Rep. Lanese Announces House Passage Of Legislation Permitting Dogs On Patios
House Bill 263 gives restaurant owners the ability to allow dogs in outdoor areas
April 13, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation to allow Ohio restaurants owners to open their patios to canine customers and their owners.

House Bill 263 was introduced by Rep. Lanese after hearing from constituents who discovered it was illegal for them to bring their dogs to local restaurant patios despite having done so previously. The legislation will give restaurants and bars the option to allow dogs on their outdoor patios. Dogs will still be prohibited from coming inside the restaurant unless they are a service animal.

Under the legislation, sanitary procedures will be put in place for patio dining areas to protect public health, including procedures for cleaning up dog waste and employee hand washing requirements after touching a dog. If an establishment violates any provision under the legislation, dogs would not be permitted on the patio for 30 days on the first offense, within a one-year period; for six months for the second offense, within a one-year period, and for one year for the third offense, within a one year period.

“We’re acknowledging the strong human-animal connection,” said Lanese. “It’s important for us to send a message that we on Capitol Square are going to step out of the way of businesses on Main Street whenever possible.”

Many states already permit restaurant owners to adopt their own pet policy, including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Similar legislation is also being considered by the Michigan state legislature.

House Bill 263 now awaits further consideration by the Ohio Senate.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that the Ohio House concurred on House Bill 115, a bill that establishes a voluntary program to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities.

Under the legislation, jointly sponsored by Rep. Gavarone and Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), an individual may voluntarily submit a verification form, signed by their physician, to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to be designated as an individual with a communication disability. This information is then made available to state and local law enforcement only through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems, more commonly referred to as LEADS.

“This process started with a simple meeting in Wood County with my constituent, and now here we are after unanimous votes in the House and Senate,” Gavarone said. “Parents like Jenny Hughes worry constantly about the safety of their children with communication disabilities. I am thrilled that this legislation will give them a little peace of mind.”

Ultimately, the legislation aims to be a positive, beneficial resource for the law enforcement community and people who suffer from communication disabilities such as autism, a hearing impairment and PTSD. By notifying officers that the driver may have difficulty speaking before they approach the vehicle, it allows them to put into action their training for how to best serve disabled individuals.

The bill allows Ohioans over the age of 18 to enroll in the system, as well as minors who are enrolled by their parents or guardians. The database would also be a private, no-labels system to which only offices have access, providing privacy to those who choose to enroll.

The House concurred on Senate amendments today. The first change specifies that persons who have a "disability that can impair communication," in addition to persons who have a communication disability, can be covered under the legislation. The other change outlines a process for individuals who wish to be removed from the database.

House Bill 115 is a Buckeye Pathway bill aimed at strengthening Ohio families and communities. The legislation now goes to the governor for his consideration.


One of the most important and foundational components of government is to provide the public with reliable infrastructure, including functional highways and roadways. After the long and cold winter we’ve had here in Ohio, this is especially crucial. With potholes appearing around every corner, we need to invest in their repair and modernize our roadways to ensure each and every person can get to and from home safely.

I am currently a co-sponsor of House Bill 415, and I understand how important reliable infrastructure is to you and your family. Functional public roadways in Ohio are essential to public safety and commerce. Overall, we need to ensure that we are putting the public safety of our citizens and the protection of the state’s commerce first, creating a more prosperous Ohio.

Because of this ever-pressing need, the Ohio House recently took action to make sure our local governments have adequate funds for road improvement projects. These improvements can be costly and burdensome on our counties, townships, cities, and villages, but House Bill 415 would help to relieve that expense. The legislation would create the Local Government Road Improvement Fund, to which one half of the state’s surplus revenue each fiscal year would be allocated. The amount given to each political subdivision would be determined by the number of road miles within it, and those funds would go to the county treasurer for distribution.

Currently, surplus revenue from the General Revenue Fund is deposited into the Budget Stabilization Fund, but House Bill 415 would put half of that amount into the newly created Local Government Road Improvement Fund. The bill allows state and local government to work together to provide a safe and efficient transportation system for Ohioans and out-of-state visitors. While the funds are to be used specifically for roadway improvements, this change would also free up other local funds to be used for non-road or general infrastructure projects.

House Bill 415 puts forth a creative solution that could lead to more efficiency in state spending while committing resources to a matter that affects each and every citizen of our state, the upkeep of our roadways. Poor road conditions can cost Ohioans hundreds of dollars each year due to damage to vehicles, but we can help prevent those unexpected costs by making the maintenance of our roadways a top priority.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that the Ohio House has approved legislation he sponsored that works to prevent school place bullying, also known as the Ohio Anti-Bullying and Hazing Act.

House Bill 360 strengthens consequences for bullying in public schools. Under the bill, there are more parameters for in-school suspensions, and it gives school districts greater flexibility regarding investigations and how to best conduct them within the district or school.

The bill applies to public school students in grades 4 through 12 only and exempts students with developmental disabilities.

The legislation also makes permissive the following requirements:
• Mandatory community service for suspended or expelled students
• Tutoring and academic support provided by the school district for suspended or expelled students
• Counseling services provided by the school district for the offender and for the victim of the harassment or bullying, with parental consent
• Flexibility for school districts to go beyond these permissive requirements for suspensions and expulsions of students at the determination of the local school board

House Bill 360 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas across the state.

Sponsored by Reps. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), House Bill 378 creates the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program. The program would invest $100 million over the next two years through the proceeds of bonds supporting Ohio’s Third Frontier Program.

Nearly 300,000 rural households in Ohio do not have access to broadband internet, placing limitations on educational opportunities, economic growth and public safety resources.

“The overwhelming bipartisan support of House Bill 378 demonstrates Ohio’s resolve to not fall behind in encouraging and supporting broadband infrastructure investment, especially in the hardest-to-serve areas,” said Smith, who represents Jackson and Gallia counties, as well as portions of Lawrence and Vinton counties.

Under the bill, private businesses, political subdivisions, nonprofit entities and cooperatives may apply for a grant through the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) and include information detailing the project.

After evaluating the applications, the DSA Director would award grants based on certain criteria to qualified applicants in geographically dispersed regions of the state. Grant amounts cannot exceed 1.) 50 percent of the project’s total cost, or 2.) $5 million, whichever amount is less.

House Bill 378 now awaits further consideration in the Ohio Senate.

Reineke Highlights Needed Reforms To Wind Turbine Setback Regulations
Fixing Setbacks Will Unlock Over $4 Billion in Investment in Ohio
April 11, 2018

COLUMBUS – State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) was joined by a group of local officials and school representatives in Columbus today to urge support of Senate Bill 238, legislation sponsored by Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). The bill will reform wind turbine setbacks passed in 2014, which decelerated wind energy production in Ohio. Communities such as Seneca County, which Reineke represents, have been negatively impacted by these setbacks.

A recently released study from A Renewable America shows that Ohio stands to gain over $4 billion in investment from wind farm construction. This can only happen if Ohio first fixes its restrictive wind turbine setback law, which acts as a functional moratorium on new projects.

The report focuses on two projects, one of which is a proposed project in Reineke’s district. The study shows that this wind farm represents a $400 million capital investment and would provide the rural community with $140 million in local economic impact over its life. For a rural area such as Seneca County, investment on this scale can be a boon for the local economy.

“This wind farm and others like it hold the promise of tremendous economic benefit for Ohio’s rural communities,” said Reineke. “I am hopeful the General Assembly will act soon to at least give our local community the opportunity to move forward with this project, because current law is acting as a significant statewide barrier.”

Reineke was joined by Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy, CEO of Seneca Industrial and Economic Corporation David Zak, and Seneca East Local School Superintendent Dr. Laura Kagy to encourage passage of the legislation, which is needed in order to provide revenue to area farmers and local governments-- including the schools.

Seneca County Commissioner Holly Stacy stated, “We want the ability for landowners, our schools, our communities, and our county benefit from the construction of this wind farm—as has happened in Paulding County. The community wants this wind farm and its economic benefits, and we should have the option of seeing it constructed.”

Senate Bill 238 is currently being considered by the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Ohio House Approves Legislation To Improve Security Measures In Schools
HB 318 establishes guidelines for school resource officers
April 11, 2018

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed legislation to establish certain qualifications and training requirements for school resource officers (SROs). House Bill 318 also permits SROs to provide a specified range of services to the schools they serve.

Bill sponsors Representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) introduced the legislation so that SROs are able to have guidelines and training necessary to effectively protect students. In order to do this, the state must establish certain criteria and standards for SROs, which are currently absent in Ohio statute.

“As confident as I was in the difference House Bill 318 would make as it originally passed through the House Education Committee, I am even more optimistic about the positive impact the amended bill will make on Ohio’s schools,” said LaTourette. “Being able to partner with Representative Patterson on this legislation has been a great honor.”

LaTourette and Patterson introduced the legislation after being approached by the Coach Hall Foundation. Frank Hall is the football coach at Chardon High School who is credited with saving countless lives that terrible day in 2012 when a student opened fire on classmates. Coach Hall chased the shooter out of the school, preventing further casualties. Today, the Coach Hall Foundation seeks to “provide effective means to protect against school violence and improve the quality of life in our school communities.”

House Bill 318 provides a $10 million appropriation to provide grants to schools that are interested in establishing an SRO program. The bill also requires SROs to complete 40 hours of specialized training offered by either the National or Ohio Association for School Resource Officers. Additionally, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission will be permitted to conduct studies of school security upgrades in order to ensure the proper infrastructure is in place to keep students safe.

“HB 318 is a critical, commonsense step forward to enhance school safety and better protect our most precious resource—our children,” said Patterson. “By outlining the training and responsibilities of school resource officers and investing in training, safety equipment and critical educational and mental health resources, our schools will be better prepared and our students better protected.”

The legislation passed with bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Reps. Faber, Dever Announce Plans For Spoofing Bill
Legislation addresses issue of misleading caller ID information
April 11, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) today were joined by State Auditor Dave Yost and State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) at a press conference to unveil legislation that would protect Ohioans from deceptive telemarketers using misleading caller ID information.

House Bill 597 addresses the issue that many Ohioans face when they see a number calling their phone, using their same area code, and they answer not knowing that it is a telemarketer. The practice of “spoofing” happens when individuals steal a phone number, from a person or business, and use it to contact unsuspecting individuals.

“I have received calls from people asking why I just called them, when I didn’t,” Rep. Faber said. “This affects everyone. It interrupts our dinner time, our work day, our daily routines and it fools our family, friends, colleagues, and community members. In today’s society, our phones are an extension of ourselves, and using someone else’s number and pretending to be someone else is identity fraud and should be treated as such.”

This bill prohibits using or repeating a telephone number, exchange, or misleading caller identification information that is not assigned to that person, with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Violators stealing a phone number would be charged with a felony of the fifth degree and those providing misleading caller identification information would be charged with a felony of the fourth degree. Penalties increase if the victim is of a protected class.

It is important to the note that the penalties do not apply to those using “unknown” or “blocked” phone numbers. In addition, a person injured by a violation shall have a cause of action and be entitled to remedies including the goods and services agreed to without an obligation to pay.

“This bill is about the consumer, especially protecting our senior citizens and others in the protected class,” Rep. Dever said. “These penalties are serious and demonstrate how serious Ohio is about protecting its consumers. It is hard to tell who is behind the screens these days and it is time to bring some transparency to our phones and defend our ownership of our phone numbers.”

Auditor Yost attended the press conference and highlighted the importance of this legislation.

“For too long, consumers have been paying for phones only to have them hijacked by unscrupulous scammers and telemarketers who spoof their numbers using whatever methods they can to get a consumer to answer the phone. Once they answer a spoofed number, consumers are too often further led into deceitful actions to steal their identity,” said Auditor Yost. “The legislation introduced today is long-overdue for many consumers. It will help to protect consumers from the trickery of not knowing who is really behind the numbers on their caller ID. With the passage of this legislation, those caught using caller ID information in the future to mislead consumers will face a fourth-degree penalty.”

Attorney General Mike DeWine also offered support for the bill.

“Faked phone numbers are just another tool criminals, scammers, and cheats use to exploit vulnerable, hard-working Ohioans,” said DeWine. “Whether it’s a criminal calling pretending to be from the IRS, or a debt collector using a number that belongs to your county auditor, it’s abusive and we need to shut it down. This bill gives the Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement a way to go after these people, and I applaud Reps. Faber and Dever for introducing it.”

The bill was dropped today and will now be assigned to a House committee for further review.

Rep. Manning Applauds Signing Of House Bill 1
Bipartisan, priority legislation bolsters protections for dating violence victims
April 06, 2018

COLUMBUS—State Representative Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) today applauded the signing of House Bill 1 by Governor Kasich. House Bill 1 is a significant and bipartisan accomplishment of the Ohio General Assembly, with Rep. Manning joint-sponsoring the legislation with Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). The bill provides all who are victims of intimate partner violence from someone they are or were recently dating with the ability to obtain a domestic violence civil protection order from the appropriate court.

Prior to the passage of House Bill 1, Ohio law did not include protections for dating violence victims who did not share a home or a child with their attacker. Ohio joins 48 other states in enacting this kind of legislation, which creates security for all victims of intimate partner violence. House Bill 1 assists victims in safely and confidently moving forward with their lives through the request for the civil protection order.

“Many individuals are waiting until later in life to get married or have children, but still spend years in a relationship with the same person. Those in such situations deserve the right to protection if violence occurs,” said Manning. “This is common sense, bipartisan and meaningful legislation that will have a positive impact on so many lives throughout Lorain County and the state of Ohio.”

Reps. Manning and Sykes together introduced House Bill 1 as the first in Ohio’s 132nd General Assembly. The bill is Buckeye Pathway legislation, strengthening families and communities by putting these protections in place, and starting the 132nd General Assembly with legislation that focuses on a long-term solution for the issue of intimate partner violence.

Having been signed into law yesterday by the Governor, House Bill 1 will become effective throughout Ohio in ninety days.


COLUMBUS—State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) today applauded an announcement made by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) that 24 Ohio communities would receive grant money to support local marine patrol units.

In Lake County, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office will receive $29,142.86 to promote safe waterways and enhance recreational boating. Provided by the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft, the funds will help law enforcement agencies patrol waterways routinely, purchase safety equipment, and respond to emergency boat-related incidents.

“With Lake County’s huge recreational fishing fleet, safety becomes a serious consideration,” said Rep. Young. “I am thankful that ODNR recognizes Lake County’s special needs in the recreational boating arena.”

Ohio currently ranks eighth in the nation in recreational boat registrations, a number that has grown almost 82,000 in the past three years.


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Ohio House Concurs On Bill Helping Police Better Communicate With Disabled Ohioans


COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that the Ohio House concurred on House Bill 115, a bill that establishes a voluntary program to help facilitate effective communication between law enforcement and individuals with communication disabilities.


Bill To Expand High-Speed Internet To Rural, Unserved Areas Clears Ohio House


COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas across the state.


Rep. Schaffer Announces Permanent Ohio Sales Tax Holiday


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.


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.