Ohio’s Christmas Tree Bill

Did you know that the Ohio General Assembly passes a bill each year known as a Christmas tree bill?

In a rush to finish up business before adjourning for the holidays lawmakers at the state and federal level work to pass legislation known as a Christmas tree bill. The Christmas tree bill gets its name not for its holiday spirit, but rather for the the additional amendments, or “decorations,” tacked on to a single piece of legislation. In 1956, Senator Clinton Anderson commented in Time Magazine about a bill with more than 100 amendments, saying, “This bill gets more and more like a Christmas treethere is something on it for nearly everyone.” Often amendments or riders attached to Christmas tree bills are connected only by the goal of passing the legislation quickly so lawmakers can head home for the holidays.

This year the Ohio General Assembly decorated Senate Bill 51 with millions of dollars in appropriations to repair the Ohio Governor’s Mansion, rebuild the Statehouse parking garage, and improve flood control efforts in the the Findlay area. In particular, this Christmas tree bill made headlines for the $15 million appropriation to build a new stadium for the Columbus Crew. 

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