Representative Carfagna Tours BCI Headquarters
Tour highlights efforts to combat drug epidemic
May 22, 2017
 
 
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) today toured Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) facility in London to learn more about its investigative work on the state level and how those efforts are making a difference in the fight against the opioid epidemic.


As the state’s official crime lab, BCI facilitates expert investigative services and works with the criminal justice community to protect Ohioans. During the tour, Rep. Carfagna met with Superintendent Tom Stickrath as well as staff from the attorney general’s office to hear more about the services offered at this location, including BCI on-site identification services and on-site laboratory services.


“I’m grateful to both Superintendent Stickrath and Attorney General DeWine’s staff for the personal tour of BCI this morning,” said Rep. Carfagna.  “Our state’s crime lab is making enormous strides in combatting Ohio’s drug epidemic, and I’m extremely impressed by the technology, innovative techniques, and tireless staff dedication being utilized by BCI to solve crimes and bring justice to victims and their families.”


Rep. Carfagna continues to support legislation that aims to combat the state’s dangerous drug epidemic, which is impacting communities all over Ohio. The tour highlighted how the attorney general’s office is working through BCI to coordinate with local law enforcement officials on curtailing illicit drug activity.


“I am pleased that Rep. Carfagna toured our BCI headquarters today,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Our staff at BCI, including agents, analysts, and chemists, work hard every day to help local law enforcement fight the opiate epidemic.”


 

 
 
  

It’s an exciting time for both high school and college graduates as they prepare to begin a new chapter of their lives. Amidst the seasonal weather, plentiful grad party barbeques, and the final days of school, graduates are afforded a very special period of reflection and celebration. I wanted to take a moment to sincerely congratulate all those who are graduating this year.


Graduates, I encourage you to think back on your years in high school or college. Graduation in itself is a wonderful accomplishment, but up until this point you have most certainly achieved many things worthy of praise. You have studied hard, read new books, broadened your perspectives, explored interests, experienced failure and success—and come out on the other side regardless.


Along with your achievements, consider all the individuals who have helped you get to where you are today. Parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, coaches, or friends may come to mind. They have added color and depth, meaning and beauty to your experience, and they deserve a word of heartfelt thanks for their support and guidance. When you stand up to receive your diploma, it is your entire support system that is being recognized and honored.


No matter what your plans are after graduating, know that you are indeed capable of whatever you put your mind to. Success is often preceded by failure, and sometimes, many failures. It is about getting up again and keeping your eye on the goal, because persistence always pays off. Remember that asking questions and requesting help is a sign of strength, not of weakness, and that the process of discovering career passions does not happen overnight. Above all, stay true to yourself and your beliefs.


As the summer begins and the next stage commences for Ohio’s graduates, I want to commend you for all your hard work, dedication, and perseverance. These traits will serve you well as you continue on the path of your individual journey. Embrace the excitement of this memorable time, knowing that there is much to reflect on and celebrate. Congratulations once again, and I wish you the best as you move onward and forward!

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation that would increase penalties against an offender who feloniously assaults or murders a first responder or member of the military with targeted intent.


House Bill 38, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan, expands the offense of aggravated murder to include purposely causing the death of a first responder or military member when the offender had specific intent to commit the crime against one of these individuals. Under the legislation, a first responder is defined as a firefighter or emergency medical service provider. Additionally, the definition of a military member includes a member of the United States Armed Forces, reserves, the Ohio National Guard, or a participant in ROTC.


The bill also increases the penalty for a targeted felonious assault against a first responder or military member from a second degree felony to a first degree felony, requiring a mandatory prison term of three to eleven years if the victim suffered serious physical harm.


“There have been repeated incidences of disturbing attacks on those who have dedicated their lives to protect and serve our communities and our nation,” said Representative Greenspan. “This bill sends a strong message of support to those brave men and women who see us at our worst or in our greatest times of need and to those who protect and defend our freedoms and liberties.”


Also known as the “Public Safety and Military Protection Act,” House Bill 38 comes in response to a recent upsurge in specifically directed attacks on police officers and other officials, including the murders of a Danville police officer and a Kirkersville Police Chief in Ohio. Passed during National Police Week, the bill retains current law with regard to enhanced protections related to law enforcement and peace officers, but expands those definitions to include those who previously served in such a capacity.


House Bill 38, a part of the Buckeye Pathway policy platform, now awaits further consideration in the Ohio Senate.


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Ohio House Stiffens Penalties for Assault or Murder of First Responders, Military Members

 
 
  
 
Ohio House Passes The "Epinephrine Accessibility Act"
House Bill 101 allows low-cost alternatives to costly EpiPen
May 10, 2017
 
 
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House today passed House Bill 101, sponsored by State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township),  which seeks to make epinephrine auto-injectors more affordable and accessible for Ohioans who rely on the medication to treat a life-threatening allergic reaction.


“This bill will ensure patients receive epinephrine at the best available price and increase access to a life-saving medication,” said Merrin.


A subject of recent scrutiny in the national media, the price for the life-saving device commonly known as an EpiPen has skyrocketed, with a nearly 500 percent increase over the years, bringing the retail price to its current rate of approximately $600. EpiPen, produced by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, controls about 90 percent of the epinephrine auto-injector market.


House Bill 101 allows pharmacists to substitute a brand-name epinephrine auto-injector for an equivalent auto-injector. For example, if a physician prescribes an EpiPen, a pharmacist could substitute a less expensive alternative, with the patient’s consent, potentially saving the patient as much as $500. Currently, branded auto-injectors are unable to be substituted with other similar auto-injectors.


“This legislation is a free-market solution to the exorbitant cost of epinephrine auto-injectors. By easing access and government restrictions, consumers will have a better opportunity to obtain epinephrine auto-injectors at a lower cost,” Merrin stated.


For Ohioans at risk of anaphylactic shock, epinephrine delivered by an auto-injector is a medical necessity oftentimes preventing a fatal outcome. Given that there are multiple epinephrine auto-injectors on the market and more in the pipeline, consumers should not be pigeon-holed into a specific option. Under this bill, consumers will have increased ability to work with pharmacists to secure the best epinephrine auto-injector at a competitive price, rather than being forced to purchase the most expensive product on the market.


“House Bill 101 is an attempt to ease the pocketbook pressures of thousands of Ohioans caught in a web of an outdated system that insulates some pharmaceutical manufacturers from necessary market competition,” said Antonio Ciaccia, Director of Government & Public Affairs for the Ohio Pharmacists Association. “It slashes the regulatory red tape that resulted in a broken distribution model, and gives patients and pharmacists better control of their health care.”


House Bill 101 was passed with broad bipartisan support and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


Additionally, the House voted to approve House Bill 118 today, also sponsored by Representative Merrin. This legislation will work to protect property owners seeking to challenge their property value for tax purposes. Under the legislation, a County Board of Revision will be unable to dismiss an owner’s complaint simply because the name on the complaint does not match the name exactly as it is listed on the property deed.


According to Merrin, “property owners that challenge their property values should not have their complaints dismissed based on hyper-technical errors. The bill makes the law clear, ensures fairness, and will reduce the number of property tax appeals and lawsuits. Property owners must be treated fairly when challenging their values.”


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It is no secret that continually advancing technology is changing the way we live our everyday lives. As a state representative, I think it is important that government seek ways to use technology and other resources to help make the lives of Ohioans easier.


One way in which this is already being utilized is through the website, OhioMeansJobs.com. In case you are unfamiliar with the site, it offers up-to-date listings of job postings across the state, both for those looking for a job and for business owners looking to hire. The site is simple to use and allows individuals to post resumes or job qualifications. It also is broken down into categories based on a person’s needs or interests, including for veterans or people with disabilities.


Besides just being a host for job listings, OhioMeansJobs.com has helpful resources for young people looking for future educational opportunities. For example, clicking on the “K-12” link opens up a number of options, including opportunities for scholarships and career readiness advice that help students identify potential professional interests. Simply typing in a few key words or job titles opens up a massive field of information that can be helpful when looking at avenues for higher education and future employment.


As we often hear, we are living in the “information age,” a time when pretty much every piece of knowledge or information can be accessed with the click of the finger. But while this can no doubt be helpful, in many ways it can also be intimidating. That is why I believe OhioMeansJobs.com is such a valuable tool for individuals who are looking for employment and educational opportunities.


Of course, it is in the best interest of our entire state to have people working. My goal as the representative of the 68th House District is to support initiatives that will lead to more job growth. There are plenty of job openings available, but, as many small business owners will tell you, it can be difficult to fill those jobs if people are not aware of them. For young people, the same can be true for things like scholarships and career readiness programs.


For beginners, OhioMeansJobs.com even provides guided online tours so that no one misses any of the helpful resources contained in the website. I encourage everyone to take a look at OhioMeansJobs.com, and as always do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) recently was selected to participate in the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.


“I was honored to have been selected to participate in this program,” Gavarone said. “Having the opportunity to meet and communicate with legislators from around the country is beneficial because it will help me address the needs of Wood County and shed light on how other states respond to similar challenges.”


Gavarone will be among 50 legislators from 46 states to attend the program, which runs from July 10-13. The Emerging Leaders Program is a collaboration between the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. It is funded by grants from Advance America, Altria Client Services, Comcast, Entertainment Software Association and Walmart.


The Emerging Leaders Program is held every year on the campus of the University of Virginia. Since 2005, more than 500 legislators have participated in the challenging classroom discussions and other coursework that make up the program.


Gavarone is serving her first term in the Ohio House, after being appointed in August of last year. She serves all of Wood County.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) applauded Springmill STEM Elementary School for its recent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) designation, effective next school year. Springmill is part of the Mansfield City School District and the first in Richland County to receive this designation.


“Many of the job openings going unfilled in Richland County are STEM related,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “Having a STEM school in our backyard will be beneficial to our business community and for individuals looking for high-paying careers.”



STEM schools equip students to succeed by means of a curriculum centered around rigorous inquiry, design, innovation, and teamwork. Advanced science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are integrated, as are the arts and humanities. Partnerships with businesses and institutions of higher education provide a wider scope of opportunity and learning.


As approved by Ohio’s STEM Committee, Springmill joined 11 other schools throughout Ohio to obtain STEM designation this year. In total, there are 42 schools in the state with this recognition.

 
 
  
 
Ohio House Passes Balanced Budget Plan
Fiscally sound budget bill prioritizes drug epidemic, schools
May 02, 2017
 
 
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 49, the state operating budget. The bill addresses some of Ohio’s most pressing issues, including more than $170 million in funding towards combating Ohio’s opioid epidemic and providing additional resources to schools.


In response to lower than expected revenue estimates, the House restrained spending and facilitated sound fiscal policies by staying under the rate of inflation for the first time in several years and spending about $2.5 billion less than the executive proposal over the biennium.


“The budget plan approved today is not only balanced, but it appropriates funding to the areas that matter most to Ohioans, such as the opioid epidemic and funding for our schools,” Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said. “I am very proud of the work achieved by Chairman Ryan Smith, Vice Chair Scott Ryan and all of our members for working together to face some of these challenges head-on and being responsive to the needs of the citizens we serve. I look forward to working with the Senate and Governor on ensuring we pass a balanced, responsible budget for our state.”


“This budget demonstrates that even under tight fiscal times the Ohio House is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and funding our schools,” said Finance Chairman Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). “More than $170 million will be invested holistically to provide treatment and support to addicts, their children and the communities in which they reside. School funding has been increased to maximize opportunities for our students and to develop Ohio’s workforce.”


To underscore the importance of combating the state’s deadly opioid epidemic, the House appropriated funds totaling $170.6 million in new money to invest in prevention, treatment, mental health care, and workforce programs through the HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda. Resources will be directed as follows:



  • $80 million toward treatment (transitional housing, nursing beds pilot program, ADAMHS boards, expanding treatment/detox programs and drug courts)

  • $50 million toward supporting children (Child Protective Services and kinship care)

  • $19.4 million toward mental health (stabilization centers, residential state supplement, BCI processing lab reports, telemedicine coverage and mental health court pilot program)

  • $12.2 million toward prevention (community coalition funding, investing in innovation & technology, accessible educational resources and Start Talking!)

  • $9 million toward workforce (Short-term certificates and SNAP workforce & training funding)


Enhancing opportunities for all Ohioans is a central component of the state operating budget through additional school funding, ensuring that students have the resources to learn and grow. House Bill 49 increases per-pupil funding compared to the executive budget proposal, as well as by more than $90 million over the biennium.


On the topic of higher education, the bill promotes tuition guarantee programs in order to provide more cost consistency to students while also requiring colleges to study textbook expenses in order to ultimately reduce the cost of obtaining a college degree.


Through a series of provisions, the budget strengthens accountability in the state’s Medicaid program by placing guardrails on future Medicaid Group VIII spending through the Controlling Board. The bill also returns Medicaid oversight to the General Assembly by directing the Department of Medicaid to seek a federal waiver to require a Group VIII Medicaid recipient to be one of the following: over 55, medically fragile, employed, in an education or workforce training program, or in a recovery program.


Additional provisions in the budget include:


Simplifying the tax code



  • Reduces from nine to seven the number of tax brackets in Ohio

  • Removes tax changes from the executive budget proposal, including on sales, severance, tobacco and vapor, and commercial activity taxes


Modernizing the CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Value) formula



  • Proposes using an equity rate that judges farm economy based on information disseminated from the US Department of Agriculture. This new formula will, in turn, change the capitalization rate, lower property values and give farmers more dispensation upon a true value of agricultural use, while having minimal impact on Ohio’s schools and local governments.


Addressing Ohio’s rising prison population



  • Expands options for local communities to divert some low-level offenders from the crowded state prison system through a Targeted Community Alternative to Prison (TCAP) program


Ensuring children receive the care and attention they deserve



  • Restores the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH) and funds the program at $3 million per year


Directing additional resources to the local level



  • Increases funding for Indigent Defense by $7.1 million in FY’18 and $7.9 million in FY’19


The House’s budget proposal will now go to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


 


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Click here to view press release

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative and Chair of the House State and Local Government Committee Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) today announced that the Ohio House passed House Bill 94, legislation that would make February “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.”


Dating violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature, and often cases go unreported. According to sponsor testimony, teen dating violence is common among high school students who dated, 21% of females and 10% of males experience some form of partner violence.


“Violence between intimate partners is not a problem that is limited solely to people of one age group,” said Rep. Anielski. “It is often difficult for abused partners in any relationship to seek help for themselves or their loved ones. The awareness month will serve to bring awareness to the general population that violence does take place in teen relationships, that there are others across the state who have suffered, and that there are resources available for all victims.”


House Bill 94 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.


 


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Rep. Hill Announces Proposal To Reform CAUV
House budget plan includes changes to CAUV formula calculation
April 26, 2017
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) announced that the Ohio House plans to update the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) formula used to calculate the property taxes of farmland in Ohio.


Under Substitute House Bill 49, the main operating budget for the state, changes to the CAUV would be made in order to help alleviate the property tax burden that has left many farm owners struggling to pay their taxes.


“I’m happy that my colleagues in the House have heard and responded to the needs of Ohio’s farmers. Over the past couple years, I have spent much of my time working to address this issue and find a solution for farmers across the state,” Hill said. “I am pleased to see the House take a step toward fixing this issue for the agricultural community.”


The CAUV appraisal takes into consideration a number a factors, including soil productivity, crop yield, capitalization rate, non-land production and more. The productivity of each soil type is determined in three-year cycles.


As proposed, the legislation requires the CAUV formula to use a capitalization rate according to numbers published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the average rate of return for farm equity over 25 years. This means that the calculation of a farm’s property tax will be based on more consistent numbers and will be less susceptible to drastic changes.


Although the new plan would be gradually phased in over six years, beginning in 2017 the first three-year soil valuation cycle for each county will calculate the value under the old and new formulas, and will reduce the difference between those two values by half to find the new valuation. This calculation will provide tax relief more urgently.


Additionally, any land set aside for conservation purposes will be valued at the lowest possible soil value and a ceiling will be placed on the taxable value of that land.


“By using the numbers provided by the USDA averaging over 25 years, farmers will begin to see a much steadier value on their property tax bill,” stated Hill. “While it will take several years for the new plan to be fully in effect, the new three-year cycle calculation will stop the values from continuing on their upward trajectory.”


When it was first introduced in the 1970’s, the goal of the CAUV was to reduce property taxes to help farmers afford their land so they did not feel pressure to sell to commercial developers. However, as the valuations factored into the formula have fluctuated over the years, many farmers have seen their tax rate more than double.


The CAUV proposal, as contained in the substitute bill, awaits full House approval before going to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


In response to the next steps for the legislation, Hill said, “My hope is that my colleagues in the Senate and Governor Kasich will agree that it is time to reform CAUV and support Ohio's farmers.”

 
 
  
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Rep. Ryan Smith Announced As Chair Of House Finance Committee

 
COLUMBUS - 

Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today announced that State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) will continue to serve as Chairman of the House Finance Committee for the 132nd General Assembly, after previously serving as chair in the 131st General Assembly.



 
 

Governor Kasich Signs Legislation Providing Workers' Compensation Eligibility For Firefighters At Risk For Cancer

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) today applauded Governor Kasich’s signing of Senate Bill 27, legislation that creates presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation for firefighters diagnosed with cancer. Rep. Patton sponsored the legislation during the 131st General Assembly as a member of the Ohio Senate.



 
 

Rep. Dever Announces Start Of Round Two Of The Application Process For Local Government Safety Capital Grants

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) today announced that the Local Government Innovation Council will begin accepting applications for the second round of the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program. Initiated by the Ohio House of Representatives and included in the state operating budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, these grants can help to fund public safety projects in local communities throughout Ohio, including those in the 28th House District.



 
 

Milestone Reached To Bring Grocer To Vinton County

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today announced that preliminary terms between the Finance Fund and Campbell’s Market have been agreed upon to bring a grocery store to Vinton County.