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State Government

Ohio’s state government contains three branches elected by Ohio voters. The legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch administers laws and the judicial branch interprets and enforces laws. 

The legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, collectively called the General Assembly.

The executive branch includes the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor of State, Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, State Board of Education, the governor’s cabinet, and boards and commissions whose members are appointed by the governor.

Ohio’s judicial branch of government is comprised of the Supreme Court of Ohio and lower courts that all perform judicial functions for the people of Ohio.

The following are brief descriptions of the elected offices in Ohio government. These descriptions are not intended to be complete lists of responsibilities, but to give a broad overview of their duties.

Legislative

Senators are elected to a four-year term, with a term limit of two consecutive four-year terms

Representatives are elected to a two-year term, with a term limit of four consecutive two-year terms

Ohio’s House of Representatives has 99 members; the Senate has 33 (three House Districts within each Senate District). The General Assembly debates bills proposed for adoption as laws. Most bills require a majority vote in both the Senate and the House to pass. If a bill passes one chamber and is amended by the second chamber, the first chamber must concur with the changes. If there is no concurrence, the bill goes to a conference committee of members selected from both chambers. When both chambers approve a bill, it is then presented to the governor to be signed into law, vetoed or allowed to become law after 10 days without the governor’s signature. The Legislature can override a governor’s veto with a three-fifths vote of both chambers. When laws are finally adopted, they become part of Ohio Revised Code, and are known as “statutes.”

For more information on Ohio's Legislative Districts, visit Ohio District Maps.

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GOVERNOR

Current Governor: John Kasich

Elected to a four-year term
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The governor is the chief executive officer of state government. The governor is responsible for proposing the state budget, appointing state department directors and members of boards and commissions (except for the state school board, whose members are elected) and signing into law or vetoing bills passed by the Ohio General Assembly.

www.governor.ohio.gov

CABINET OFFICES

(For more information about the State of Ohio Cabinet Offices, visit State Agencies.)

  • Adjutant General
  • Administrative Services
  • Aging
  • Agriculture
  • Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services
  • Board of Regents
  • Budget & Management
  • Commerce
  • Development
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Health
  • Insurance
  • Job & Family Services
  • Lottery
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities
  • Natural Resources
  • Public Safety
  • Rehabilitation & Correction
  • Taxation
  • Transportation
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Youth Services

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Current Lieutenant Governor: Mary Taylor

Elected to a four-year term as a running mate to the governor
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The lieutenant governor is also a member of the governor’s cabinet and presides in the absence of the governor. The governor may appoint the lieutenant governor to be the director of one of the departments.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Current Attorney General: Mike DeWine

Elected to a four-year term
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The attorney general is the lawyer for the state and all its departments. The attorney general has enforcement authority as empowered by the General Assembly. The attorney general also provides support to local law enforcement agencies.

www.ag.state.oh.us

AUDITOR OF STATE

Current Auditor of State: Dave Yost

Elected to a four-year term
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The auditor of state is the constitutional officer responsible for auditing all public offices in Ohio, including cities and villages, schools and universities, counties and townships, as well as the many departments, agencies and commissions of state government. The auditor’s office also has the responsibility of making monthly distributions of state revenues to these entities.

www.auditor.state.oh.us

SECRETARY OF STATE

Current Secretary of State: Jon Husted

Elected to a four-year term
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The Secretary of State is the chief election officer for the state, appointing members of the 88 county boards of elections and ensuring the integrity of the Ohio voting process. The Secretary is also charged with safely keeping the laws and resolutions passed by the Ohio General Assembly. The Secretary of State’s office grants authority to companies to do business in Ohio and provides the public access to a wide variety of records and documents.

www.sos.state.oh.us

TREASURER OF STATE

Current Treasurer of State: Josh Mandel

Elected to a four-year term
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

In general, the treasurer serves as the state’s banker. The state treasurer manages the state’s multi-billion dollar investment portfolios. Using sophisticated security measures and procedures, the treasurer maintains an accurate account of all state and custodial funds, including those of the state’s five public pension systems.

www.ohiotreasurer.org

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Members elected or appointed to four-year terms
Term limit: two consecutive four-year terms

The Ohio State Board of Education regulates every school in the state, whether tax-supported or not, from preschool through high school. The board also sets standards for education and certifying Ohio teachers. The board provides leadership toward the continuous improvement of Ohio schools by making legislative and budgetary recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly. There are 19 board members, 11 elected and eight appointed by the governor.

www.ode.state.oh.us

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SUPREME COURT OF OHIO

Justices elected to six-year terms
Term limit: None
Age limit: Must be elected before age 70

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. Most of its cases are appeals from the 12 district courts of appeals. The Supreme Court also has appellate jurisdiction in cases involving questions arising under the Ohio or United States Constitutions, cases originating in the courts of appeals, and cases in which there have been conflicting opinions on the same question from two or more courts of appeals. The Supreme Court, which is made up of the chief justice and six justices, hears all cases in which the death penalty has been imposed, unless waived by the prisoner.

OHIO APPELLATE COURTS

Justices elected to six-year terms
Term limit: None
Age limit: Must be elected before age 70

As intermediate level courts, the Ohio Appellate Courts’ function is to hear appeals from the common pleas, municipal and county courts. Each case is heard and decided by a three-judge panel. The state is divided into 12 appellate districts. Each district is served by a court of appeals that sits in each of the counties in that district. The number of judges in each district depends on a variety of factors, including the court’s caseload and the size of the district.

COMMON PLEAS COURTS | COUNTY COURTS OF CLAIMS | MUNICIPAL COURTS

Each county in Ohio also has a common pleas court, which hears criminal and civil cases and also decides probate, juvenile and domestic (divorce) cases. Counties also have county and municipal court systems.

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