The Ohio General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Ohio. It consists of the 99-member Ohio House of Representatives and the 33-member Ohio Senate. Both houses of the General Assembly meet at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
The Legislative Service Commission is one of several legislative agencies. It serves as a source for legal expertise and staffing and drafts proposed legislation.
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The second constitution of Ohio, effective in 1851, took away the power of the General Assembly to choose the state's executive 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:
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 both 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. 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.
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 in office: four consecutive terms in the House or two consecutive terms in the Senate. Years in office are considered consecutive if they are separated by less than four years. A former member of the legislature who had served eight years becomes eligible for election to the legislature after four years out of office.