version or convene a House-Senate committee and reach a compromise that both chambers would have to approve by month's end.
If that doesn't happen, backers will have to introduce the bill again next year.
Earlier the Senate voted 28-3 to approve the capital budget bill, which includes $6.8 million to buy nearly all of North Bass Island for a state park or nature preserve and $4 million to help build a sports arena on the East Toledo riverfront.
State Sen. Bob Hagan (D., Youngstown) was among the three dissenters. He argued that counties in the Mahoning Valley were not getting their fair share compared to Hamilton, Franklin, and Cuyahoga counties.
He questioned how the cash-strapped state government could provide $10 million in the bricks-and-mortar budget for a Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame when Youngstown has become the 19th most violent city in the United States and poverty is on the rise across the state.
Republicans didn't respond to the criticism, but they noted that the budget includes $314 million to build and upgrade public schools and $307 million earmarked for projects at state universities and for the first time it creates a program in which joint vocational districts can tap state funding for renovation and construction.
The Senate approved the concealed-gun bill by a 20-11 vote, with four Republicans voting no and three Democrats voting yes.
The bill would enable Ohioans 21 and over and who have lived in the state at least 45 days to apply for permits to carry concealed handguns. They would have to undergo a criminal-background check, including fingerprinting, and complete 12 hours of firearms training.
1) $6.8 million to help buy nearly all of North Bass Island for a state park or nature preserve.
2) $4 million to help build a new sports arena along the East Toledo riverfront.
3) $3.8 million for Middle Bass Island State Park.
4) $2 million to help construct the Center of Glass at the Toledo Museum of Art.
5) $1 million for Sandusky State Theatre improvements.
6) $1 million for construction of a National Guard Armory in Bowling Green that also will be used as a community center.
7) $1 million for a one-stop service center for all agriculture-related offices in Wood County, including the Ohio State University Extension Services.
8) $700,000 to build dormitory-style housing for military members who visit Camp Perry in Ottawa County to attend training programs and to renovate the sewage system.
9) $300,000 for the marina and dock renovation at the Mary Jane Thurston State Park along the Maumee River in Henry County.
10) $75,000 for improvements to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and Museum in Fremont.
UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO
1) $9.4 million for Gillham Hall rehabilitation
2) $5.2 million for the Bowman-Oddy North Wing renovation
3) $4.6 million for basic renovations
4) $2.2 million for the third-floor classroom renovation in Palmer Hall
BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY
1) $8.7 million for the Theater-Performing Arts complex
2) $3.9 million for basic renovations
3) $3 million for the Admissions Visitor Center
4) $1.2 million for phase one of the Biology Laboratory Building
5) $1.2 million for phase one of the the University Hall rehabilitation
6) $862,684 for the Cedar Point Community Center at the Firelands campus
7) $219,586 for basic renovations at the Firelands campus
8) $50,000 to study whether to build a new Convocation Center
JAMES A. RHODES STATE COLLEGE (Lima)
1) $3.7 million for the Information Technology Building
2) $316,757 for basic renovations
MEDICAL COLLEGE OF OHIO
1) $2.4 million for the Core Research Facility
2) $1.5 million for basic renovations
3) $880,000 for various renovations
4) $400,000 for academic-classroom improvements
5) $700,000 for Clinical Academic renovation
NORTHWEST STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Archbold)
1) $268,822 for basic renovations at the Delta campus in Fulton County
2) $200,000 for the services facility in Henry County
OWENS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
1) $8.7 million for the Education Center
2) $1.4 million for basic renovations
3) $1.1 million for the Fire and Police Training Center
TERRA STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (Fremont)
1) $315,419 for basic renovations