COLUMBUS – Bills to expand access to drug treatment, improve college credit transfers and help behavioral health are among the bills announced today by Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs.

Householder (R-Glenford) said that while the topics of this latest round of House priority legislation, like the bills proposed last week, are diverse, they share the common theme of lawmakers working together to solve problems.

“I think it sends a pretty powerful message to our constituents and our country that Ohio is a place where people roll up their sleeves, work together and get things done,” Householder said.

“Many of these commonsense, bipartisan proposals before you today will move our state forward by expanding opportunity and giving everyday Ohioans a real shot at living the American Dream right here at home, in Ohio,” said Boggs (D-Columbus).

The bills proposed today are:

Treatment in Lieu of Conviction (House Bill 1) – Expands access to treatment in lieu of conviction and sealing of low-level, non-violent, non-sex offenses. The goal is to expand opportunity for those who have made a mistake to right a wrong and become a productive member of society. Sponsored by Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo).

Addressing the Shortage of Public Defenders (House Bill 5) – Creates the Public Defender State Loan Repayment Program to help recruit and retain attorneys to serve as public defenders. This is similar to what Ohio already does to help encourage physicians, dentists and dental hygienists to serve in areas facing a shortage of those professionals. Sponsored by Representatives Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and David Leland (D-Columbus).

Improving Credit Transfers (House Bill 9) – The legislation contains common sense reforms to improve credit transfers from one public school to another and help students who have left school determine if, with the coursework they have completed, they are eligible for an associate’s degree or job training certificate. Sponsored by Representatives Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Bride Sweeney (D-Cleveland).

Behavioral Health (House Bill 12) – The legislation creates the Ohio Children’s Behavioral Health Network. This will bring together a diverse group of experts to develop evidence- and outcome-based solutions to improve the mental health of children and young adults, and reduce suicides. Half of all mental illnesses start by age 14. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults. Sponsored by Representatives Don Manning (R-New Middletown) and Thomas West (D-Canton).

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