Rep. Baker Hosts Press Conference Highlighting Job Resources In Cuyahoga County
Event Outlines Resources for Jobseekers, OhioMeansJobs Entity
July 30, 2014

COLUMBUS—State Representative Nan Baker (R-Westlake) yesterday held a press conference in Cleveland at the OhioMeansJobs office for Cleveland-Cuyahoga County to raise awareness regarding job opportunities for jobseekers, in various industries, and the many resources that are available to them, including OhioMeansJobs.

Speakers included Grace A. Kilbane, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board and of OhioMeansJobs Cleveland/Cuyahoga County; Tom Waltermire, Chief Executive Officer of Team Neo; Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development of MAGNET; Vince Adamus, Vice President of Business & Real Estate Development for the Greater Cleveland Partnership; and William Gary, new Executive Vice President of the Workforce & Economic Development Department at Tri-C. Representatives Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) and Mike Dovilla (R-Berea), along with Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan (District 1), were also in attendance.

Rep. Baker, along with fellow speakers, discussed the OhioMeansJobs website in detail, outlining its various functions.  They also spoke about the importance of continuing to involve the business community in the improvement of job search resources and keeping the discussion regarding employment opportunities for Ohio citizens a priority.

“It was exciting to raise awareness of all the job resources available to those that are wanting to explore their career options, find a job or improve their skills to further their employment opportunities,” Rep. Baker said. “Our message was clear: within a 20 mile radius of Cleveland, over 29,000 jobs are waiting to be filled. If you want a job, the OhioMeansJobs website, the OhioMeansJobs office along with our Cleveland professional team ranging from manufacturing to workforce training, will turn that want into a reality. As I continue to say, 'It's All About Jobs!’ “

Rep. Baker has sponsored several pieces of legislation on the topic of employment in Ohio including House Bill 486, which is the workforce development component of the Mid-Biennium Review, House Bill 107, the Career Exploration Internship bill that brings high school students and business together, and also House Bill 393, which includes the branding of OhioMeansJobs on existing school publications and offers more information to high school students regarding career planning, job opportunities and online education resources available to them. 

Recent Legislative Initiatives Make For A Better Ohio, A Better Government
Guest Column from Representative Cheryl Grossman
July 30, 2014

My job as a state representative is to listen to and serve the constituents of the 23rd House District by studying and enacting legislation that better serves these constituents and the rest of Ohio. Recently, the state legislature passed House Bill 483 as part of the Mid-Biennial Review (MBR), a package of bills that strives to initiate reforms to state spending, agency operations, and state policies and programs. This bill allows me to do my job to my greatest ability as it ensures more money in the pockets of Ohioans and stronger local services.

Two perspectives I firmly believe make Ohio a better place are lower taxes and more support for the issues that matter most to Ohioans, such as education resources, investments in local governments, and services for the poor and vulnerable. House Bill 483 accomplishes all of these goals, thus making Ohio a better place for families and businesses to thrive. A total of $400 million in tax relief for tax year 2014 was authorized when Governor Kasich signed the legislation in June. Both small businesses and individuals will benefit immensely from such tax changes.

In addition to cutting taxes, the legislation also appropriates money to the services that Ohioans care about most. Some appropriations include:

  • $10 million to protect vulnerable older Ohioans;

  • $10 million for fiscal year 2015 for Child Protective Services to provide additional safeguards for Ohio’s children;

  • $16 million for more uninterrupted access to quality childcare and early education for Ohio families, funding I secured in the MBR through diligent work with Senator Lehner and other colleagues;

  • $17 million for security upgrades at public and private schools statewide;

  • Redirects $47.5 million in funding for Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide a comprehensive continuum of care for the mentally ill and addicted.

In addition to the MBR, another initiative recently deployed was Start Talking, Governor Kasich’s program to educate kids and teenagers about substance abuse and addiction and to prevent the opiate epidemic in Ohio from spreading further. This program, combined with the $47.5 million in comprehensive funding for Mental Health and Addiction services, represents a strong effort by your state government to help those who struggle with addiction and prevent further addiction from happening.

These policies are the solution to keeping Ohio on the right path towards a healthy, prosperous, and successful state. I fully support the work done by the legislature this spring and look forward to seeing the positive results from such enactments.

Ohio House Takes Action On New Common Core Legislation
Reps. Huffman and Thompson Announce Repeal and Replacement of Common Core
July 29, 2014

COLUMBUS—Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) today at a press conference announced that they have introduced a new placeholder bill that will fully repeal common core standards in Ohio and replace them with proven, high standards and assessments, ensure confidentiality of student data and return control to Ohioans.

House Bill 597 will continue the work that has already been done in the context of House Bill 237 and House Bill 487 with the goal of restoring to teachers and classrooms clear sets of proven guidelines and standards.

"I am happy to work with Rep. Huffman to move this bill through the House,” Rep. Thompson said.  “Ohio's students deserve high standards that are proven to work, and the peace of mind that their privacy will be protected throughout the course of their education."

“Americans view common core as an intrusion by the federal government into a very personal matter: the education of their children,” Rep. Huffman said.“This bill will work to address their concerns in order to find a solution.”

Rep. Huffman indicated that House Bill 597 would be heard in Rules Committee with hearings expected to begin the second or third week of August.

Rep. Johnson Awarded Phillips Medal From Ohio University
Annual award bestowed upon individuals for exemplary public service
July 29, 2014

COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder today applauded State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) for being awarded the Phillips Medal of Public Service from Ohio University this past Saturday.

This prestigious award works to annually recognize men and women in the healthcare, education and public service sector who demonstrate exemplary achievement in their specific field.  Rep. Johnson was chosen because of his diverse background in medicine including working as a family practice physician and a clinical professor in family medicine at Ohio University. He was also commissioned into the Ohio Army National Guard, serving as senior flight surgeon, and ending his military career as the Guard’s State Surgeon. He later served as Scioto County Coroner before being elected as state representative for the 90th Ohio House District.

Rep. Johnson has championed several pieces of legislation that work to curtail the prescription drug problem in the state including House Bill 93, known as the “Anti-Pill Mill Bill,” House Bill 296, which allows for the stocking of “epi-pens” at schools, and House Bill 170, which expands the use of naloxone hydrochloride.

At the ceremony where Dr. Johnson was awarded, his colleagues said, “he was the epitome of a public servant, a trusted and empathetic care giver, a decorated military veteran, a valued educator to our students and a legislator who has sponsored groundbreaking health related laws for our state.”

“Representative Johnson has made a profound difference within this caucus as a leader and experienced medical professional,” Speaker Batchelder said. “We are blessed to have him in the House as he works to serve his constituents and assist his fellow colleagues. Specifically in the area of opioids and prescription drugs, his wide breadth of knowledge is unmatched and I’d like to congratulate him on this outstanding award.”



COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) today hosted a ceremony to dedicate a room in the Ohio Statehouse as the Robert E. Netzley Conference Room.

Representative Netzley was the longest serving member of the Ohio House of Representatives with 40 years of service to Miami County and the citizens of Ohio.  A United States Navy veteran of World War II, he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a Japanese suicide pilot.  For his service, Netzley was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame as well as the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. 

“It was an honor and privilege to dedicate the Robert E. Netzley conference room today,” said Speaker Batchelder. “Representative Netzley was not only the longest serving member of the House of Representatives and dear friend, but he was also a legislator with high integrity who had a breadth of knowledge on state government issues. His contributions to bettering Ohio are numerous, and this room serves as a small token of gratitude to this great man.”

The room, located in the crypt of the Statehouse and formerly known as Room 004, will be utilized for meetings, presentations, and press conferences. Additionally, a small workroom is attached for staff use.

Moving Past "Thank You For Your Service"
Guest Column from State Representative Anne Gonzales
July 03, 2014

With the Fourth of July approaching, we are in the midst of preparing for parades, cookouts and fireworks with our friends and family to celebrate our country’s declaration of independence from the British crown in 1776. This action was a bold move 238 years ago, and it showed the rest of the world what the average citizen was willing to do with self-determination. The following seven years were a difficult struggle for freedom where almost 25,000 patriots gave their lives so this country could remain free.

This spirit of sacrifice remains strong in our country to this day. Ohio has the sixth largest veteran population in the United States. Currently there are an estimated 900,000 veterans living in the state of Ohio. Of that number, almost 650,000 have served in or in support of a theater of combat. As Americans, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to these men and women who left their homes and their families to serve this country. We should not, however, simply leave our expressions of gratitude at a passing, “thank you for your service.” As a member of the General Assembly, I have sponsored and supported legislation to help our veterans with their housing, education and employment.

Recently, Governor Kasich signed into law House Bill 85, which I drafted with Representative Lou Terhar of Cincinnati, to help our disabled veterans stay in their homes longer by reducing their property tax burden. This bill increases the homestead tax exemption for 100 percent of disabled veterans from the standard $25,000 deduction, to $50,000, and the idea was brought to me by the VFW and American Legion in Gahanna. This change corrects a long standing short coming of the state by finally offering property tax relief to America’s most severely disabled veterans and is a simple way to honor their service.

Currently, Ohio law allows veterans and their dependents to receive in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, regardless of their home of record. This simple law incentivizes the veteran population to come to Ohio’s institutions of higher education and lets them get more out of the GI Bill and other veteran education benefits. Unfortunately, this law does not extend the same preferences to veterans during the application process.

Last year, a veteran who grew up in Westerville, but was stationed in Colorado, called me and told me he was waitlisted at one of Ohio’s public universities because they had too many out-of-state applicants. Eventually, because of the bureaucracy, he was not accepted and decided not to return to Ohio. While this may have been an isolated incident, I wanted to make sure this did not happen to any veteran ever again, and I drafted House Bill 449 to exempt veterans and their dependents from any residency based restrictions or quotas when applying to Ohio’s public colleges and universities. Last month, this bill passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives and is expected to pass the Senate by the end of the year.

Our military’s professional and technical education is among some of the best in the world. These men and women work in their field for years in some of the harshest and most austere conditions imaginable and come back to Ohio with these skills looking for work. Unfortunately, some of the state’s professional licensing agencies would not accept their military training and would make them go back to school if they wanted to get their license. Along with Representative Wes Retherford of Hamilton, OH, I sought to require Ohio’s licensing agencies to consider a veteran’s military education when they applied for a trade license. Last November, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 98 in to law to correct this issue and veterans can now use their military experience to apply for state licenses.

These are a few examples of how my friends and colleagues in the General Assembly have honored the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans with the resources available to us. However, legislation is not the only way to help these men and women who gave so much for us. This year, consider working with veteran service organizations like the USO assembling care packages to service members stationed overseas. Attend a steak fry at your local VFW post or American Legion hall and listen to the stories the veterans have to tell. Volunteer at the Veteran’s Administration entering data or escorting veterans with mobility issues. With America’s wars winding to a close, it is time to move past a simple “thank you for your service” and move towards Lincoln’s promise “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and his widow and his orphan.”

Celebrating Our Servicemen And Women This Fourth Of July
Guest Column from State Representative Michael Henne
July 03, 2014

Every year, our country celebrates its rich history and unmatched independence on the Fourth of July.  On this day in history the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring freedom for the thirteen American colonies from the rule of the British Empire. This act of bravery and patriotism now serves as a national holiday for our country.

Many men and women have laid down their lives over the course of our nation’s history in order to keep American citizens safe and to protect our unalienable rights.  As we celebrate the birth of our nation, it is also appropriate to pay tribute to those who fought and died for our liberty and for those who have fought and returned home.  Our veterans are true American heroes and patriots.

As representative of the 40th House District, I am reminded that the Fourth of July has another special meaning; it serves as a day to recognize the wonderful accomplishments our state and nation have achieved in ensuring that our liberties endure.  Our continual goal is making certain that our rights are protected, our voices are heard and our American values are held above all else.  Serving my constituents and making sure that their ideas and issues are brought to Columbus, and the Statehouse, is my main priority.  I’m proud of our system of government, and all that is made possible because of the solid foundation this country was built upon.

As part of our democratic system,  citizen engagement in the legislative process is how laws are made and initiatives are championed.  With this in mind, I hope constituents will join me for office hours at the Vandalia Library Meeting Room (500 South Dixie Drive, Vandalia) from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on July 26. It’s a great way for constituents to share their ideas and issues with me.

This Fourth of July holiday, we can enjoy our nation’s independence through gatherings, fireworks, parades, and various events, because of the beliefs  and principles set in place by our founding fathers and the men and women in the armed forces who uphold them.  As we take time to celebrate Independence Day with our families and friends, I will also take a moment to acknowledge our veterans and the freedoms they have fought for.

I also ask you to take a moment to remember the price that comes with freedom and those that sacrificed it all so that we can continue to celebrate this historical day.  I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday.

House Bill 488 Gives Greater Career Opportunities For Our Veterans
Guest Column from State Representative Mark Romanchuk
July 02, 2014

Each year on the fourth of July, we celebrate our country’s independence and adoption of the Declaration of Independence; a festivity full of pride for our nation.  This holiday is also a day to honor the service members who put their lives on the line so that we may continue to have the freedoms based on the ideologies of our wise founding fathers.

Every day men and women in the United States armed forces receive detailed training and instruction. Through their career in the military veterans gain a valuable education outside the ordinary classroom that can help them in their future career. The training they receive in the military is specialized and extensive, having been refined by long hours of hard work and dedication. Unfortunately,  much of the education these men and women receive while in serve is was not transferable into educational credits in the civilian world.

House Bill 488 allows military veterans to use the training they receive in the armed forces to receive college credit. This bill also assists veterans wanting to go directly into the workforce, by expediting their requests for state occupational licenses and certificates.  This process offers a transition into college or the workforce, giving these honorable men and women a pathway to a new career opportunity.

A uniform and effective process for awarding college credits is established in HB 488, through the Military Articulation and Transfer Assurance Guide. The guide provides standards on earning credit for experience in the military.  This legislation also requires state institutions of higher education to support and assist veterans and designate a contact person for veterans’ affairs. A statewide training program will also be developed to teach college faculty and staff to translate military experience into credit.

This Independence Day, as you celebrate with sparklers, picnics, and fireworks, remember to celebrate the signing of HB 488 into law; a bill that will give career opportunities to the service men and women that protect the independence we gained over 200 years ago. 

Elder Justice Act Protects Seniors
Guest Column from State Representative Stephanie Kunze
June 27, 2014

The elderly often experience abuse that goes unnoticed, and according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, as many as two million elders are abused in the United States. In response to this startling statistic, the Ohio House of Representatives has been working on legislation to help this population. House Bill 49 is a piece of legislation crafted to help Ohio seniors by tracking, studying, and finding ways to prevent this abuse.

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation and despair” to the elderly.  Abuse and neglect of Ohio’s seniors goes unnoticed every day and often goes unreported.

Due to this fact, House Bill 49, also know as the Elder Justice Act, was introduced. Through this legislation, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), would track elder abuse by creating a registry to log reported cases. This information would then be analyzed to find patterns and trends to reduce the cases of abuse and neglect.

Under this legislation, ODJFS must submit a report describing the process of starting the registry and document cost to both state and county Job and Family Service departments. Continuous training for protective service caseworkers is also a provision in HB 49, for workers who must report abuse.

Through the Elder Justice Act, the definition of elder abuse is expanded to include both abandonment and financial abuse. Currently, the definition only focuses on physical harm. Financial abuse to the elderly is becoming more common as modern technology advances and becomes abused by criminals.

Established in 2009, the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission will be added into state law through this bill. The new commission will raise awareness of elder abuse, strive to improve public policy, funding, and programming, and enhance the judicial response to elder abuse victims.

The Elder Justice Act is essential in defending seniors’ human rights.  By studying past crimes, expanding the definition of elder abuse, and adding the Elder Abuse Commission in statute our seniors will have further protections for their safety.  I support this legislation as it goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Keeping Ohioans Safe And Healthy
Guest Column from Representative Marilyn Slaby
June 25, 2014

The health and safety of Ohioans is an issue that the Ohio House of Representatives has made a priority over the course of this General Assembly.  We’re working hard to pass legislation that keeps the well-being of our constituents in mind, at all times.  This includes House Bill 49, House Bill 296 and also bills related to the opiate epidemic in the state.

Abuse and the financial exploitation of the elderly are unfortunately common in our state. House Bill 49 is designed to protect the elderly by requiring employees, who work in the financial field, to report situations of suspected abuse and neglect. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is also working on developing a registry to locate patterns and trends of abuse. This would help to shield older Americans from abuse and financial exploitation.

The bill also establishes a statewide Elder Abuse Commission created to research the abuse of the elderly. The commission would promote awareness, improve policies and assist these victims. 

Another bill that has gained attention is House Bill 296. Allergic reactions can cause life threatening situations for individuals with allergies. During an allergic reaction emergency, an Epinephrine Autoinjector (EpiPen) is needed to combat the reaction with a dose of adrenaline. HB 296 proposes that public schools, residential camps and day camps be granted the ability to obtain EpiPens without a license in case an emergency were to arise.

The bill will also allow drug manufacturers to donate EpiPens or let these places accept financial donations for their purchase.  This would save money and help school districts obtain EpiPens for emergency situations.

Opiate addiction has unfortunately become a major problem in the state of Ohio. It is imperative that we pass legislation that addresses this issue with the goal of strengthening the requirements for prescriptions and preventing the abuse of opioids. The standards for prescribing opioids have also been reinforced.  In order to help people from becoming addicted we must stop the pattern of addiction. Programs need to be in place to treat addiction and reduce the current problem, which is something we are working on.  It is my hope that Ohioans get the help that they need and the care that is necessary to curtail this epidemic.

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OSU Marching Band To Attend Ohio House Session


State Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) is pleased to announce that The Ohio State University Marching Band will be in attendance of the Ohio House session on Wednesday, May 7th. Rep. Grossman will be honoring the band with a resolution recognizing its contributions to the state of Ohio.


Reps. Retherford And Conditt Introduce Legislation Increasing Penalties For Drug Dealers


State Representatives Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Margaret Conditt (R-Liberty Twp.) today announced that they have introduced legislation that will increase the penalties for those who knowingly sell illegal substances to pregnant women.


Ohio House Bill Would Provide Expanded Addiction Treatment Opportunities


State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation requiring every county to have the full spectrum of opioid addiction recovery treatment and recovery housing. Rep. Sprague was the chair of the House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Committee, which traveled around Ohio last summer learning about and studying drug abuse and addiction.


State Rep. Smith Announces That House Bill 394 Gives Pharmacists More Authority


State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today applauded the passage of House Bill 394 by the Ohio House. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Smith, gives pharmacists and pharmacy interns the authority to provide immunizations outside of a pediatrician.