Rep. Schaffer Announces Permanent Ohio Sales Tax Holiday
Substitute Senate Bill 226 creates three-day sales and use tax exemption period
March 22, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, today applauded the passage of Substitute Senate Bill 226, legislation sponsored by State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville). Sub. S.B. 226 creates an annual sales tax-exemption holiday over a three-day period in the month of August. The tax holiday applies to clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.

The General Assembly has passed bills approving one-time tax holidays in August each year since 2015. Sub. S.B. 226 makes that three-day period a permanent occurrence, and additionally authorizes educational service centers (ESCs) to levy a property tax in order to fund school safety, security and mental health services. This will occur through a county school financing district, which is a taxing unit designed to levy taxes for the benefit of ESC-member districts.

“The state of Ohio experienced a $4.7 million increase in tax income. In the month of August in 2016, Ohio families also saved $2.4 million in taxes when they made their school supplies purchases,” said Rep. Schaffer in his floor speech supporting the bill. After the bill’s passage, he added, “It was important to shepherd this legislation through the Ways and Means Committee because it helps our families and actually increases state revenue through secondary purchasing.”

The tax holiday will begin every first Friday of August. The bill specifically applies to clothing of $75 or less per item, and excludes specific items such as trade uniforms and clothing articles used as protective equipment, as well as those that are required for sports. School supplies that are $20 or less per item are eligible, with specific guidelines listed within the bill. Consumers may purchase any number of items.

Ohio is one of 19 states in the U.S. to create a sales tax exemption period. No states bordering Ohio have passed sales tax holiday legislation.

With the House’s passage, Senate Bill 226 now heads back to the Ohio Senate for a concurrence vote.

Rep. Retherford Announces Passage Of Law Creating Protections For Victims Of Sexual Crimes
H.B. 451 prevents the release of certain sensitive material in public records requests
March 21, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) today announced the passage of the Victims Privacy and Protection Act by the Ohio House of Representatives, legislation he sponsored. House Bill 451 excludes certain depictions of victims from being released in public records requests, removing the possibility of re-victimization in situations that are often already traumatizing.

H.B. 451 is common sense legislation that prevents sensitive and private material held by police departments and other agencies from being legally released in public records requests. The lack of protections within Ohio Public Records Law regarding compromising depictions of victims was revealed in a 2016 Ohio Supreme Court case, Caster vs. Columbus, to which H.B. 451 was drafted as a response. That case dealt with digital media that violates bodily privacy and its availability through records requests after conclusion of an initial trial.

Rep. Retherford made the following statement:

“Today, the House passed the Victims Privacy and Protection Act, moving us one step closer to ending a potentially dangerous loophole in our public records laws. By preventing public access to photos, videos and other images of victims of sexually oriented crimes, we not only prevent them from being re-victimized, but also offer an extra layer of protection that will encourage them to come forward about the crimes committed against them. This Buckeye Pathway bill is at the heart of our goal of making Ohio a better and safer place to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to presenting this legislation in the Senate.”

This legislation specifically prevents the release of visual depictions of a victim when the release would be considered an intrusion of bodily privacy, and in cases of sexually oriented offenses. Visual depictions of a victim may include photos, film, videotapes, digital images and visual or printed material.

House Bill 451 is a Buckeye Pathway bill, providing protections and security to Ohioans. It has support from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Having passed out of the House with bipartisan support, the bill now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed House Bill 351, which provides a municipal income tax exemption for members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Public Health Service (PHS).

The legislation, sponsored by State Representatives Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Jim Butler (R-Oakwood), extends the tax exemption that is currently given to members of the five military branches, including the National Guard, to members of the “Uniformed Service,” which under federal law includes members of the NOAA and PHS.

“It is our belief that all members of the Uniformed Services ought to be treated the same under Ohio law. On behalf of those members stationed in Ohio, and those who will be here in the future, we were honored to pass this bill today,” said Rep. Butler.

The research of the NOAA allows for earlier warnings for natural disasters and helps in instances such as the Toledo water crisis in order to track algal blooms and determine the safety of the water. Members of the PHS are responsible for protecting citizens from a public health epidemic, a job that required many to deploy to West Africa and throughout the United States in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Ebola response.

“The officers of the NOAA and PHS are often deployed in hazardous, emergency situations,” Perales said. “Although their battlefield may not be on the front lines we typically picture, they nevertheless put our health and safety before their own to protect all American citizens from harm.”

House Bill 351 passed with bipartisan support and now awaits further consideration in the Senate.


COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today presented a resolution on the House floor to honor Trooper Brittany Noah, the 2017 Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Trooper of the Year.

Trooper Noah was selected for her outstanding service and dedication to the patrol, including her leadership abilities, professionalism, and cooperation with her supervisors, colleagues, and the public. In addition to this accomplishment, she received the 2017 Wilmington Post and Wilmington District Trooper of the Year.

“I was honored to recognize Trooper Noah’s accomplishment in House session today,” said Speaker Rosenberger. “I am especially proud that she represents the patrol post in Wilmington and know that the community and Ohio as a whole are better because of her service.”

Trooper Noah joined the OSHP in 2012 and has served at the Wilmington Post ever since.


COLUMBUS—Today, Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), State Representative Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) and other House members, along with State Auditor Dave Yost participated in a press conference to discuss efforts to update Ohio’s pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) industry.

Since the state’s managed care plans do not directly manage the pharmacy component of their healthcare systems, the majority of the plans are subcontracted out to single pharmacy benefit managers. However, today’s announcement shed light on the problem of not having specific data from the contracts between pharmacies and PBMs to understand the amount that is reimbursed to pharmacies in order to compare that amount against the amount paid to the PBM.

Because there is a lack of data on this issue, members today stressed the importance of working with the Department of Medicaid to retrieve the necessary data to ensure that PBMs are not inflating the costs, which eventually impacts the expenses billed to managed care plans, and ultimately Ohioans, when they buy medication. In collaboration with Auditor Yost, House members are pushing for more transparency and accountability in this part of Ohio’s managed care system.

“This is an issue that the House has been looking at for many years, and it’s our goal to build upon some of those efforts while also ensuring that we have the right kind of data to ensure transparency in the PBM industry,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “I want to thank Auditor Yost, Rep. Lipps, Chairman Smith, and my fellow House members who joined me today to continue Ohio’s charge in this area and to bring attention to finding a real solution to a problem that many local pharmacies are facing.”

“After talking with pharmacists in my district, I’m pleased to see this issue getting statewide and national attention,” said Rep. Lipps. “This is about transparency, taxpayer dollars, and access to data, and I look forward to working towards a solution that keeps local pharmacies open and keeps Ohio’s marketplace fair.”

“I continue to hear about this issue from local pharmacies in my district, and in other rural districts, which are highly dependent upon Medicaid reimbursements,” said Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). “It is important for our small businesses to have the opportunity to compete and, even more importantly, that patients have access to care. As we move forward in looking at this issue, we need to have the information in front of us to know our next steps, and I applaud Speaker Rosenberger and Representative Lipps for taking action today.”

“My job is to protect the taxpayers and when 40 cents of every one dollar goes to Medicaid, transparency will create better policy and better decisions,” Auditor Yost said.

Click here to view today’s press conference:


COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today applauded the Ohio House for passage of legislation she sponsored that updates Ohio’s quarter-century-old child support guidelines.

Ohio law stipulates guidelines for courts and child support agencies to use when determining the outcome of child support orders. Matters such as economic tables, parenting time, and health insurance coverage are all outlined in code but have not been updated since 1992. With the support of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and several county child support enforcement agencies, the bill aims to modernize and streamline the child support payment process.

The bill includes the following provisions:
• Updates the economic tables used to calculate child support payments, ensuring that child support orders are appropriate across the various income levels
• Modernizes healthcare coverage guidelines through various changes, including aligning parental responsibilities with the Affordable Care Act
• Creates a standard deduction for child support payments when a parent has multiple orders, with the goal of equalizing orders and treating all children the same
• Caps the allowable credit for shared childcare expenses at the statewide average
• Implements a parenting time adjustment to standard child support orders to take into account the amount of time a non-custodial parent spends with their child

“Having worked on child support issues for over 20 years, I understand the frustration everyone involved in the process deals with because of the antiquated guidelines,” Gavarone said. “Unfortunately, the attempts in recent years to make these long overdue changes never really progressed, so that makes it even more special that we were able to get the bill out of the House today with a unanimous vote.”

House Bill 366, which is a Buckeye Pathway bill, passed the floor with unanimous, bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed the capital budget bill, legislation that invests $2.62 billion statewide for community improvement projects and contains funding for needed improvements to public services and facilities across the state, including schools, roads and bridges, waterways and parks. The bill also increases investments in mental health and addiction services facilities.

State Representative Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township), who sponsored the bill and is vice chair of the House Finance Committee, issued the following statement:

“I would like to thank the local families, business owners, schools, parks, nonprofit organizations, universities, as well as county commissioners, treasurers, city officials, and mayors for all the efforts they put into funding these individual projects. Also, I want to commend the members in the House and Senate for their collaboration with our local community partners and their endeavors to improve the communities they serve. It is a great accomplishment to be sending this bill to the Senate today so we can continue the process of making Ohio an even better place to live and raise a family.”

Ensuring a commitment to Ohio’s students and preparing them for the workforce, the bill makes a statewide investment of $600 million in school construction, including repairs, renovations and maintenance, as well as $483 million for projects supporting Ohio’s public colleges and universities.

The bill also features $514 million to repair roads, bridges, water-supply systems and storm sewers. This includes $100 million to support the Clean Ohio program, which funds the preservation of green space, farmland, open spaces and expanded recreational opportunities.

The state continues to promote policies aimed at stemming the tide of addiction, and the capital budget works to help local communities in this effort. Nearly $222 million was invested for critical health and human services funding for youth services, developmental disabilities, mental health, addiction treatment and women’s health initiatives.

House Bill 529 now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed House Bill 438, sponsored by State Representatives Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), which improves policies governing Ohio’s educational service centers (ESC) in order to better serve local school districts.

“House Bill 438 is a narrowly focused bill that updates the way educational service centers address membership, annex territory, and serve licensed professionals,” said Hambley. “ESCs have proven to be a cost-effective tool for school districts and we should leverage these institutions as much as possible. House Bill 438 does just that.”

The legislation has three main provisions. The first provision allows governing boards of ESCs that serve only one county to add members to their governing board to represent the local school district that the ESC serves. This simply applies the same authority given to multi-county ESCs to single-county ESCs to ensure full and adequate representation on the board.

The second provision addressed in HB 438 allows a local school district to sever its territory from one ESC in order to join an adjacent ESC. This only applies to those districts who had previously taken these steps prior to 2011 through a portion of the Ohio Revised Code that has since been repealed.

“The Medina County ESC brought this issue to our attention to provide a needed fix for the Black River Local School District,” said Kick. “The bill has the potential to help many other schools to receive more adequate attention around the state.”

During the committee process, HB 438 was amended to include a third objective that gives ESCs permission to establish Local Professional Development Committees to serve Ohio licensed educators who are not currently employed, but wish to retain their teaching license. These committees will review the educator’s coursework and continuing education requirements to ensure the activities meet the qualifications for licensure.

House Bill 438 passed with bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed legislation that changes where taxpayer dollars are returned to after a community school enrollment audit. Sponsored by Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), House Bill 87 seeks to clarify the process by which the Ohio Department of Education distributes funds that a community school has been directed to return to the state following certain state audits.

“I am delighted with the passage of House Bill 87,” said Rep. Roegner. “This legislation allows money to follow the child by returning certain funds back to local school districts.”

Under existing law, the Auditor of State is responsible for auditing public offices, as well as certain funds and accounts of private institutions that have received public funds. Among these institutions are charter and community schools, which occasionally result in the auditor issuing a Finding for Recovery (FFR), meaning public money was misused.

In cases where an FFR is issued in response to a community school’s enrollment audit, HB 87 directs the FFR money to now go back to the student’s local public school district, instead of the state.

In 2015, Roegner sponsored House Bill 2, which contained historic, comprehensive reforms to enhance accountability and transparency for Ohio’s community schools.

House Bill 87 is supported by State Auditor Dave Yost and, prior to the House’s passage, received unanimous approval from the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee. It now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation he sponsored that would expand current law to protect intellectual property resulting from research conducted at charter county hospitals.

Under current law, charter county hospitals do not have protections for inventions, discoveries, or patents created in their facilities. House Bill 453 would permit the same protections given to state universities and colleges and their associated hospitals. The bill ensures that all rights to and income procured from intellectual property belong to the hospital.

“I am pleased to have received overwhelming bipartisan support on House Bill 453,” said Greenspan. “This bill gives charter county hospitals the same rights and protections that others in their industry are already receiving. The passage of this legislation will allow charter county hospitals to be competitive and innovative.”

The legislation specifies that an individual may still profit from the intellectual property, but the charter county hospital must set the terms with the employee.

House Bill 453 passed 90-2 and now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

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Ohio House Approves Legislation Supporting Community Improvement Projects


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed the capital budget bill, legislation that invests $2.62 billion statewide for community improvement projects and contains funding for needed improvements to public services and facilities across the state, including schools, roads and bridges, waterways and parks. The bill also increases investments in mental health and addiction services facilities.


State Rep. Perales Announces Passage Of Legislation Adding Wright Flyer To Ohio's Seal And Coat Of Arms


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed House Bill 370, sponsored by State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek). This legislation adds a depiction of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first piloted airplane, the Wright Flyer, to the Great Seal of the State of Ohio and to Ohio’s Coat of Arms. In doing so, it commemorates one of the greatest achievements by Ohioans: successful controlled flight.


House Republicans Unveil OhioCorps Program


COLUMBUS—During a press conference this morning at the Ohio Statehouse, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Representatives Scott Ryan (R-Granville Township) and Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) announced new legislation aimed at helping Ohio’s students, specifically those who are at-risk.