COLUMBUS -- It was mostly budget talk around Capitol Square, with an initial vote on spending plans for the next two fiscal years.
Here are 10 things that happened around the Statehouse this week:
1. The Sides: The vote count in the Ohio House really wasn't much of a surprise -- Republicans mostly supported the amended budget bill, while Democrats mostly opposed it.
There were exceptions: Notably, a dozen Republicans, generally the more conservative members of the chambers, vote against the legislation, while four Democrats joined the majority in voting for it.
The House floor debate lasted few hours, with no breaks for caucuses. That wasn't a surprise, either, given the stage of deliberations. The budget bill likely faces heavy edits in the Senate.
2. What's Next: The Senate is expected to move the budget bill in mid- to late-June, potentially the latter.
After that, a conference committee of the House and Senate will have to negotiate a final version to send Gov. John Kasich.
It could be an abbreviated conference this year, since the bill will have to be enacted in advance of the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, leaving days for lawmakers to complete their work.
State Budget Director Tim Keen said his office will be ready to provide updated budget projections in late June to accommodate the process.
3. Speaking of Keen: The budget director said this is a tough cycle, given missed projections in the current budget and economic trends affecting the state and nation.
"It's amongst the most difficult [budgets] that I have prepared," he said.
4. Balancing Act: Keen and the Kasich administration have been guarded in their criticism of changes made to the budget by House Republicans, including a move to give lawmakers more control for Medicaid spending for the state's expanded-eligibility population.
"The administration is pleased that the House took the necessary first steps towards addressing the projected revenue reductions that we expect to be needed at the start of conference committee," Keen told the Senate Finance Committee the day after the House vote. "There is still work to be done as the budget works through the process and the administration looks forward to working with President [Larry] Obhof this committee and the Senate as you continue to work toward the enactment of a balanced budget for fiscal years 2018 and '19."
And Emmalee Kalmbach, the governor's spokeswoman, added in a statement, "Balancing our budget and restraining spending has been the most important factor in helping Ohio create 460,000 new private-sector jobs, and the House budget takes steps to preserve that conservative approach to budgeting. Ohioans have been able to get those jobs, in part, because they're getting healthy and staying healthy. Therefore, creating bureaucratic barriers to that health coverage for the 700,000 Ohioans who've gained it recently is troubling. The governor is confident that, working together, we will find the right way forward, preserve our jobs-friendly climate and show the world that Ohio can manage its affairs well in the face of all kinds of challenges."
5. Smoking: Groups moved quickly to voice their support or opposition to the House's budget amendments.
The American Cancer Society Action Network, for example, was not happy with cuts to tobacco use prevention and cessation programs or the removal of the governor's proposed increase in tax rates on cigarettes and other tobacco and vaping products.
"We cannot leave Ohio's kids vulnerable to the masterful marketing efforts of the tobacco industry to hook buckeye children into a lifetime of addiction to tobacco. The tobacco industry spends an estimated $420 million per year on marketing its addictive and deadly products in Ohio -- that's over $1 million per day in Ohio alone!" Jeff Stephens, the group's director of government relations, said in a released statement. "As we stand today, 259,000 Ohio kids will die prematurely from tobacco."
6. Foodbanks: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, urged senators to remove language that would redirect funding to unaffiliated foodbanks.
"Our members and agencies already cannot meet the needs of Ohio's hungry, especially given that the number of seniors relying on our pantries and soup kitchens has increased 20 percent over the last four years," she said in a released statement. "We implore the Senate to restore this funding to our network, which relies on a proven, efficient system to respond to the needs of hungry people in our state. We are asking the Senate to support an amendment for an additional $5 million per year in support of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which will allow the members of our statewide network to cost-effectively help the hungry children, families and seniors in their neighborhoods."
7. Another Bill: It wasn't all budget votes this week, though.
The Ohio Senate OK'd SB 62, which would designate July 8 as Harrison Dillard Day, honoring the Cleveland native who earned gold medals in sprinting and hurdles at the 1948 and '52 Olympics.
That bill heads to the Ohio House for further consideration.
8. Abortion Bill: Sens. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) introduced legislation that would ban "dilation and evacuation abortions, a procedure in which the abortionist first dilates the woman's cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus," according to a release.
Ohio Right to Life noted statistics from the state health department showing nearly 3,000 such abortions conducted in Ohio in 2015. The group, which is supporting the bill, called the proposal "the next step in the national strategy to end abortion."
9. Opposition: NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland voiced her concern about the bill in a statement shortly after it was introduced, noting, "Let's call this what it is: part of a broader effort to end access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio. Ohioans do not want politicians interfering in our medical decisions. It's time to stop criminalizing women's health care, interfering with the personal decisions of women, and substituting political agendas for the expertise of health care professionals."
10. They'll Be Back: Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the initial petition paperwork submitted by a group hoping to revamp the way Ohio draws its congressional district lines, outlining a couple of deficiencies with the submission.
But backers said they'll continue their efforts, offering in a statement, "Today's denial by the attorney general is merely a speed bump on the road to reform. The Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio ballot committee remains committed to redistricting reform because Ohio's congressional districts are some of the most intricately and egregiously gerrymandered in the country. The manipulation of districts warps the outcome of congressional elections and creates 'safe' seats protecting incumbents, making it nearly impossible for voters to hold our elected officials accountable."
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.