COLUMBUS—State Representative Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) recently was awarded by Governor Kasich’s Council on People with Disabilities with their Legislator of the Year Award. The award is given to someone nominated by a member of the disabled community for his or her work on issues affecting those with disabilities.


Representative Brenner was nominated for the award by Christine Brown, a constituent of Rep. Brenner. Christine has worked work Rep. Brenner on numerous issues, including working towards making the Ohio College Opportunity Grant more accessible to individuals with disabilities.


“I am truly humbled to have received this award. Individuals affected by disabilities deserve to be treated equally, and I will continue to support and assist the disabled community in any way I can,” said Brenner.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) today met with members of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) to discuss House Bill 281, legislation he is sponsoring that deals with broadband expansion in Ohio. House Bill 281 would effectively combine efforts by government and private enterprise with the goal of expanding broadband connectivity to unserved households across Ohio.


The bill targets the problem of “last-mile” connectivity to residences where it remains too expensive for private broadband providers to extend their services. This would impact both large areas unserved by broadband service, as well as smaller clusters of households within communities that are already served.


By incentivizing cooperative efforts across local, county and state levels to pool resources and reduce last-mile construction costs, the bill encourages these communities to utilize revenues that have been derived from infrastructure and reinvests them back into local infrastructural needs, such as improved broadband access. 


At the meeting with the CCAO, Rep. Carfagna underscored the importance of working with local governments on this initiative.


“Too many Ohioans still lack access to broadband service because of where they reside and this legislation is aimed at providing a mechanism to help expand coverage,” said Carfagna. “Our county governments play a vital role in this legislation and I appreciate the opportunity to present my bill and gain input on ways to strengthen it as the legislative process continues.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Al Landis (R-Dover) this week presented a House resolution to Randy and Koral Clum who were named the 2017 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year. 


Designated by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, the prestigious award was presented to Randy and Koral Clum, who reside in Dover, for their forestry management practices on their Hepatica Falls Tree Farm in Washington Township, Harrison County.


“I was honored to recognize Randy and Koral for this award,” Rep. Landis said. “The Ohio Tree Farm of the Year is a recognition of excellent woodland stewardship. Randy and Koral have far exceeded the qualifications for this award through their immense passion for forestry and their many years of experience. It was my pleasure to bring them to the Statehouse to recognize them for this great accomplishment.”


As recently announced by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Clums are community leaders in the promotion of best conservation practices for protecting Ohio’s vital natural resources. They have managed their tree farm for the past 24 years and are active in the East Central Ohio Forestry Association, the Society of American Foresters and the Ohio Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters.


Rep. Landis presented the resolution to the Clums during House session.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today honored the Northwestern Water and Sewer District Dirty Deeds team with a House resolution for being the 2017 Division I State Operations Challenge Champion.


The Dirty Deeds team competed at the 2017 Ohio Water Environment Association Technical Conference and Expo, where they completed challenges in wastewater treatment operations, maintenance, safety, and laboratory procedures.


“I was so happy that the Dirty Deeds team could come and celebrate their accomplishment on the House Floor,” Gavarone said.  “They spend a lot of time practicing for these competitions and it is good to see that their hard work paid off.”


The team went on to compete nationally at the 2017 Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation granting certain veterans’ organizations an exemption from property taxes.


House Bill 24, sponsored by Rep. Ginter, expands a current tax exemption for property to qualifying 501(c)(4) veterans’ organizations that are exempt from federal income tax. Property that is not used for meetings, administrative needs, or to provide programs or services is excluded from this exemption.


“It was an honor to work with Attorney Fineman and all the veterans of DAV East Liverpool Post #47 on this legislation,” said Ginter. “When they brought the situation to my attention, I knew it was an issue that would affect disabled veterans throughout all of Ohio. House Bill 24 simply brings our qualifying veterans organizations in line with other charitable organizations already exempted from property tax in Ohio and serves to honor the brave service men and women who protect our freedom every day. I am proud to sponsor this bill on behalf of our veterans in Ohio.”


House Bill 24 now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation that designates March 13th though April 15th as “Ohio Deaf History Month.” 


Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), passed through the House State and Local Government Committee, which Rep. Anielski chairs, prior to its unanimous passage on the House Floor. The legislation raises awareness about individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and their proud history and culture.


“The designated month timeframe will allow advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing an opportunity to focus efforts across the state on increasing general awareness, knowledge and inclusion of the deaf community,” said Rep. Anielski.  “March 13th corresponds to the anniversary date of the first deaf president appointed to lead Gaulladet University and April 15th corresponds with the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States, founded in 1817.”


Senate Bill 27 awaits the governor’s signature.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Young Endorses New OJC Benchcard
Legislation Marked the Beginning of Fight for Small Businesses
October 12, 2017
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) announced today that the Ohio Judicial Conference has posted a new benchcard. The subject matter is one that Rep. Young has been working on for several years, cognovit notes.
 
Right now, many financial institutions in Ohio offering private commercial loans add a clause onto their promissory notes that allow them to immediately call for and collect a debt without informing the debtor or giving the debtor any opportunity to defend themselves in court. Due to the unfair nature of these cognovit notes, confessions of judgment are outlawed in Ohio consumer loans, such as for cars or homes. The same problems that led to banning them in consumer loans exist in commercial contracts. In fact, a number of other states have actually banned or limited the application of cognovit notes such as Indiana, where it is a crime for lenders to use cognovit notes in consumer as well as commercial loans.
 
When a borrower signs a cognovit note, they are essentially signing away all of their rights.  The real effect is that nearly every commercial contractor, doctor, dentist, veterinarian and small mom and pop business in Ohio potentially signs away their business, their homes, their checking accounts, and their personal property without notice and without the right to defend themselves even in cases where the lender was at fault.
Representative Young first championed cognovit legislation in June of 2015 after many local business owners from his district laid out their concerns with the predatory practices that some of the local financial institutions had taken during the downturn of the economy in 2008-2010.
The benchcard, which is a guide for courts and was authored by the Ohio Judicial Conference, states “IF YOU DO NOT PAY ON TIME A COURT JUDGMENT MAY BE TAKEN AGAINST YOU WITHOUT YOUR PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND THE POWERS OF A COURT CAN BE USED TO COLLECT FROM YOU REGARDLESS OF ANY CLAIMS YOU MAY HAVE AGAINST THE CREDITOR WHETHER FOR RETURNED GOODS, FAULTY GOODS, FAILURE ON HIS PART TO COMPLY WITH THE AGREEMENT, OR ANY OTHER CAUSE.” Many financial institutions throughout the state were simply ignoring the phrase “If you do not pay on time” and were declaring judgement for reasons beyond a clear reading of the law. The benchcard will help prevent that and will increase uniformity of decision-making across Ohio. 
 
The benchcard declares that six questions must be able to be answered in the affirmative in order to validate a cognovit judgement against a debtor. The major change is that courtrooms across the state will now be advised to only approve a judgment against the debtor where nonpayment has been verified. The questions are as follows:
• Original Note produced and Complaint has copy of note attached as exhibit?
• Complaint includes statement regarding last known address of the defendant either in averment or within
caption?
• At least one maker resides in jurisdiction or Note executed in jurisdiction where Complaint is filed?
• Note includes “warrant of attorney” with statutory language above or below signature?
“Warning — By signing this paper you give up your right to notice and court trial. If
you do not pay on time a court judgment may be taken against you without your prior
knowledge and the powers of a court can be used to collect from you regardless of any
claims you may have against the creditor whether for returned goods, faulty goods,
failure on his part to comply with the agreement, or any other cause.”
• The Note does not arise from a consumer transaction?
• Default consists of nonpayment on note, rather than default of other provision unrelated to payment?
 
“As a result of this action from the OJC, my initial offering in the form of a bill, that would support a literal reading of state law, is now unnecessary,” according to Rep. Young. He continued by saying, “I am grateful to the Ohio Judicial Conference and the Ohio Supreme Court for their work on this issue. It is good to know that small business owners across the state will uniformly be protected and there is a state-wide standard of judicial interpretation of cognovit judgments.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Today, State Representatives Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Anthony DeVitis (R-Green), joint sponsors of House Bill 184, the Ohio Dental Care Optimization Act of 2017, applauded its passage from the Ohio House of Representatives.
 
House Bill 184 expands access to dental care by allowing for state of the art technology and innovative strategies through the use of teledentistry. The bill permits dentists to perform exams and supervise dental hygienists and expanded function dental assistants through the use of technology. Under this proposal, Ohio will be one of the first states to permit dental hygienists and expanded function dental auxillary with appropriate training to provide interim therapeutic restorations and administer Silver Diamine Fluoride to patients, after the dentist conducts a teledentistry exam and diagnoses the need for such restorative materials and procedures. The bill also allows dentists to prescribe non-controlled substances, including antibiotics, via teledentistry.
 
The legislation creates the Primary Care Dental Student Scholarship which falls under the umbrella of the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program. The scholarship is designated for dental students who will practice in designated underserved areas upon graduation, increasing efforts to ensure dentists provide care to Medicaid-eligible and other low-income Ohioans.
 
“Expanding access to medical professionals is vitally important as many Ohioans live in areas where professional care is not available,” Gavarone said. “Embracing the technology we currently have at our disposal and encouraging our medical professionals to live in underserved areas will result in a better and healthier Ohio.”
 
The goal of this bill is to provide dental care to those communities that have limited access," said DeVitis.
 
Barriers are reduced through House Bill 184, for dental hygienists, expanded function dental auxiliary and certified dental assistants, allowing them to provide prevention services and oral health education in school and public health settings, as well as perform additional duties outside the presence of a dentist.
 
House Bill 184 promotes licensure portability by having Ohio accept the results of all of the regional clinical dental licensure exams, enhancing Ohio’s attractiveness to qualified dentists.
 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation to name a portion of highway in Scioto County after legendary singer and actor Roy Rogers.


House Bill 311, which Johnson sponsored, would designate part of State Route 348 between the intersections of State Route 104 and State Route 73 as the “Roy Rogers Happy Trails Highway.”


Born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911 in Cincinnati, Rogers spent much of his early life in Portsmouth and Lucasville. He went on to become one of the most popular Western stars of his generation, appearing in more than a hundred films, as well as several radio and television shows.


“Roy Rogers was a towering figure of both TV and the silver screen,” Johnson said. “He made a lasting and positive impact on American culture and was a hero to generations of youngsters. He was raised in Scioto County, and it certainly seems fitting that we name this road in his honor.”


“Happy Trails” is in reference to a 1952 song by Dale Evans that was the theme song of the 1950s television show starring Rogers and Evans.


House Bill 311 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
 
House Approves Bill Authorizing Tactical Medical Professionals To Carry Firearms
Legislation works to protect Ohio's first responders in dangerous situations
October 11, 2017
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) today applauded the House passage of House Bill 79, legislation they jointly sponsored that allows tactical medical professionals, such as nurses and paramedics on regional SWAT teams, to carry firearms while on duty.


In the event of a life-threatening situation, House Bill 79 allows these public servants to carry firearms in order to protect themselves and others in immediate need or danger. The bill specifies that these first responders must have already received firearms training and are authorized to carry a firearm by the law enforcement agency they are associated with.


“Republicans and democrats agree, with full committee support and overwhelming support on the floor, that House Bill 79 helps in the advancement of extending 2nd amendment rights to tactical medical professionals, TEMS, while on duty in dangerous situations,” Rep. Hagan said. “I am thankful for our first responders and all that they sacrifice for our safety. These men and women are heroes amongst us.” 


Tactical medical professionals are defined as emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses, and doctors who are trained and certified in a nationally recognized tactical medical training program, such as SWAT. Through this legislation, these medical professionals would join law enforcement officers who are approved to carry firearms under current law and would help to clarify the statute for local departments.


“Our nation’s first responders are a very special breed of individuals,” Rep. Retherford said. “We need to ensure that we give them the tools necessary to serve, protect and defend our communities. For EMTs, paramedics and other medical specialists who volunteer to provide their medical knowledge to local police departments Tactical Units or SWAT teams, they need to make sure they have those tools as well. House Bill 79 will ensure them another tool to make sure that when they go into these highly dangerous situations, they can not only defend themselves, but their patients as well.”


House Bill 79 will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
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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.