Guest Column From State Representative Al Landis
2017: A Year of Progress
January 25, 2018
 
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It seems like 2018 is already off to a fast start, but before we get too far into the new year, it’s important to reflect upon the progress our state made during 2017. It was a busy year for myself and the rest of the state legislature, as we made the drug epidemic a top priority and spent six months debating, revising, and passing the state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.


One of my biggest goals of 2017 was to help spread the word about the damage Ohio’s opioid epidemic has had on our families and communities and the importance of preventive measures. With that in mind, I championed the “Got Your Back” Ohio Drug-Free Initiative, a project that unites communities through the use of social media to put an end to drug use. “Got Your Back” encourages those of all ages to support one another in the effort to say no to drugs and prevent this unfortunate scourge from affecting future generations.


The opioid crisis has continued to be one of the most pressing issues the legislature has faced. We’ve made many reforms over the past several years to stop its spread, and we continued that through the state operating budget, House Bill 49. In the budget bill, we devoted $180 million in new money toward prevention, treatment, mental health, and workforce development. Through the combination of these four key areas, we strive to prevent addiction, care for the currently addicted, and get those in recovery back to work.


In addition to addressing this top concern, the budget included a number of other provisions, addressing matters from higher education to certainty in Ohio’s tax structure. I’m proud that during a tight budget cycle we were able to pass a fiscally responsible budget. This past year, I was given additional responsibility with an appointment to Ohio’s Controlling Board. The Controlling Board, a bipartisan group of legislators from the House and Senate and a designee from the Office of Budget and Management, is tasked with handling necessary adjustments to the state budget. The position has given me greater insight into the budgetary process.


While 2017 was an accomplished year, there is still much to be done. It is my hope that the “Got Your Back” campaign will continue to build and will reach all corners of the state. It is so crucial that we embolden our youth to say no, thereby getting in front of the drug epidemic and halting its influence. Additionally, I anticipate consideration of the capital appropriations bill, through which we fund a number of capital improvement projects across communities in Ohio. As always, I welcome your input, and encourage you to contact my office with any questions or concerns at (614) 466-8035 or Rep98@ohiohouse.gov.


 

 
 
 
  
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