COLUMBUS—In response to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s appeal filed today regarding the recent Golden Week case ruling, Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) released the following statement:


“I’m fully supportive of Secretary Husted and his efforts to appeal the recent court ruling regarding the elimination of Golden Week. It is the General Assembly’s responsibility to create and approve election law in this state and the most recent court decision is another example of a federal judge stepping out of bounds to stall a bill that was passed by Ohio’s legislature through an open and transparent process.


“A bipartisan group of election officials recommended the elimination of  Golden Week to the General Assembly years ago and I was proud to support that legislation. Even without Golden Week, we are still a state that provides one of the most open and accessible voting systems in the country, including 28 days of early voting, and I stand with Secretary Husted in his efforts to appeal this foolish decision by a federal judge.”

 
 
  

State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) announced that the Ohio House concurred yesterday on Senate amendments to House Bill 164, legislation that strengthens Ohio’s Conviction Record Sealing Law. Rep. Pelanda was a joint sponsor of the bill.


House Bill 164 alters the Conviction Record Sealing Law to allow a person who is convicted of an offense to apply to have the conviction sealed if the penalty for the offense has been changed so that convictions for that offense can now be sealed since the date of conviction.


By making this change, the law coincides with other recent actions taken by the General Assembly to make the state’s justice system more rehabilitative. Oftentimes, the sealing of a record can provide assistance with employment and can allow those who may not have previously been eligible for such opportunities, because of their records, to be fairly considered.


“I am pleased to see this important legislation that makes needed and sensible changes to Ohio’s record sealing laws move to the Governor for his signature,” Rep. Pelanda said.


The Senate added language specifying that inspector general reports are not sealable unless the individual was found not-guilty.


The bipartisan legislation now heads to the Governor for further review.

 
 
  

State Representative Terry Boose (R-Norwalk) today applauded the passage of House Bill 451, legislation stating than an individual cannot make life support decisions for their spouse if they are going through a divorce or if the individual is subject to a protection order and the patient is the victim.


“It’s my hope that this bill is never needed, but in the event that it is I know it will help the individual’s quality of life and hopefully save lives,” said Rep. Boose.


House Bill 451 clarifies who is able to make life support decisions of a patient by deciding whether or not to withhold life-sustaining treatment. Under this bill, spouses of the patient may not make any life support decisions if they are undergoing a divorce, annulment, or separation proceeding with the victim. Likewise, if the patient was a victim to the individual and has a protection order against the individual that individual also may not make the life support decision.


House Bill 451 passed with bipartisan support and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today applauded the passage of legislation that would rename the Columbus airport in honor of legendary Ohioan John Glenn.


Senate Bill 159, among other provisions, changes the name of the Port Columbus International Airport to the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.


“I believe it is only fitting to rename the Port Columbus International Airport after John Glenn for his countless contributions to space exploration and to Ohio's rich aviation history,” said Speaker Rosenberger. “There is no doubt that he is an American hero, and I am honored that we are taking steps to further secure his legacy here in our great state.”


John Glenn was born in 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio, attending Muskingum College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. Glenn served during World War II and the Korean War after graduating from the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1942 and being commissioned in the Marine Corps.


He became a national hero after being the first American to orbit the earth on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission in February of 1962. After resigning from NASA in 1964 and retiring from the Marine Corps in 1965, Glenn began a career in politics. He served as a United States Senator representing Ohio from 1974 until 1999. Glenn is also known as the oldest person to go into space when in 1998, at age 77, he participated in a mission by NASA.


Senate Bill 159 will now return to the Ohio Senate for concurrence on the amendments made by the House.

 
 
  

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 85, also known as “Erin’s Law,” which provides a pathway for schools to educate students in grades K-12 about the dangers of sexual abuse and about sexual violence prevention in an age-appropriate manner. The bill was sponsored by State Representatives Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain).


With the goal of educating children in order to lessen occurrences of sexual abuse, House Bill 85 requires that each local school district include age-appropriate instruction in child sexual abuse prevention in the district’s or school’s health curriculum for students in grades kindergarten through twelfth. Districts, community schools and STEM schools would have the freedom to elect what kind of instruction would be taught in their respective institution.


“I am honored to be joined by 84 of my peers in ensuring that our children are educated about resources and how to find help when suffering the terrible crime of being sexually abused,” Rep. Hagan said. “I am thankful for the leadership of Erin Merryn, a survivor and advocate for our children on a national landscape. The sad reality is that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in this nation by the age of 18. With these tools of prevention we can change the tide on the harmful ramifications of such trauma and invest in the well-being of our youngest Ohioans.”


The bill is named for Erin Merryn, an author and activist who was the victim of continued abuse as a child. She is now nationally recognized as a leader on this issue, promoting sexual abuse prevention education to children. “Erin’s Law” has been passed into law in 27 other states.


The bill passed with bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
 
Ohio House Passes Legislation To Make Refilling Prescriptions Easier
HB 285 extends pharmacists' ability to refill prescriptions
May 24, 2016
 
 

Today House Bill 285, which allows pharmacists to dispense additional refills to patients, unanimously passed the Ohio House. State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) sponsored this bill in an effort to cut costs for pharmacies, patients, and healthcare providers.


Under this legislation, pharmacists will be allowed to dispense up to a 90-day supply of additional refills for a patient who has been prescribed a certain medication with multiple 30-day refills. With prescription drug costs on the rise, especially as an increased number of individuals are diagnosed with chronic conditions, House Bill 285 gives patients additional refill options for maintenance medications.


This legislation gives pharmacies the same abilities as a mail-order pharmacy, which is already able to provide a customer with an extended supply of prescription refills.


“Dispensing up to 90 days of refills can result in improved health outcomes and medication adherence,” said Sprague. “This bill can put retail pharmacy practices in line with what mail-order pharmacies are already dispensing.”


This legislation excludes controlled substances from qualifying for the 90-day refill supply, and also allows a prescriber to make a note on the prescription preventing the patient from obtaining an extended supply.


Currently, there are barriers that prevent Ohio’s retail pharmacies from filling prescriptions for extended periods of time. Pharmacists are prevented from using their professional judgement to dispense a 30-day prescription and additional refills at the same time.


According to committee testimony, extending a pharmacists’ ability to dispense additional refills has demonstrated a clear trend in cost savings. According to a study published in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, providing a patient with refills up to 90 days increases that patient’s likelihood to continue taking the medication without interruption.


Not adhering to a prescription regimen is a major contributor to higher healthcare costs, according to witness testimony on HB 285. This inconsistency in routine accounts for approximately $290 billion annually in increased healthcare cost, and leads to higher hospitalization and mortality rates.


The Ohio Senate will now consider this legislation for further review.

 
 
  

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill jointly sponsored by State Representative Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) that increases penalties for strangulation in domestic violence situations.


House Bill 362 expands the offense of domestic violence to include strangulation and makes the first violation of this offense a third degree felony, while requiring a mandatory prison term. The legislation is in response to domestic violence incidents involving strangulation, which is strongly linked to an increased risk of homicide in future domestic violence cases.


“By changing strangulation from a misdemeanor to a felony, we are creating a cooling off period between a first incident and the possibility of a second,” Kunze said. “This cooling off period would allow victims to seek legal or medical assistance that could provide valuable resources to leave a potentially dangerous relationship. I am happy to see Ohio become the 39th state to pass this kind of legislation.”


Rep. Kunze worked with domestic violence advocates, prosecutors and representatives from the martial arts community to carefully define what constitutes strangulation in the bill. As a result, House Bill 362 states that no person shall knowingly impede another
person’s normal breathing or circulation by applying pressure to that person’s throat or neck.


During committee testimony, Amy Webber and Nicole Miller shared the story of their sister, Monica, who was a victim of strangling by her husband. Her husband only served 11 days in jail on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Nine months later, Monica
was stabbed multiple times and died the following month.


The legislation joins other efforts by the Ohio House to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence through various reforms in Ohio law. This includes House Bill 359, which establishes an Address Confidentiality Program for domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Ohio. 


HB 362 passed the Ohio House with unanimous support and now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
 
Bill Allowing Parents To Freeze Child's Credit Passes Legislature
HB 317 protects Ohio minors from identity theft
May 24, 2016
 
 

House Bill 317, which is aimed at protecting minors from being victims of identity theft, is now headed to Governor Kasich’s desk for approval. Sponsored by State Representative Ron Maag (R–Lebanon), this legislation allows credit reporting agencies to create a credit record for the minor and then apply a freeze to that record.


After passing the Ohio House unanimously in February, the Ohio Senate voted to amend the legislation to include language that prohibits certain personal information from being included in public records. This personal information includes state tax identification numbers, debit card numbers, bank account numbers and any other financial or medical account numbers.
 
"This is an important issue to address in the state of Ohio, and I have worked closely on this legislation with Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Consumer Protection Section Identity Theft Unit, which helps victims recover from the effects of identity theft,” Maag stated. “I am grateful to have Attorney General DeWine’s support on this bill and I look forward to continue working with him to protect Ohio’s children from identity theft.”


Currently, Ohio law allows individuals to freeze their own credit when they have reason to believe their personal data has been compromised, however they are not able to do that on behalf of a child who does not have existing credit.


Maag was made aware of this issue when his constituents told him how their 11-year-old daughter’s identity was stolen after their family’s personal data was compromised. The parents were able to freeze their own credit to prevent the identity theft, but they were not able to do the same for their daughter.


Given their young age, children can be easy targets for theft because they are a blank slate for credit and the fraud can go undetected for years. Many credit reporting agencies offer identity monitoring services, however these programs are not able to prevent the identity theft, but rather alert the individual as a reactionary remedy. Under HB 317, parents will be able to take preventative measures to protect their child’s identity.


According to the 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report, 1 in 40 households with minor children had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity criminals. Since the release of this report, 21 states have passed similar laws to HB 317 to protect consumers.


This bill now awaits approval by Governor Kasich before becoming law.

 
 
  

The Ohio House today concurred on changes made by the Ohio Senate to legislation aimed at increasing efficiency and saving taxpayer dollars in local governments and state agencies.


Substitute House Bill 5, sponsored by Representatives Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield), contains two primary components that focus on using tax money more responsibly and efficiently. First, it gives state agencies and local government offices the ability to request that the Auditor of State conduct a feasibility study between two or more offices, with the goal of sharing resources and improving efficiency.


“By sharing existing resources and looking for ways to improve efficiency, our local governments can better serve the community and spend tax dollars more wisely,” said Rep. Kunze.


In conducting the feasibility studies, the Auditor would be authorized to provide a grant to local governments to cover the cost of the study through the LEAP (Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance) Fund. The Auditor would be required to provide written notification to each agency before the study is conducted and, following the conclusion of the study, to hold a public hearing to announce the findings.


"House Bill 5 is exactly the reason I came to Columbus.  Getting local governments to work together by sharing duplicated efforts and resources will save tax dollars and allow for more efficient government,” said Rep. Koehler. “I appreciate the unanimous support from both the House and the Senate in passing House Bill 5 and sending it on to the Governor for his signature."


The legislation also authorizes the Auditor’s Office to establish a Shared Equipment Service Agreement Program, such as ShareOhio, in which state agencies and political subdivisions can enter into agreements to share heavy equipment like tractors, bulldozers, and backhoes. The bill specifies that that under shared service agreements, the recipient agency or borrower may assume liability.


Substitute House Bill 5 now awaits the Governor’s consideration.

 
 
  
 
Bill Updating Probate And Estate Laws Passes Ohio House
Bill increases efficiency in wealth, property transfers
May 18, 2016
 
 

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that makes incremental updates to various provisions of Ohio’s probate and estate statutes. Developed in close consultation with the Ohio State Bar Association, the bill contains updates on twelve subjects in state law aimed at ensuring that wealth and property can be transferred from generation to generation efficiently and expediently.


Probate and estate laws exist to ensure the orderly transfer of property from an existing owner, either during the owner’s life or after the owner’s death, to beneficiaries who are chosen by the owner or established by law. The practices and formalities of accomplishing this are always a work in progress, and HB 432 addresses new developments in the way these transfers are carried out.


“As new and better ways are developed to make these transfers, the probate and estate laws must be fine-tuned to keep pace with these practices,” said Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima), who sponsored the bill with Rep. Jeff Rezabek (R-Clayton).


Generally, the bill seeks to revise the law governing decedent's estates by making changes in the Ohio Trust Code, the Probate Law, the Uniform Principal and Income Act, the Transfers to Minors Act, and the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act.


“House Bill 432 would bring clarity, efficiency, and needed updates to provisions of Ohio’s probate code relating to estates, trusts, powers of appointment, and transfers to minors,” said Rep. Rezabek.


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

 
 
  
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Ohio House Passes Legislation Encouraging Workforce Development In The Automotive Field

 
COLUMBUS - 

State Representatives Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation they jointly sponsored that would allow automotive technicians and motor vehicle technicians at retail stores the ability to join the Incumbent Workforce Voucher Program. 



 
 

Reps. Kunze, Stinziano Introduce Bill Strengthening Penalties For Strangulation In Domestic Violence Situations

 
COLUMBUS - 

In a press conference at the Statehouse today, State Representatives Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) explained their recently introduced legislation to increase penalties for strangulation in domestic violence situations.



 
 

Ohio House Healthcare Efficiencies Study Committee Meets In Cleveland

 
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House Healthcare Efficiencies Study Committee today held a hearing today at the MetroHealth main campus in Cleveland, focusing on the topics of Medicaid and aging.



 
 

Ohio House Community And Family Advancement Committee Holds Summer Hearing In East Liverpool

 
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House Community and Family Advancement Committee held a hearing on the Kent State University East Liverpool campus yesterday, listening to testimony on how to help lift Ohioans up and out of poverty.