House Republicans Nominate Ryan Smith As Speaker For 133rd General Assembly
House Majority leadership team selected by Republican Caucus
December 27, 2018

COLUMBUS—Today, a majority of Ohio House Republican members selected their leadership team for the 133rd General Assembly. Current Speaker of the Ohio House, Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), was again selected by his legislative peers to serve as Speaker.

Additionally, State Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) will continue to serve as the Majority Floor Leader, and Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) will continue to serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. The House Republican Whip team will again include Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) as the Majority Whip and Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) as the Assistant Majority Whip.

Speaker Smith released the following statement:

“I’m incredibly proud of the work this caucus has accomplished since I was elected Speaker earlier this year, and I have every confidence that members will continue to work together to make Ohio communities stronger. It is truly humbling to be selected again by my legislative colleagues to serve as Speaker, and it is an honor to lead this caucus going into the 133rd General Assembly. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m ready to hit the ground running on January 7th.”

The official swearing in of new members and leadership positions will occur on Monday, January 7, 2019 during opening day ceremonies in Columbus.


COLUMBUS—Today, the Ohio General Assembly approved legislation that will create a study committee to review the faculty tenure guidelines and requirements at state colleges and universities.

Substitute House Bill 66, sponsored by Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy Township), creates the “Undergraduate Mission Study Committee,” a 15-person panel consisting of six legislators appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President. Each chamber is required to appoint three members, at least one of which being from the minority party. A member from both the House and Senate will act as co-chairpersons.

“I believe that there is a great need for tenure reform in the state. I also recognize that each university has its own set of needs and goals,” Young said. “Teachers and universities must have as their priority the contribution to the undergraduate mission. This may, however, be different for each state university. That is why the study committee was created rather than passing legislation that would automatically apply to all state universities.”

The Speaker and Senate President also will each be responsible for appointing:
• One state university faculty member
• One state university chief academic officer or the equivalent
• One state university student

Finally, the remaining membership consists of:
• The Chancellor of Higher Education or designee
• The President and chief executive officer of the Inter-University Council of Ohio or designee
• The chairperson of the Ohio Faculty Council or designee

The study committee’s tasks will include submitting a report of its findings and recommendations, which will include a review of the faculty composition at each public institution based on employment status. This would include tenured faculty, full-time tenure-track faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty and part-time faculty. Universities will be graded in one of three categories: “exceeds standards,” “meets standards” or “needs improvement.”

The bill includes a provision that requires each public school to attempt to contact parents or guardians two hours after the of the start of the school day, if their student is absent without a legitimate excuse. This concept stemmed from the death of Alianna DeFreeze, a student who was abducted, raped, and killed while on her way to school.

Sub. House Bill 66 now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) honored the Kirtland high school football team as the 2018 Division VI State Champion on the House floor during a session of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Led by Coach Tiger LaVerde, the Hornets finished the year with a 15-0 record, and the team was honored for its fourth state championship on November 20th, defeating Marion Local 13-7 to capture the Division VI title.

“Whether on the football field or in the classroom, Kirtland High School stands for excellence,” said Rep. Young. “I’m proud to represent this extraordinary institution.”

On the House floor with the team were Coach Tiger, Assistant Coach John Lipps and Kirtland high school principal, Scott Amstutz.


Ohio House Passes Legislation Creating Cybersecurity Team
Bill aims to prevent cyberattacks on Ohio infrastructure
November 29, 2018

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that would require the state’s Adjutant General’s Office to establish the Ohio Cyber Reserve. This newly formed security organization would be responsible for maintaining teams of IT professionals to protect citizens, businesses, infrastructure and local governments from cyberattacks.

“House Bill 747 creates an additional tool for protecting Ohioans from cyber terrorists,” said Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), who sponsored the legislation with Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario). “While we hope it’s rarely called into action, the Ohio Cyber Reserve is a necessary addition to our state’s arsenal as we continue to prepare for the realities of an ever-advancing technological world.”

The Ohio Cyber Reserve would be issued active duty orders similar to the Ohio National Guard’s response to a national disaster. The Governor could call upon these teams when local resources are insufficient to counter attacks on critical IT infrastructure. The Ohio Cyber Reserve would include trained and vetted civilian volunteers who are cybersecurity experts and would receive compensation when called to active duty.

“The frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks will only increase in the future,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “The Cyber Reserve will position Ohio to be ready and able to respond to attacks on our critical infrastructure should they occur.”

Adapted from the section of Ohio law pertaining to organizing a militia and informed by previous attempts to address this problem in other states, House Bill 747 takes into account Ohio’s unique needs and capabilities and is broadly written to assist the Adjutant General in preventing cyberattacks. The bill will also help local townships and municipalities facilitate their cybersecurity efforts.

House Bill 747 now awaits further consideration by the Ohio Senate.

Ohio House Passes Legislation That Bans Placing Taxes On Plastic Bags, Other Packaging Items
HB 625 provides clarity, greater freedom for Ohio businesses
November 28, 2018

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 625, legislation that clarifies state law for businesses in regards to their use of packaging containers such as bags, bottles and other food service items.

Specifically, HB 625 prohibits local governments from imposing taxes and fees on the use, sale or consumption of these products, which are known as “auxiliary containers.”

“My priority serving as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives is to put business first and make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the country,” said Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester), who joint-sponsored the legislation with Rep. Scott Lipps (R-Franklin). “Passing House Bill 625 has moved us further in the right direction by decreasing the cost of doing business in our state. Reducing and preventing the tax burden in our state makes Ohio a more attractive destination for businesses looking to relocate or expand.”

If signed into law, Ohio would join several states that have already passed similar legislation, including Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina.

“It was an honor to sponsor this important business legislation with Representative Lang,” Lipps said. “A competitive and business-friendly environment is a WIN for Ohio businesses, jobs and Ohioans.”

The bill is supported by the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Manufacturer’s Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others.

House Bill 625 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

State Effort Supports Military Members, Veterans And Families
Legislation promotes professional license reciprocity
November 28, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) today applauded the Ohio House for passage of legislation they joint sponsored that addresses a top concern for military families when relocating to Ohio.

House Bill 716 requires state occupational licensing agencies to issue temporary licenses or certificates to military members and spouses who are licensed in another state and move to Ohio for active duty. This legislation requires a six year temporary license be automatically granted if the individual holds a license or certificate in good standing in their previous state of residence.

Representatives Butler and Perales both veterans and serving in districts encompassing Wright-Patterson Air Force Base understand the importance of supporting Ohio’s service members, along with their families.

“This legislation addresses the hardships many military spouses face with occupational and professional licensing requirements,” said Rep. Butler. “We owe it to our active service members and their families who already give up so much to serve our country to provide a quick and easy path to practice their desired professions in Ohio.”

“House Bill 716 will keep our warfighters’ spouses with professional licenses employed here in Ohio,” said Rep. Perales. “This is one of the top priorities of the DoD’s family policy office, which will expand our state’s intellectual capacity, as these professionals contribute their talents to Ohio, and will prevent the all too common occurrence of military families becoming separated due to working constraints. Our warfighters and their families have sacrificed so much, and this bill is one small way Ohio can say thank you and make their lives easier when joining our communities.”

Committee testimony outlined the need for this kind of legislation on both a statewide and national level in order to solve a primary issue reported by servicemen and women when they transfer to a new location. In addition to addressing occupational licensing, the bill aims to improve Ohio's competitiveness in attracting new missions for military bases in Ohio.

House Bill 716 passed with bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

"Heartbeat Bill" Passes Ohio House
HB 258 provides some of the nation's strongest protections for the unborn
November 15, 2018

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 258, otherwise known as the “Heartbeat Bill.” If signed into law, the legislation would put in place some of the nation’s strongest protections for the unborn.

The Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio estimates that the legislation could save the lives of 17,000 unborn children in the state.

The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township) and Ron Hood (R-Ashville), generally prohibits someone from performing an abortion once the unborn child’s fetal heartbeat is detected. While specific times can vary, fetal heartbeats in children are usually detected around six weeks.

“I feel extremely optimistic about our ability to extend our protection to unborn children with beating hearts,” Hagan said. “We have a stronger than ever majority behind babies’ beating hearts.”

Exceptions exist in the bill to protect the life and safety of the mother and other emergency situations. Physicians who induce or perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected would be subject to a fifth-degree felony.

“House Bill 258 is the vehicle that is needed to revisit Roe v. Wade,” Hood said. “The House passage of the bill is a critical step in that long-awaited process. I am confident that this bill will protect tens of thousands of innocent lives with detectable heartbeats if it becomes law.”

The bill also creates the Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support, which will be dedicated to promoting adoption, as well as informing expecting mothers and families about available options for adoption.

House Bill 258 now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) today honored the Wheelersburg 11-12 year old girls softball team for winning the Little League World Series. They are the first team from the state of Ohio to achieve this.

All 13 members of the team attend Wheelersburg Middle School and were just one of 24,000 teams to compete in Little League Softball around the world. The team’s record was 16-2 over all of the district, state, regional and World Series tournament games, and they committed only 6 errors. They outscored their opponents by a 125-19 margin, and both Ashlee Spence and AndiJo Howard pitched one no-hitter each.

“My wife, Jennifer, and I watched in amazement as these wonderful representatives of southern Ohio played their sport, on TV, in the most exemplary fashion possible. We are so proud of how these youngsters conducted themselves on the field and afterwards in victory,” said Johnson. “What a great honor it is to be able to say that they live in the 90th district of Ohio.”

The team was recognized on the House floor by Rep. Johnson during session with the presentation of House Resolution 571.

Ohio House Passes Legislation Strengthening Self-Defense Laws
HB 228 helps Ohioans better protect themselves, families against harm
November 14, 2018

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 228, legislation that modifies self-defense laws to better enable Ohioans to defend themselves and their families against harm.

House Bill 228, which passed with bipartisan support, expands the situations in which a person has no duty to retreat to any place that an individual is lawfully permitted to be. Current law, commonly understood as the “Castle Doctrine,” limits these protections only to a person’s house and vehicle. Expanding this provision would bring Ohio in accordance with 38 other states with similar laws.

"The updated duty-to-retreat and self-defense provisions contained in this legislation will help ensure that law-abiding citizens are able to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland), who sponsored the legislation with Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott). “I'm pleased that the bill passed the House by such a large, bipartisan margin, and I look forward to working with the Senate to make sure House Bill 228 is signed into law before the end of the year.”

HB 228 shifts the burden of proof for claiming self-defense from the defendant to the prosecution. That is, in cases where individuals act in self-defense, they are assured that they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Ohio is the only state that requires the defendant to prove he or she was acting in self-defense.

The bill includes an affirmative defense for law-abiding citizens to sue if they happen to commit a firearm violation unknowingly. One example would include a spouse

The bill includes an affirmative defense for law-abiding citizens to sue if they happen to commit a firearm violation unknowingly, such as a spouse driving a car where a CHL holder left their firearm.

In discussing the bill, Rep. Johnson emphasized protecting the right for individuals who need access to affordable subsidized housing to defend themselves.

“The Second Amendment of the US Constitution applies to all of us regardless of race, religion, creed, or political outlook,” Johnson said. “In the very words of the amendment, it states clearly that it is not to be infringed yet that has happened thousands and thousands of times across our great nation. Why do we need legislation like House Bill 228? Very simply, to do what we can to restore your second amendment rights to the greatest extent possible.”

The legislation enhances certain penalties for engaging in unlawful transactions. For example, an individual who is caught purchasing a firearm for someone who is restricted from having one (often known as “straw purchases”) will be subject to a third-degree felony and can face up to 36 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) has been named Legislator of the Year by the Ohio Association of County Boards (OAACB) of Developmental Disabilities. OACB names recipients each year for several different awards. The Legislator of the Year award is given to an elected or appointed official who, having been nominated by the Board of Trustees, has exhibited high accomplishments in legislative leadership for people with developmental disabilities.

“It is an honor to be given this award from the Ohio Association of County Boards (OAACB) of Developmental Disabilities,” said Scherer. “I am pleased to support our county boards and their employees. The work they do is so critically important to enriching the lives of people living with developmental disabilities and their families.”

Rep. Scherer sponsored House Bill 572 alongside Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), bipartisan legislation allowing county developmental disabilities board employees who perform full-time services in a school to be eligible for a full year of service with the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) if they are employed throughout the academic year, which is only nine months.

While these employees have been granted a full year of credit previously, it was determined that this was not a practice that was explicitly allowed in Ohio law. Rep. Scherer introduced the legislation with Rep. Howse in order to rectify the reversal of a 30-year policy.

Rep. Scherer is in his third term in the Ohio House, and he serves on the Finance Committee and as Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

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Representative Hambley Appointed To Co-Chair Of Newly Created Economic Development Committee

Columbus - 

State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) this week was appointed by Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to serve as Co-Chair of the Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee.


Local Legislators Announce State Effort To Support Military Members, Veterans, And Their Families

Columbus - 

State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) held a press conference today to highlight legislation that supports military members, veterans, and their families in Ohio.  


Legislation Increasing Collection Of Opioid-Related Data Clears Ohio House


COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced House passage of the Opioid Data and Communication Expansion Act, legislation she sponsored to increase data collection related to the opioid crisis. The bill was approved among several others after the House returned to work this week upon the election of a new Speaker.


Ohio House Approves Payday Lending Reform Legislation


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed bipartisan legislation that reforms the state’s payday lending industry and is aimed at lowering interest rates on loans and helping borrowers avoid endless debt cycles.