COLUMBUS—State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) today introduced legislation aimed at keeping renters safe in the event of a fire. The bill requires a separate means of egress for all dwelling areas above the second story of a residential rental property.
Currently, rental homes that have more than two stories are not required to have any secondary means of egress. Additionally, it is common for landlords, specifically for off-campus housing near colleges, to renovate an attic or top floor into a bedroom, despite the staircase being the only safe means of egress.
“This is an issue that is particularly important to me, especially since I dealt with a similar situation in 2000 when I was Executive Director of Facilities at the University of Dayton,” Rep. Perales said. “I want to make sure that we are taking every appropriate measure to ensure the safety of our students and renters in this type of housing. Parents sending their children off to college expect as much, it's our responsibility and the right thing to do.”
The need for legislative action became evident after two University of Cincinnati students, Ellen Garner and Chad Kohls, were trapped in a third story attic bedroom when a fire started on the second floor. The only safe exit from the room was an internal staircase, which quickly became engulfed in smoke. The 36-foot jump from the third story window onto the cement pavement was not a viable escape route. Ellen and Chad were trapped and decided to try to escape through the smoke-filled stairwell. Ellen and Chad passed out from smoke inhalation before the fire department could rescue them, and the two later passed away at a nearby hospital.
The bill would require adoption of rules in the state fire code requiring a simple secondary means of egress. Anything from a rope ladder, to a permanent fixed exterior egress would qualify as a “secondary means of egress” and could save lives.
State Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) also introduced similar legislation today in the Ohio Senate. Both pieces of legislation now await committee assignments.
COLUMBUS—State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) yesterday held a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse to discuss efforts to address and prevent youth suicide, the “Silent Epidemic.” She was joined with Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; Navy Commander Lou Terhar, State Representative of the 30th District; Debe Terhar, President of the Ohio State Board of Education; Michael Hoffman, Ohio Representative for the Jason Flatt Foundation; and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Representative Anielski was successful in passing House Bill 543, the "Jason Flatt Act, in honor of Joseph Anielski" which mandates public school personnel to complete training to recognize the signs of those who may be at risk of harming themselves. House Bill 149, which designates every September 10th as "Ohio Suicide Prevention Day" was sponsored by Representative Anielski as well. Both unanimous bills became law last year.
In an effort to build upon past legislation, Representatives Anielski and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) are joint-sponsoring House Bill 609. The proposed legislation mandates each public institution of higher education to have a suicide prevention program consisting of five criteria. The Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will have FREE materials posted on their respective websites, which will qualify for each criteria.
“It is my intention to bring awareness to the 'Silent Epidemic' that is affecting our most precious gifts, our children,” said Rep. Anielski. “For many students, college is the first time they have been away from their family, friends, and childhood home. This new life stage can be stressful and unsettling. Students need to know all the programs and help that are available to them and their friends should they ever find themselves struggling.”
“Of the 34,000 people who commit suicide every year, 20 percent or 6,500 are veterans,” said Representative Terhar. “There is a critical need for raising awareness and support. Representative Anielski’s commitment to do so is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met. As Chairman of the House Veterans Caucus, I can say we all stand firmly behind her efforts.”
“According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in Ohio between the ages of 15 and 24,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “It is critically important that we offer resources to Ohio students on this difficult topic to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of those who may be considering suicide in order to help save lives.”
In its 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Report for Ohio, the Center for Disease Control reported that one in seven Ohio students said they had “seriously considered suicide” in the past 12 months. Slightly more than one in seven had actually “made a plan to commit suicide” in that time. Additionally, one in 11 Ohio students reported “attempting suicide one or more times in the past 12 months,” nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.
COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) today released the following statement regarding the Lake Erie algae issue and the steps that are being taken in the Ohio House:
“Given the recent events in Toledo, it has become even more evident that we must thoughtfully continue to work toward a solution to the water quality and algae conditions impacting Lake Erie. Based on his steadfast leadership and diverse knowledge on agricultural and environmental issues, I have tasked Chairman Dave Hall with studying this issue further through the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. His guidance on recent water quality legislation, natural resources policy, and his continued work on the Mid-Biennium Review agriculture and environment component, allows him to be ideal for leading the research and discussion that is necessary to resolve this complicated issue. I’m certain that the members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will thoughtfully build upon the efforts underway and continue working with the Administration, House members and Senate members in proactively reviewing this matter further.”
COLUMBUS—State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) today announced the members serving on this summer’s Law Enforcement Perspectives on the Drug Epidemic & Its Impact on Families Study Committee. Representative members on the committee are as follows:
Dorothy Pelanda (Chair)
Jim Buchy (Vice Chair)
Rep. Pelanda also announced that the committee will hold four hearings across the state. Each committee hearing will be focused on a specific theme and will feature testimony from state agencies, law enforcement experts and the public.
Community Impact, Scope of Epidemic from a Law Enforcement Perspective
Tuesday, August 19th
Wilmington City Hall – Municipal Building
Drug Epidemic from an Employment and Academic Perspective
Wednesday, August 27th
Ohio State University - Marion Campus
Coordination of Law Enforcement Services
Wednesday, September 3rd
Kent State University – Stark Campus
North Canton, Ohio
Sentencing Issues and Alternatives to Incarceration from a Judicial Perspective
Tuesday, September 9th
University of Cincinnati
The committee will focus on the needs and experiences of law enforcement officials in relation to the opiate problem in Ohio. Topics will include community impact and scope of the problem, prevention, coordination of local law enforcement, and treatment and recovery.
COLUMBUS—State Representative Nan Baker (R-Westlake) yesterday held a press conference in Cleveland at the OhioMeansJobs office for Cleveland-Cuyahoga County to raise awareness regarding job opportunities for jobseekers, in various industries, and the many resources that are available to them, including OhioMeansJobs.
Speakers included Grace A. Kilbane, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board and of OhioMeansJobs Cleveland/Cuyahoga County; Tom Waltermire, Chief Executive Officer of Team Neo; Judith Crocker, Director of Workforce & Talent Development of MAGNET; Vince Adamus, Vice President of Business & Real Estate Development for the Greater Cleveland Partnership; and William Gary, new Executive Vice President of the Workforce & Economic Development Department at Tri-C. Representatives Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) and Mike Dovilla (R-Berea), along with Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan (District 1), were also in attendance.
Rep. Baker, along with fellow speakers, discussed the OhioMeansJobs website in detail, outlining its various functions. They also spoke about the importance of continuing to involve the business community in the improvement of job search resources and keeping the discussion regarding employment opportunities for Ohio citizens a priority.
“It was exciting to raise awareness of all the job resources available to those that are wanting to explore their career options, find a job or improve their skills to further their employment opportunities,” Rep. Baker said. “Our message was clear: within a 20 mile radius of Cleveland, over 29,000 jobs are waiting to be filled. If you want a job, the OhioMeansJobs website, the OhioMeansJobs office along with our Cleveland professional team ranging from manufacturing to workforce training, will turn that want into a reality. As I continue to say, 'It's All About Jobs!’ “
Rep. Baker has sponsored several pieces of legislation on the topic of employment in Ohio including House Bill 486, which is the workforce development component of the Mid-Biennium Review, House Bill 107, the Career Exploration Internship bill that brings high school students and business together, and also House Bill 393, which includes the branding of OhioMeansJobs on existing school publications and offers more information to high school students regarding career planning, job opportunities and online education resources available to them.
My job as a state representative is to listen to and serve the constituents of the 23rd House District by studying and enacting legislation that better serves these constituents and the rest of Ohio. Recently, the state legislature passed House Bill 483 as part of the Mid-Biennial Review (MBR), a package of bills that strives to initiate reforms to state spending, agency operations, and state policies and programs. This bill allows me to do my job to my greatest ability as it ensures more money in the pockets of Ohioans and stronger local services.
Two perspectives I firmly believe make Ohio a better place are lower taxes and more support for the issues that matter most to Ohioans, such as education resources, investments in local governments, and services for the poor and vulnerable. House Bill 483 accomplishes all of these goals, thus making Ohio a better place for families and businesses to thrive. A total of $400 million in tax relief for tax year 2014 was authorized when Governor Kasich signed the legislation in June. Both small businesses and individuals will benefit immensely from such tax changes.
In addition to cutting taxes, the legislation also appropriates money to the services that Ohioans care about most. Some appropriations include:
In addition to the MBR, another initiative recently deployed was Start Talking, Governor Kasich’s program to educate kids and teenagers about substance abuse and addiction and to prevent the opiate epidemic in Ohio from spreading further. This program, combined with the $47.5 million in comprehensive funding for Mental Health and Addiction services, represents a strong effort by your state government to help those who struggle with addiction and prevent further addiction from happening.
These policies are the solution to keeping Ohio on the right path towards a healthy, prosperous, and successful state. I fully support the work done by the legislature this spring and look forward to seeing the positive results from such enactments.
COLUMBUS—Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) today at a press conference announced that they have introduced a new placeholder bill that will fully repeal common core standards in Ohio and replace them with proven, high standards and assessments, ensure confidentiality of student data and return control to Ohioans.
House Bill 597 will continue the work that has already been done in the context of House Bill 237 and House Bill 487 with the goal of restoring to teachers and classrooms clear sets of proven guidelines and standards.
"I am happy to work with Rep. Huffman to move this bill through the House,” Rep. Thompson said. “Ohio's students deserve high standards that are proven to work, and the peace of mind that their privacy will be protected throughout the course of their education."
“Americans view common core as an intrusion by the federal government into a very personal matter: the education of their children,” Rep. Huffman said.“This bill will work to address their concerns in order to find a solution.”
Rep. Huffman indicated that House Bill 597 would be heard in Rules Committee with hearings expected to begin the second or third week of August.
COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder today applauded State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) for being awarded the Phillips Medal of Public Service from Ohio University this past Saturday.
This prestigious award works to annually recognize men and women in the healthcare, education and public service sector who demonstrate exemplary achievement in their specific field. Rep. Johnson was chosen because of his diverse background in medicine including working as a family practice physician and a clinical professor in family medicine at Ohio University. He was also commissioned into the Ohio Army National Guard, serving as senior flight surgeon, and ending his military career as the Guard’s State Surgeon. He later served as Scioto County Coroner before being elected as state representative for the 90th Ohio House District.
Rep. Johnson has championed several pieces of legislation that work to curtail the prescription drug problem in the state including House Bill 93, known as the “Anti-Pill Mill Bill,” House Bill 296, which allows for the stocking of “epi-pens” at schools, and House Bill 170, which expands the use of naloxone hydrochloride.
At the ceremony where Dr. Johnson was awarded, his colleagues said, “he was the epitome of a public servant, a trusted and empathetic care giver, a decorated military veteran, a valued educator to our students and a legislator who has sponsored groundbreaking health related laws for our state.”
“Representative Johnson has made a profound difference within this caucus as a leader and experienced medical professional,” Speaker Batchelder said. “We are blessed to have him in the House as he works to serve his constituents and assist his fellow colleagues. Specifically in the area of opioids and prescription drugs, his wide breadth of knowledge is unmatched and I’d like to congratulate him on this outstanding award.”
COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) today hosted a ceremony to dedicate a room in the Ohio Statehouse as the Robert E. Netzley Conference Room.
Representative Netzley was the longest serving member of the Ohio House of Representatives with 40 years of service to Miami County and the citizens of Ohio. A United States Navy veteran of World War II, he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a Japanese suicide pilot. For his service, Netzley was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame as well as the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
“It was an honor and privilege to dedicate the Robert E. Netzley conference room today,” said Speaker Batchelder. “Representative Netzley was not only the longest serving member of the House of Representatives and dear friend, but he was also a legislator with high integrity who had a breadth of knowledge on state government issues. His contributions to bettering Ohio are numerous, and this room serves as a small token of gratitude to this great man.”
The room, located in the crypt of the Statehouse and formerly known as Room 004, will be utilized for meetings, presentations, and press conferences. Additionally, a small workroom is attached for staff use.
With the Fourth of July approaching, we are in the midst of preparing for parades, cookouts and fireworks with our friends and family to celebrate our country’s declaration of independence from the British crown in 1776. This action was a bold move 238 years ago, and it showed the rest of the world what the average citizen was willing to do with self-determination. The following seven years were a difficult struggle for freedom where almost 25,000 patriots gave their lives so this country could remain free.
This spirit of sacrifice remains strong in our country to this day. Ohio has the sixth largest veteran population in the United States. Currently there are an estimated 900,000 veterans living in the state of Ohio. Of that number, almost 650,000 have served in or in support of a theater of combat. As Americans, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to these men and women who left their homes and their families to serve this country. We should not, however, simply leave our expressions of gratitude at a passing, “thank you for your service.” As a member of the General Assembly, I have sponsored and supported legislation to help our veterans with their housing, education and employment.
Recently, Governor Kasich signed into law House Bill 85, which I drafted with Representative Lou Terhar of Cincinnati, to help our disabled veterans stay in their homes longer by reducing their property tax burden. This bill increases the homestead tax exemption for 100 percent of disabled veterans from the standard $25,000 deduction, to $50,000, and the idea was brought to me by the VFW and American Legion in Gahanna. This change corrects a long standing short coming of the state by finally offering property tax relief to America’s most severely disabled veterans and is a simple way to honor their service.
Currently, Ohio law allows veterans and their dependents to receive in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, regardless of their home of record. This simple law incentivizes the veteran population to come to Ohio’s institutions of higher education and lets them get more out of the GI Bill and other veteran education benefits. Unfortunately, this law does not extend the same preferences to veterans during the application process.
Last year, a veteran who grew up in Westerville, but was stationed in Colorado, called me and told me he was waitlisted at one of Ohio’s public universities because they had too many out-of-state applicants. Eventually, because of the bureaucracy, he was not accepted and decided not to return to Ohio. While this may have been an isolated incident, I wanted to make sure this did not happen to any veteran ever again, and I drafted House Bill 449 to exempt veterans and their dependents from any residency based restrictions or quotas when applying to Ohio’s public colleges and universities. Last month, this bill passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives and is expected to pass the Senate by the end of the year.
Our military’s professional and technical education is among some of the best in the world. These men and women work in their field for years in some of the harshest and most austere conditions imaginable and come back to Ohio with these skills looking for work. Unfortunately, some of the state’s professional licensing agencies would not accept their military training and would make them go back to school if they wanted to get their license. Along with Representative Wes Retherford of Hamilton, OH, I sought to require Ohio’s licensing agencies to consider a veteran’s military education when they applied for a trade license. Last November, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 98 in to law to correct this issue and veterans can now use their military experience to apply for state licenses.
These are a few examples of how my friends and colleagues in the General Assembly have honored the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans with the resources available to us. However, legislation is not the only way to help these men and women who gave so much for us. This year, consider working with veteran service organizations like the USO assembling care packages to service members stationed overseas. Attend a steak fry at your local VFW post or American Legion hall and listen to the stories the veterans have to tell. Volunteer at the Veteran’s Administration entering data or escorting veterans with mobility issues. With America’s wars winding to a close, it is time to move past a simple “thank you for your service” and move towards Lincoln’s promise “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and his widow and his orphan.”
State Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) is pleased to announce that The Ohio State University Marching Band will be in attendance of the Ohio House session on Wednesday, May 7th. Rep. Grossman will be honoring the band with a resolution recognizing its contributions to the state of Ohio.
State Representatives Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Margaret Conditt (R-Liberty Twp.) today announced that they have introduced legislation that will increase the penalties for those who knowingly sell illegal substances to pregnant women.
State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation requiring every county to have the full spectrum of opioid addiction recovery treatment and recovery housing. Rep. Sprague was the chair of the House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Committee, which traveled around Ohio last summer learning about and studying drug abuse and addiction.
State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today applauded the passage of House Bill 394 by the Ohio House. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Smith, gives pharmacists and pharmacy interns the authority to provide immunizations outside of a pediatrician.