COLUMBUS—Today, State Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) introduced legislation granting consumer protections for the millions of Ohioans who participate in fantasy sports, as well as providing sensible standards to ensure the industry operates in a transparent and accountable manner.


House Bill 132 was developed and carefully drafted in coordination with Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, stakeholders from the fantasy sports industry and Ohio fantasy sports participants.


“Each day countless Ohioans participate in daily fantasy sports,” Dever said. “House Bill 132 assures that these participants are protected under the law, while increasing the accountability of fantasy sports operators.”


The legislation updates antiquated state laws to make it clear fantasy sports are legal in Ohio and installs important consumer protections. Together, these reforms aim to create a clear set of regulations fantasy sports companies must follow to operate in Ohio. Ten other states have recently passed similar legislation, and dozens of other states are moving in the same direction.


“House Bill 132 seeks to clarify the legality of daily fantasy sports and ensure Ohioans are able to continue enjoying them,” McColley said.


HB 132 defines a “fantasy sports contest” by using the guidelines already defined in federal law (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.), which specifically states fantasy sport are legal contests of skill. This would remove any doubt about the legality of fantasy sports in Ohio. It also installs light-touch consumer protection regulations that all companies operating fantasy sports contest in Ohio must follow, utilizing rules established and enforced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.


Other provisions include:


• Ensuring players are 18 or older
• Requiring all fantasy game operators to be licensed by the state
• Offering introductory on-boarding for new players
• Prohibiting any contest based on a collegiate or high school sport or athletic event
• Restricting employees of fantasy sports contest companies from playing
• Requiring “highly experienced players” to be clearly identified for all users to see
• Disclosing the number of entries a player may submit to each contest and the number of total entries allowed for each contest
• Taking measures to protect the privacy and online security of players and their accounts
• Keeping player funds separate from operating funds, ensuring player money is accessible at all times


The bill now awaits assignment to a House committee, as well as further testimony.

 
 
  

It’s that time of the year again—the application period for the Legislative Service Commission Fellowship is open. The LSC Fellowship is an employment opportunity in Ohio’s capital city for recent college graduates or those interested in pursuing a career in public service. Each year, the legislature welcomes a number of ambitious young professionals to our staff, each willing to work hard and learn more about the legislative process.


Founded in 1963, the Legislative Service Commission Fellowship hires a class of 23-24 applicants for a 13-month paid program intended to provide practical, real-world job experience in the public sector, an opportunity that can often lead to permanent employment. To be eligible for one of the positions, an individual must complete a bachelor’s degree program by the start date of the current fellowship year and compile and submit an application packet. For the 2018 LSC Fellowship, the application deadline is April 1, 2017, by which date application materials must be postmarked.


LSC fellows take on a variety of tasks throughout the program. Whether placed in the Ohio House, Senate, or the Legislative Service Commission itself, fellows attend session and committee meetings and perform an array of other duties. Day-to-day responsibilities can include scheduling meetings for a member, researching policy topics, and writing floor speeches. Fellows not only learn about the inner-workings of the legislature, but they also interact with the executive branch, state agencies, and other state offices while gaining experience ex expand their future career options.


The LSC Fellowship is an extraordinary job opportunity for new college graduates or for those who are looking for a career change and have an interest in state government. I have had the opportunity to work with multiple staff members who first began their career as LSC fellows. The program produces well-rounded individuals with the unique chance to work with multiple facets of government, making fellows prime candidates for future work in the legislature or in other capacities on Capitol Square, from lobbying to working for a state agency. In fact, Governor John Kasich himself was an LSC fellow.


More information about the Legislative Service Commission Fellowship can be found at www.lsc.ohio.gov/fellowship. The 2018 Fellowship begins the first week of December and continues through December of the following year. Again, applications are due by April 1 to be considered for this year’s program. If you or someone you know are interested in applying, please feel free to contact my office with assistance regarding the application process.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Keith Faber (R-Celina) applauded the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) for proposing $1 billion in rebates to the 200,000 Ohio employers paying into their system.


The rebates are a result of a healthy stock market, compounded with prudent fiscal management and a focus on worker safety and wellness.


“This rebate is great for Ohio’s employers and for attracting businesses to come to Ohio,” said Rep. Faber. “Government needs more of the innovation and efficiency that the BWC demonstrated.”


School districts are anticipated to receive $41 million, local governments $91 million, and the remainder will go to private employers.


In order for the proposal to become a reality, it must be approved by the BWC Board of Directors. Approval is anticipated in late April with employers receiving rebate checks, that could reflect roughly two-thirds of the employers’ annual BWC premiums, in early July.


If approved, this would be the third rebate given by the BWC in the past four years, adding to a total of $6.3 billion in savings since the beginning of 2011.


 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 6, legislation that creates the offense of “misuse of criminal record information.”


House Bill 6 prohibits a person who disseminates information regarding criminal records from accepting payment for removing or modifying that information. Under the legislation, violating this prohibition could result in a first-degree misdemeanor. It also allows a victim who suffers a loss or harm from such a violation to be awarded punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, court costs and other legal remedies.


State Representative Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) chairs the House Criminal Justice Committee, which vetted the legislation prior to its passage on the House floor. Following today’s vote, Rep. Manning released the following statement:


“House Bill 6 is a common-sense piece of legislation that keeps people from improperly profiting off of the dissemination of criminal records. What we have found is that this information, such as mug shots, names and addresses, remains online long after the person’s offense has been rectified or even in some cases expunged. In many cases, the person publishing these details agrees to remove it only by charging fees or accepting other payment. This bill puts in place legal safeguards to protect against a victim’s reputation from being unfairly tarnished.”


House Bill 6 now awaits consideration in the Senate.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives voted to send House Bill 11, sponsored by State Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), to Governor Kasich’s desk for final approval before becoming law. This bill seeks to incorporate into Ohio tax law the changes that have been made to federal tax law since February 2016.


In a bipartisan vote last month, the Ohio House approved House Bill 11 and sent it to the Ohio Senate for further deliberation. Before passing the bill, the Senate added an emergency clause to the bill, making it effective immediately. The House vote today was to concur on that change. 


House Bill 11 is a response to the federal government passing various laws altering the Internal Revenue Code, or IRC.  The legislation provides conformity between the Ohio tax code and the federal tax code, which is necessary to allow efficiency in processing Ohioan’s 2016 tax returns.


"As a CPA, I am well aware some of the tax laws can be a bit dull and difficult to understand, however this legislation is necessary so we can ensure Ohioans are able to fully benefit from the new federal laws this tax season," said Scherer. "I am pleased to be able to send this bill to the Governor’s desk for his signature.”


The principal amendments to the federal code that the bill incorporates into Ohio code are the following provisions:


• Gross income exclusion for Olympic and Paralympic prizes for medal winners whose federal adjusted gross income is $1 million or less
• Gross income exclusion of an employee's receipt of payments or reimbursements from a "qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement," which is not itself a federally tax-qualified employer provided group plan but may reimburse up to $4,950 (individual) or $10,000 (family) in expenses for employees having coverage under the Affordable Care Act without the employer incurring a federal excise tax charge
• Extension to file amended returns for combat-related injury or other service-related disability severance payments improperly subjected to tax withholding


Without passing House Bill 11, Ohioans who are able to benefit from the above provisions would have to take additional burdensome steps to take advantage of the exemptions provided for them.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Today, State Representative Steven Arndt (R-Port Clinton) presented a resolution honoring Jared Dusseau on winning the 2016 United Association International Apprenticeship Pipefitter Contest.


Dusseau is a foreman for Warner Mechanical and was educated at the Piping Industry Training Center, where he was named Apprentice of the Year. After succeeding at the state and regional levels, he secured the highest combined overall score to land the championship title on the international front.


“Jared truly is someone that demonstrates what skilled labor can accomplish and provide for our communities, and I am proud that he has helped add another feather to the cap that is the 89th House District,” said Arndt.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation that permits non-profit organizations to operate summer food programs in a school facility. House Bill 80 was joint sponsored by Reps. LaTourette and Smith.


House Bill 80 would permit a school district that opts out of offering summer food services to allow a summer food service program sponsor to utilize its facilities, with the approval of their local district board. The bill seeks to increase access to meal programs for students who are typically eligible for free breakfast or lunch during the school year. Many school districts throughout the state are forced to opt out of this service due to financial restraints.


“Summer nutrition programs serve as a bridge to fill the summer meal gap and increased participation by summer meal sponsors at school sites will help to reduce food insecurity,” said LaTourette. “I am so pleased to see Amended House Bill 80 move forward with this favorable vote on the House floor.”


Under the legislation, school districts would be able to charge an appropriate fee for the use of the facilities and related services. The food service program providers would be required to have insurance and be pre-approved.


“It is unacceptable that over a half million Ohio children go hungry when they are not in school,” said Smith. “By allowing schools to partner with qualified organizations in the summer to provide healthy meals to students in need at no cost to the school district, we can help reduce child hunger in our state.”


House Bill 80 now awaits further consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township) held a press conference yesterday to discuss House Joint Resolution 2, a bill she recently introduced jointly with Representative Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) to apply to the United States Congress for a Convention of the States.


Under Article V of the Constitution of the United States, state legislatures are permitted to call a Convention of the States, a process where states may propose amendments to the Constitution and better define the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. In order for a Convention of States to be called, at least two-thirds of all state legislatures must pass similar applications.


If passed in Ohio, the state would join nine other states that have approved this application.  A Convention of the States would give the people of the United States the opportunity to come together to discuss various amendments, including an amendment that requires the federal government to pass a balanced budget in the face of ever-increasing national debt.


“As a state legislature, we are our nation’s last line of defense against an overreaching federal government,” Rep. Hagan said. “It’s time for us to exercise our Article V power to more closely reflect the will of the people which we were sent to serve and represent.”


“The Constitution of the United States strictly prohibits tyranny against its people from the majority, the minority, and the individual,” Rep. Patmon said. “This joint resolution is an effort to end the tyranny of tax and spend, and the regulation without consideration of those who are governed.”


The press event included Reps. Hagan and Patmon, along with Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) who introduced the resolution in the Senate (S.J.R. 1).


“The United States has racked up a massive $20 trillion debt, and the federal government does not have the capacity to act,” Sen. Huffman said. “It is up to the states to utilize the initiatives enshrined in Article V to correct the dangerous course our government is currently on.”


The press conference also included former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn who has championed this issue around the country and gave proponent testimony for the resolution in the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee yesterday.


“The way to restore our freedom and balance power is through the method our founders gave us, an Article V convention of the states,” Coburn said.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today officially announced a slate of new task forces that will be responsible for addressing specific policy areas in Ohio and potentially making legislative recommendations to House standing committees.


The newly named bipartisan task forces are as follows:


Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Chair: Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville)


Speaker’s Task Force on HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety)
Chair: Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay)


Speaker’s Task Force on Energy Policy
Chair: Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)


Speaker’s Task Force on Education and Poverty
Chair: Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima)


Speaker’s Task Force on BRAC and Military Affairs
Chair: Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek)


“These various task forces will provide us the opportunity to dive deeper into subject matters that affect Ohioans all across the state,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “Each of them will work to find solutions to some of Ohio’s most pressing issues and will collaborate with experts and interested parties to increase our understanding of these topics in order to forge a productive pathway forward.”


Notices and full task force memberships will be released by chairs at a later date. Task forces will begin holding interested party meetings beginning in April or May. 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today announced that the House legislative session schedule for the spring of 2017 has been revised.
 
All dates are subject to change. Unless otherwise noted, House session will be held at the following times:


TUESDAYS 11:00 A.M.                    WEDNESDAYS 1:30 P.M.              THURSDAYS 1:00 P.M.


 

 

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