State Representative Ron Maag (R-Lebanon), along with Speaker of the House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), presented a resolution to Ernie Moore, honoring him as Ohio’s 2014-15 Warden of the Year.
An employee of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for 28 years, Moore advanced to become warden at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in 2004, and after short stints in other posts, was re-appointed warden in 2012.
“I was proud to present Ernie with a resolution honoring him for Warden of the Year,” said Rep. Maag. “His accomplishments and dedication to Ohio deserve recognition.”
During Moore’s tenure, the Lebanon Correctional Institution reduced its incidents of use of force, implemented a violence reduction incentive, renovated various officer and inmate areas, added several staff amenities and a training room, developed a second recreation yard, and lowered staff turnover.
State Representative Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) today applauded the Ohio House passage of House Bill 71, legislation that updates, and ensures fairness, in the revised code pertaining to the issue of indemnification in contracts between shippers and motor carriers.
This bill promotes fairness by ensuring that motor carriers are not held liable for harm caused by activities of the other contracting party. Following legislative action by 41 other states that have enacted “anti-indemnification” statutes, House Bill 71 would prohibit the shipper’s ability to claim indemnification in cases where the damage resulted from negligence on the part of the shipper.
By holding the trucking company harmless if they were not responsible for the incident, they would be relieved of costs associated with the injury. This could also reduce the cost of insurance for motor carriers, allowing these companies to have the extra capital to hire Ohio workers and grow their business.
“H.B. 71 strengthens our free markets by ensuring that companies are held accountable for their own actions and cannot unfairly shift what should be their responsibility onto another,” said Rep. Roegner, who sponsored the legislation.
The bill received support from various transportation services and the Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio. It passed the House with bipartisan support and will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Rep. Roegner represents the 37th Ohio House District, which includes portions of northeastern Summit County.
State Representative Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 38, legislation that works to ensure transparency, improve accountability and protect taxpayer money in regards to legal situations and contracts between state and private attorneys.
“Senate Bill 38 ensures that when the Attorney General chooses to hire private attorneys to represent Ohio and its citizens, the reasons for doing so, and the results, are transparent,” Butler said. “It will also ensure that future litigation initiated by the state is in the public’s best interest. I have worked closely with Senator Seitz on this legislation, and I would like to thank him for his leadership on this important issue.”
The bill would prohibit the state from entering into a contingency fee contract with a private attorney without written consent from the Attorney General that confirms that the representation is cost-efficient and that it works for the good of the public. Among the components in the bill is a $50 million cap on contingency fees, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses. Any contingency fees exceeding the $50 million cap would require approval by the state’s Controlling Board.
Additionally, this bill guarantees that the public can view contingency fee contracts between state and private attorneys online at the Attorney General’s website until at least three year’s after they expire. The Attorney General will also be required to submit an annual report to the Senate President and Speaker of the House, which would outline the use of private attorney contracts.
Senate Bill 38 now awaits consideration by the governor.
The Ohio House of Representatives today agreed to the Ohio Senate’s changes to House Bill 47. This bill, sponsored by Representatives Bill Blessing (R-Colerain) and Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati), authorizes the creation of an outdoor refreshment area by the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or township with a population of more than 35,000 people.
Upon approval by a local legislative authority, the Division of Liquor Control would issue the outdoor refreshment area designation to qualified liquor permit holders, located within a defined area as established in the bill not to exceed one half square mile. Within this new designated area only, persons carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages would be exempt from the Open Container Law.
“This bill is really about economic development and bringing more business to different areas around the state,” said Rep. Blessing. “With all of the great things happening across Ohio in the coming years, the 2015 MLB All-Star game and the Republican National Convention in 2016, this bill relieves some of the red tape these cities will go through to create outdoor refreshment areas for these specific events. This bill also gives opportunities to all communities that might want to participate. After two years, municipalities below the population threshold may apply to create an outdoor refreshment area. This will not restrict this tool for economic development to only larger cities.”
The municipal corporations or townships would need to adopt safety requirements for these refreshment areas, including the number of public safety personnel, hours of operation, specific boundaries and a sanitation plan that will help maintain the appearance of public health of the outdoor refreshment area. The local authority may eliminate the outdoor refreshment area at anytime, as well as review the operation of these areas every five years after their creation.
The bill contains an emergency clause, causing the bill to become effective immediately. HB 47 now awaits action by the governor.
State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) today announced that legislation he joint-sponsored aimed at increasing efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars in local governments and state agencies passed through the Ohio House.
Substitute House Bill 5 contains two primary components that focus on using tax money more responsibly and efficiently. First, it gives state agencies and local government offices the ability to request that the Auditor of State conduct a case study between two offices, with the goal of improving efficiency.
In conducting the case studies, the Auditor would be authorized to provide a grant to local governments to cover the cost of the study through the LEAP (Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance) Fund. The Auditor would be required to consult local entities before the study is conducted and, following the conclusion of the study, to hold a public hearing to announce the findings.
“I came to Columbus to promote good and efficient government. House Bill 5 does this by giving local government entities the tools to work together and save taxpayer money,” said Koehler, who joint-sponsored the legislation with Rep. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard). “By sharing existing resources and looking for ways to improve efficiency, our local governments can better serve the community and spend tax dollars more wisely.”
The legislation also authorizes the Auditor’s Office to establish a Shared Equipment Service Agreement Program, such as the ShareOhio Portal, in which state agencies and political subdivisions can enter into agreements to share heavy equipment like tractors, bulldozers, and backhoes. The ShareOhio Portal is an active website and many of these agreements already exist, however the legislation clarifies that, in agreed-upon contracts under the program, the recipient agency or subdivision assumes liability in a civil action for damages.
State Representatives Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today held a press conference on House Bill 85, “Erin’s Law”, which requires each school district, community school and STEM school to include annual age-appropriate instruction in child sexual abuse prevention for students grade K-6, teachers and other professionals. “Erin’s Law” has been passed into law in 20 states.
The bill is named for Erin Merryn, an author and activist who was the victim of continued abuse as a child. She is now nationally recognized as a leader on this issue, promoting sexual abuse prevention education to children. Merryn spoke at the press conference alongside the representatives to promote the bill.
“Erin Merryn has dedicated her life’s work to saving children from the evil that exists by making her mission education about sexual abuse in America,” said Rep. Hagan. “This legislation that we are putting forth helps to achieve one of Erin’s many goals. She has a vision to educate children in hopes of lessening occurrences of sexual abuse, and providing access to counseling and resources when they have been sexually abused. Erin’s Law has now been passed into law to protect and educate children in 20 states. Ohio is just one of the many states pending approval and passage. We are very hopeful that Ohio can accomplish this goal in 2015 to help advance Erin’s vision of educating our youth in all 50 states.”
“Few issues can affect the long-term mental health and success of a student as much as the tragedy of sexual abuse,” said Rep. Ramos. “I believe we have an obligation to our communities and to our state’s citizens to find common ground when working to help these children."
State Representative Terry Boose (R-Norwalk) recently presented a resolution on the House floor honoring Logan Steiber, of Monroeville, on placing first in the 141-pound weight class at the 2015 National Collegiate Athletic Association Wrestling Championship, his fourth national title.
Stieber, a member of the 2015 NCAA Champion Ohio State University wrestling team, finished his collegiate career on a 50-match winning streak.
“Logan Stieber could be the most accomplished athlete from The Ohio State University,” Boose said. “Sometimes athletes like football or basketball players may take the center stage. But I feel that nobody works harder than wrestlers. He has represented Monroeville, Huron County, and the State of Ohio well, and I hope to see him representing the United States in the Olympics next summer.”
Following college, Stieber hopes to join Team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) recently received the Major General Charles Dick Award for Legislative Excellence for his strong support of the Ohio National Guard as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He accepted the award during the ONGA/ONGEA State Conference and Exhibition in Columbus.
Presented by representatives of the Ohio National Guard, the award was given to Speaker Rosenberger in recognition of his steadfast advocacy on behalf of service members and the rights of Ohio National Guard members. He is also a former member of the Ohio Air National Guard.
“It was an extreme honor to accept the Major General Charles Dick Award for Legislative Excellence from the Ohio National Guard Association,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “To be recognized for such an esteemed award is a truly humbling experience and I look forward to continuing to pay tribute to our servicemen and women for their service and dedication to our country.”
Named after Major General Charles Dick, who was a veteran of the Ohio National Guard and a former Ohio Congressman responsible for the Militia Act in 1903, the award recognizes state and/or federal Ohio legislators “who have provided outstanding support to the Ohio National Guard.”
State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) today announced that legislation he sponsored to move back the date of Ohio’s presidential primary election by one week passed the Ohio House today.
Currently, Ohio’s primary elections during presidential years are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. Next year, that falls on March 8. House Bill 153 would change that date to be the second Tuesday after the first Monday in March, next year March 15.
"This straightforward legislation will change by a single week the date on which Ohio conducts its presidential primary," said Dovilla. "This simple change will allow the Buckeye State to send the strongest possible delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland."
Under new rules adopted by the Republican National Committee, states that hold their primaries within the first two weeks of March are subject to proportional allocation of delegates. In order to maintain Ohio’s national prominence during the presidential primary season, H.B. 153 shifts the primary date back only one week, just outside the March 1-14 window.
In addition, the legislation provides one extra week during which board of elections officials in Ohio’s 88 counties can be trained and prepared.
Having passed the House, the bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Amended Substitute House Bill 64, the biennial state budget bill that allocates funding to schools, community projects and government initiatives as well as providing significant tax relief to all Ohioans and small businesses in the state.
As part of Am. Sub. House Bill 64, Ohioans will see a sizable tax cut totaling $1.2 billion over the biennium with a 6.3 percent across-the-board income tax reduction beginning this year, lowering the top rate to just under 5 percent—the lowest it’s been since 1982. The bill prioritizes small businesses by permanently instituting a 75-percent tax deduction for the first $250,000 in income, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs. A commission has also been created in the legislation to discuss further tax reform for the benefit of Ohioans and Ohio businesses.
The House’s budget plan has received support from various business groups and interested parties for its business-friendly tax initiatives. Some of these groups include the Buckeye Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Society of CPAs, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio (NFIB), the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
On the issue of school funding, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 appropriates $950 million in state-aid—increasing the executive proposal by $270 million. The school funding component of the bill ensures that no school will see a decrease in state funding over the next two years. Additionally, the passed legislation allocates funding to make up for dollars lost because of the TPP and KWH reimbursement phase out.
Pertaining to higher education, the budget bill prohibits colleges and universities from charging an overload fee to students for taking more than a certain number of credit hours. Provisions in the bill also require colleges participating in the College Credit Plus Program to offer an associate degree pathway and fund the Workforce Grant Program.
With a focused approach on guaranteeing that Ohioans are able to get the health care they need, the budget proposal develops a plan to assist individuals who need help getting off government aid by implementing cost transparency measures, requiring the Department of Medicaid to seek waivers to allow for savings accounts and requiring a report of clinical care and outcomes of the Medicaid expansion population to be examined by the General Assembly.
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) released the following statement on the passage of Am. Sub. H.B. 64:
“I am pleased with the finalized budget plan that the House passed today. Working with the governor’s initial proposal allowed us to build from his strong and innovative vision for Ohio. Especially in the areas of tax reform, school funding, veterans services and the healthcare industry, Am. Sub. House Bill 64 continues to move Ohio on a glide path toward greater economic success and a better place for our students and families to live.
I applaud Chairman Smith, Vice Chair Schuring and the rest of the Finance Committee and Finance subcommittees for their efforts on this bill. Because of them, the rest of my colleagues in the House and my fellow Ohioans, we were able to pass a bill that is sustainable, fiscally sound and forward-thinking. I am truly proud of this budget and look forward to continuing our work on this legislation with the Senate to ensure that the budget benefits the people of Ohio.”
Chairman of the House Finance Committee Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) released the following statement:
“The House’s budget is the result of careful consideration, thorough discussion and in-depth research. Through the committee process, we have been able to draft and pass a bill that is indicative of the huge strides Ohio has made in recent years as it builds from changes implemented by this chamber, the Senate and the governor’s office during the last two budget cycles. Our goal with Am. Sub. House Bill 64 was to maintain a balanced budget, while offering a comprehensive and holistic approach to tax reform and school funding.
I want to commend Speaker Rosenberger on his leadership during this process and those on the Finance Committee for their work on the bill. I also want to thank all the constituents and interested parties who provided commentary throughout this endeavor and hope to continue hearing their thoughts as the Senate takes on the task of vetting the bill.”
Other provisions in the bill include:
Am. Sub. House Bill 64 will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 53, sponsored by Representative Cheryl Grossman, has been signed into law by Governor Kasich. HB 53 establishes the Transportation and Public Safety budgets in Ohio.
State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) today announced House passage of House Bill 2, legislation he sponsored to strengthen Ohio’s charter school system.
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and the entire House of Representatives today were pleased to present a resolution to President Dr. Michael Drake, Coach Urban Meyer, and the Ohio State University football team, commending their victory in the 2014-15 College Football Playoff National Championship.
In a press conference at the Statehouse this morning, Speaker Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and members of the Ohio House Republican caucus discussed the priorities that will guide the 131st General Assembly.