State Rep. Scherer Honors Fayette County Dragons Special Olympics Team
Basketball team presented with resolution at Ohio Statehouse
May 23, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) this week presented a resolution honoring the Fayette County Dragons Special Olympics basketball team to the team members, coaches, and staff. Rep. Scherer presented the resolution at the Ohio Statehouse in honor of the team’s win of the Special Olympics Division II tournament, and did so alongside State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) who presented a Senate resolution to the team.

The team was awarded the state title with a 59-38 win against the Darke County Dawgs on March 24 in Dover. The win was the first state title win for the program since its inception seven years ago,

Fayette County Dragons head coach, Brandon Runk, commented:

“It is a great honor, it really is, not even just for them but for me too. These guys put in a lot of work and deserve everything they get. On the first day of my first practice ever, I walked in and they said, ‘We want to win a state title.’ It has been the goal since day one and it is amazing to be able to bring them to the Ohio Statehouse and treat them to this kind of day. Some of these guys wouldn’t get to come here normally; I haven’t been here before, so just to get this resolution and to have a day about these guys is pretty awesome.”

Tim Stewart, Community First Coordinator and Special Olympics Coordinator for the Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said:

“It is a great feeling, because for most of these guys this is the first time they have been to a place like this. You can just tell from their expressions that this is something really awesome and really something they will never forget. It is just an honor to be here with them and to be invited to come up here. It is something I never thought we would do, and it is pretty cool to actually bring them up here and show them off a little bit. They deserve it. A big thanks goes to Representative Gary Scherer and Senator Bob Peterson. I just think it is awesome they reached out to us and invited us to come and experience something like this.”

Rep. Scherer and Sen. Peterson presented the resolutions to the team on May 23, 2018 at the Statehouse.

The team's visit was featured in The Record Herald. For more information and to view the article please click here



COLUMBUS—The Ohio House Education and Career Readiness Committee today passed legislation aimed at increasing opportunities for Ohio’s youth to become more educated and better informed about financial literacy.

Jointly sponsored by State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township), House Bill 108 requires the Chancellor of Higher Education to prepare an “informed student document” for state colleges and universities to provide to students. The document would include information on academics, cost of attendance, student success rates and admission data.

“I am honored to have bipartisan support on a bill designed to reduce debt burdens and enhance students’ financial well-being across all walks of life,” Rep. Hagan said. “This legislation is beneficial to every Ohioan and will give us a stronger future where Ohioans are better prepared to make life-altering financial decisions both in their homes and for our economy.”

The bill also takes further steps in educating students about their finances by requiring high schools to provide one-half unit of instruction in financial literacy and economics. This allows students to have more tools to navigate financial decisions and to learn more about credit, debt and investments.

House Bill 108 will now be considered for a vote by the full House.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Candice Keller (R-Middletown) testified before the House Federalism & Interstate Relations Committee on House Concurrent Resolution 26, a measure she is sponsoring that names Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

Rep. Keller is joint-sponsoring the resolution with Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina), and made the following statement:

“Testifying on behalf of HCR 26 is truly an honor. History, I believe, will look back upon what we are doing today. With HCR 26 we are stating that we should celebrate the existence of America’s number one ally in the Middle East and a strong economic partner of Ohio—Israel. We are stating that Israel has one undivided capital—Jerusalem. We are stating that the sentiment of Ohioans is in support of the new embassy in Jerusalem, which just happened yesterday on Israel’s 70th anniversary. While attacked from the moment of its inception, we want the country and the world to know Israel lives on!”

As stated in the resolution, Ohio is Israel’s 28th largest trading partner and holds more Israeli bonds than any other governmental entity in the world. HCR 26 follows on the footsteps of a federal measure (U.S. Senate Resolution 167), which also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Yesterday marked the first committee hearing for HCR 26.

Reps. Rezabek, Keller Provide Support For Tax Credit Legislation
Bill creates income tax credits for volunteer emergency personnel
May 16, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Jeffery Rezabek (R-Clayton) and Candice Keller (R-Middletown) provided sponsor testimony in the House Ways and Means Committee for House Bill 575, legislation they jointly sponsored. House Bill 575 seeks to provide financial relief for volunteer firefighters and certain volunteer emergency personnel, and to incentivize Ohioans to continue to offer volunteer services to their communities.

House Bill 575 grants income tax credits for anyone who is a volunteer firefighter, first responder or emergency medical service technician. Among other eligibility requirements, a volunteer must have participated in at least 25 percent of all emergency response runs conducted by his or her department.

There are nearly 1,200 fire departments in Ohio, of which 70 percent are considered volunteer departments. Volunteer staff risk life and limb with no compensation and in the past four years, the number of those serving as volunteers has decreased by approximately 2,000.

“House Bill 575 supports the volunteers we rely on most in times of emergency. I’m honored to be joint-sponsoring legislation that will aid these individuals and help incentivize others to participate,” said Rep. Rezabek. “Several constituents of mine are affected by this bill in a positive way, and I am proud to be able to help carry this legislation.”

“This bill is by no means the end but the beginning of backing the firefighting community in the state of Ohio,” said Rep. Keller. “These men and women provide a vital community service by protecting lives and property with little to no compensation. I hope to see a speedy passage of this bill so these everyday heroes can receive the support they so desperately need.”

The income tax credits will have three tiers, each with a focus on length of volunteer participation:

• Between one and five years of service - $500/year

• Between six and ten years of service - $1,000/year

• At least 11 years of service - $2,000/year

House Bill 575 awaits further consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee.


COLUMBUS – State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) was among the crowd of dozens of people who witnessed the enshrinement of the 2017 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame inductees. Among the class of 2017, is Gulf War veteran, Holly Koester. Captain Koester, a retiree from the United States Army, has dedicated her life to pushing the boundaries of service and sport for disabled veterans.

After an injury during the Gulf War left her paralyzed below the waist, Captain Koester pushed herself to continue her loves of competition and sports. Captain Koester has completed a marathon in a wheelchair in all fifty states, the first person to ever do so, male or female. She is also an accomplished athlete at the National Veteran Wheelchair Games where she took home seven gold medals in 2016.

“I am very humbled to be included in the company of such distinguished, dedicated and giving men and women,” said Captain Koester. “It was exciting to reunite with my fellow classmates and talk and visit with them and their families at the Enshrinement Ceremony. I cannot thank Representative Marlene Anielski, enough for taking time out of her busy schedule to share the ringing and unveiling of the plaque with my name on it along with my other classmates.”

“I am so happy for my friend and hero, Army Captain Holly Koester,” said Rep. Anielski. “She is a shining image of what it means to overcome adversity and I am pleased that the she was bestowed the honor of being inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. Freedom has never been free, so please always thank a veteran for their service.”

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to recognize the accomplishments of veterans who served in the military honorably and have since continued to serve their communities. The Veterans Hall of Fame plaques are located on the second floor of the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts.



COLUMBUS—State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) has introduced legislation that provides long-overdue structure reform for the compensating and providing of financial security to Ohioans who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty. The bill changes certain details regarding death benefits for families of deceased Ohio public safety officers. While under current law death benefits are only distributed until the first eligible date of retirement (which is at 25 years of service or 48 years of age), under Rep. Hughes’ bill death benefits will be provided through to a full retirement (which is at 33 years of service or 70 years of age).

Once full retirement is reached, current law reduces death benefits to 50 percent; this legislation brings that amount to 75 percent, supporting the financial wellbeing of the deceased officer’s family. The bill also makes family members eligible for the same healthcare as State of Ohio employees.

“House Bill 621 honors those officers who paid the ultimate price by helping to ensure that their families are financially secure,” said Rep. Hughes. “While the debt we owe fallen officers can never be repaid, passing this legislation is the least we can do as a state to recognize their sacrifice.”

Having just been introduced, the bill awaits assignment to a House committee, where it will receive further consideration.



COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that Governor John Kasich has officially signed House Bill 115, a bill that establishes a voluntary program to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities.

Under the legislation, jointly sponsored by Rep. Gavarone and Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), individuals may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement only through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS.

“This is a huge step forward for law enforcement and people with communication disabilities,” Gavarone said. “Obviously, the impact of this bill is enormous, but I had such a great time working on it with my constituent, Jenny Hughes, and I was so happy that she was able to make it down to Columbus to celebrate this memorable day.”

Ultimately, the legislation aims to be a positive, beneficial resource for the law enforcement community and people who suffer from communication disabilities such as autism, a hearing impairment and PTSD. By notifying officers that the driver may have difficulty speaking before they approach the vehicle, it allows them to put into action their training for how to best serve disabled individuals.

The bill allows Ohioans over the age of 18 to enroll in the system, as well as minors who are enrolled by their parents or guardians. The database would also be a private, no-labels system to which only offices have access, providing privacy to those who choose to enroll.

The House concurred on Senate amendments to the bill on April 11th, and it will be effective 90 days from signature. House Bill 115 is a Buckeye Pathway bill aimed at strengthening Ohio families and communities.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today announced that the governor has signed into law House Bill 354, a bill that Reineke sponsored to enhance efficiency in the way Seneca County courts address low-level drug offenses.

The new law establishes a pilot program that consolidates certain drug court proceedings for the Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court and the Seneca County Court of Common Pleas, both of which are now located in the same building, the new Seneca County Joint Justice Center. Because Seneca County is predominantly rural, both courts see the same defendants and deal with the same issues, regardless of jurisdiction.

The legislation applies only in situations when 1) the court finds that the offender’s addiction to a drug of abuse was the primary factor leading to the offender’s commission of the offense charged, and 2) the offender is admitted to participate in the “Participating in Victory of Transition” (PIVOT) drug recovery program.

“I appreciate the efforts of Judge Shuff, Judge Kelbley, and Judge Repp in developing an important, collaborative, and innovative approach for Seneca County to combat the opioid crisis,” Reineke said. “The pilot program, PIVOT, between the Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court and the Seneca County Court of Common Pleas is an admirable example of accountable and responsive service to the citizens of Seneca County.”

House Bill 354 only consolidates the jurisdiction of the two courts in cases of low-level drug offenses. The legislation does not provide concurrent jurisdiction in nearly any other criminal actions or proceedings.

The pilot program will operate for five years, at which time the General Assembly can choose to extend the program, make it permanent, or let it expire.

Guest Column From State Rep. Laura Lanese
State Allocates Funds to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Franklin County Gets Boost for Local Projects in Capital Budget
May 02, 2018

If we want our state to develop and prosper—a goal I think all Ohioans can agree upon—we must invest in the fundamentals to provide a strong foundation upon which to grow. That’s why the legislature passes a state capital budget every other year, a bill that provides funding for roads, bridges, schools, parks, and other necessary public services.

This year, House Bill 529 invests $2.62 billion statewide, with millions going to Franklin County for local projects. Of the statewide funds, $600 million will go to school construction and renovation, $483 million to Ohio’s public universities and $514 million to roadways, bridges, and sewer systems.

Across the United States, drug abuse and addiction are costing many their lives. In Ohio, our workforce is being affected, and there’s an increase in children needing homes. House Bill 529 allocates $222 million to health and human services, including funds to combat the opioid epidemic. This funding is an investment in our economy and our families.

In our area, I advocated for funding for a number of community projects that need help to complete their work. I’m happy to announce some of the projects that will receive funds through the capital budget now that the Governor has signed the legislation into law. Gantz Park in Grove City is getting $300,000 to replace playground equipment and make other improvements.

The Prairie Township community sports complex will receive $500,000 to add a turf field, giving children with disabilities greater access to the programs the center offers. These projects are just a sampling of the many local initiatives that I, along with my House colleagues, have been able to champion in the capital budget. The completion of these plans, among others, will improve the quality of life for many families living in central Ohio.

These community projects are important to fund and represent a crucial partnership between local leaders and the state. These funds are intended to generate a strong return on investment, spurring economic growth in the region and across the state. Not only that, but individuals and families will reap the benefit of these projects for years to come.


BROADVIEW HEIGHTS—State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) hosted a Military Resource Fair at the Broadview Heights Community Center for the benefit of local veterans. The fair consisted of nearly fifty sponsor, vendors and representatives of organizations that provided assistance, employment, information, and services to veterans and their families.

“I wanted to thank each and every sponsor and vendor who volunteered to come out on a Friday morning and help about 500 local military personnel and their families. I would also like to thank all the military attendees and those currently serving for their dedication and sacrifice to preserving and defending our country,” said Rep. Anielski. “Our goal in organizing the event was to connect these brave men and women to benefits, organizations and services that seek to serve them and repay them for their personal sacrifices.”

Rep. Anielski’s 14th Military Resource Fair saw vendors and sponsors that offered FREE massages, Cuyahoga County issued Veteran’s ID Cards, breakfast, lunch, haircuts, and health screenings. The next Military Resource Fair will be on Friday, September 14th at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Library System.

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Ohio House Concurs On Bill Helping Police Better Communicate With Disabled Ohioans


COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that the Ohio House concurred on House Bill 115, a bill that establishes a voluntary program to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities.


Bill To Expand High-Speed Internet To Rural, Unserved Areas Clears Ohio House


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas across the state.


Rep. Schaffer Announces Permanent Ohio Sales Tax Holiday


COLUMBUS—State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, today applauded the passage of Substitute Senate Bill 226, legislation sponsored by State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville). Sub. S.B. 226 creates an annual sales tax-exemption holiday over a three-day period in the month of August. The tax holiday applies to clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.


Ohio House Approves Legislation Supporting Community Improvement Projects


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed the capital budget bill, legislation that invests $2.62 billion statewide for community improvement projects and contains funding for needed improvements to public services and facilities across the state, including schools, roads and bridges, waterways and parks. The bill also increases investments in mental health and addiction services facilities.