In my first year as your state representative, I’ve learned that crafting legislation and getting it passed is not always a start-to-finish, straightforward process. Having become accustomed to the comings and goings of the state legislature, however, I’ve come to believe that the back-and-forth nature of legislating leads to a thorough and critical review of all the bills we consider. Just recently, a bill I supported in the House found its way to the Governor through a more unconventional way.

House Bill 116 first passed the House in September with bipartisan support. The bill eliminates the sales and use tax on eyeglasses, frames, and contacts. As the only prescribed medical product sold in retail stores in Ohio, prescription eyewear carries the sales and use tax, differing from almost all other prescription goods, which are tax exempt. By eliminating the sales and use tax on vision products, Ohioans are estimated to save $29 million annually.

Eyeglasses and contacts significantly improve the lives of millions of Ohioans, for many could not work, learn, or live safely without them. It’s important to eliminate the financial burden on products that are prescribed that enhance everyday life, especially for families that might struggle to pay for a basic medical need. House Bill 116 does just that, while also establishing a more universal policy regarding taxes on prescriptions.

After the House sent the bill to the Senate for consideration, it was decided to include the provisions of the bill into another, Senate Bill 8, which was under comprehensive deliberation in conference committee between the two chambers. The House and Senate then both agreed to the conference committee’s report on Senate Bill 8, and the bill—including the original measures of House Bill 116—was sent to the Governor.

I’m confident that Senate Bill 8 will receive the Governor’s approval, and I was glad to see the important provisions of House Bill 116 make its way toward becoming law in a more expedited manner. The legislative process can sometimes be complex, but with it comes good legislation that will improve the lives of so many Ohioans.

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