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Welcome to the State of Ohio! Before diving into the many benefits,
rewards and resources you have available to you as a State of Ohio employee, give yourself a head start in your new role by learning the “Need to Know” facts for state employees. Consider this web page your State of Ohio Employment 101 course. Explore below for basic information about the structure of Ohio government, important employment policies and state human resources terminology.
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.
The General Assembly
Term limit: House members - four consecutive two-year terms | Senate - two consecutive four-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.
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 many members of boards and commissions (except for the State Board of Education, whose members are elected), and signing into law or vetoing bills passed by the Ohio General Assembly.
For a list of all agencies, boards and commissions including contact information:
Elected to a four-year term as a running mate to the governor
The lieutenant governor also is 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.
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.
Auditor of State
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.
Secretary of State
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 also is 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.
Treasurer of State
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.
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 U.S.
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
Judges elected to six-year terms
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 and 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.
More information: The Supreme Court of Ohio & The Ohio Judicial System: sconet.state.oh.us
Civil service and collective bargaining provide two separate sets of rules for governing the employment relationship between the State of Ohio and its employees. You should not think of them as mutually exclusive. Although the collective bargaining agreements specify the terms and conditions of employment for bargaining unit employees, various provisions within the agreements mirror or otherwise incorporate portions of the Ohio civil service laws.