COLUMBUS -- It was the calm before the storm during a shortened holiday week at the Statehouse, with the Ohio House and Senate not in session.
Here are five things that happened around the Statehouse this week:
1. Budget: Subcommittees in the Ohio Senate finished their initial work on the biennial operating budget, setting the stage for hearings by the full Finance Committee. That panel, headed by Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), played host to public testimony over a couple of days.
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to complete their work on the two-year spending plan. The process likely will stretch into the final days of the state fiscal year.
2. Other Committees: Several other House and Senate committees met during the week, hearing sponsor and other testimony on an array of bills.
For example, Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) offered sponsor testimony on HB 198, which would bar the State Lottery Commission from allowing sales of lottery tickets using credit cards.
"I have read a number of reports indicating that allowing the use of credit cards to increase lottery tickets would result in added revenue to our schools and the Ohio Lottery Commission," Koehler said in testimony submitted to the House's Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. "I am not here today in any attempt to tell you those figures aren't true or won't increase. In fact, I am quite sure they will. But at what cost? The main reason for prohibiting the use of credit cards is that compulsive gamblers could accumulate unmanageable debt. More importantly, those in our state with the least amount of money will be able to gamble on credit and put themselves farther into dire fiscal straits. Studies show that many of the individuals who play the lottery are using monies they desperately need for things like food and rent."
Video lottery terminals would be exempt from the prohibition, however.
3. But Not on Red Light Cameras: Following sponsor testimony the previous week, no proponents of a series of bills that would limit small towns' use of traffic enforcement cameras came forward to testify before the House's State and Local Government Committee.
In fact, of the nine bills on the schedule for the day, eight had no one on hand to offer comments.
4. Holiday Accidents: Fourteen people died in traffic accidents across the state over the Memorial Day Weekend, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. That was down from 15 in 2016 and 16 in 2015.
This year's list included seven pedestrians and one motorcyclist.
Also of note, the Patrol made 801 drunken driving and 554 drug arrests and issued 7,846 safety belt citations over the four-day period.
5. Tree City: Ohio again topped the list states with "Tree City" designations, with 243 communities participating in the national program, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
According to an ODNR release, "Ohioans last year planted more than 27,000 trees, pruned more than 81,000 trees, volunteered more than 50,000 hours in their urban forestry programs and invested a combined total of $40.8 million toward urban forestry efforts."
Wooster was one of the state's first three Tree City communities.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.