Oftentimes, many in Ohio look out-of-state for unusual and fun vacation destinations, without realizing that Ohio has a booming tourism industry with many unique options right here at home. It’s incredible what special places you can find in your home state after a little research. In fact, tourism is a major economic driver for the state as a $44 billion industry. In 2017, Ohio welcomed 219 million visitors, most of which come from within a day's drive.


Northeast Ohio itself has so many diverse options, from enjoying the shores of Lake Erie to experiencing the renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It boasts a number of local and state parks, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio’s only national park. With the Cuyahoga River winding throughout, the park offers guests camping, hiking, kayaking, and many other opportunities. Northeast Ohio is especially intriguing, an equal mix of city and countryside. From the “Rubber Capital of the World” to sprawling Cleveland, there is much and more to discover.


There is also a lot to do in Akron and Summit County as a whole. With its rich culture, those from around the state can learn about local artists at the Akron Art Museum or the Summit Artspace. It’s easy to make a day of it by finding a hometown restaurant at which to eat and finishing with a show at the Akron Civic Theatre. Further, you can learn more about your hometown by checking out some historical homes. In Akron, the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens—the former estate of the cofounder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company—is open for tours, where you can learn about what life was like when the manor was first built at the beginning of the century.


Outside from our neck of the woods, Ohio is an incredible state with many places to explore over a long weekend. From the top roller coasters in the world to cabins and trails down in Hocking Hills, I am continuously impressed by what you can find to do right here at home. By committing to spending more time studying where we come from, Ohio as a state can continue to reap the benefits.

 
 
  
Columbus - 

State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) this week was appointed by Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to serve as Co-Chair of the Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee.


The study committee was established through House Bill 122, a bill jointly sponsored by Hambley with Representative John M. Rogers (D-Mentor on the Lake) and that became officially effective August 1st. Members are charged with analyzing the features, benefits and challenges involved in creating metropolitan economic development alliances. After consulting with various groups, including county commissioners, township trustees, mayors and city council members, the committee will publish a report of its findings by August 1st of next year.


“Collaborative metropolitan economic development has been shown to benefit all participating entities and the State of Ohio can play a pivotal role in encouraging those partnerships,” said Hambley.  “I have spent my entire public career as a city council person, county commissioner, and now state legislator advocating for initiatives that improve the fiscal health of our communities and reducing the costs of local government. Eagerly, the committee report will make recommendations for state policies and laws that can assist communities across the state in accomplishing those goals through collaboration,” he added.


Rep. Hambley introduced the legislation in an effort to study economic development alliances and how they could impact the state.


State Representative Hambley is serving his second term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 69th House District, which includes most of Medina County.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Anielski Spreads Awareness Of World Suicide Prevention Day - September 10th
Highlights Rascal Flatts PSA, legislative, community prevention efforts
August 30, 2018
 
 

COLUMBUS – State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) is raising awareness for the approaching World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, September 10, 2018. As the 15th leading cause of death globally, over 800,000 people die by suicide annually, equating to about one person every 40 seconds.


“The goal behind all of our suicide prevention efforts is to make sure people know there is help available for anyone who is struggling,” said Rep. Anielski. “Spreading knowledge of all the prevention options and resources that are out there is the first step toward overcoming the silent epidemic.”


Sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), World Suicide Prevention Day focuses public attention on the needs of people at risk of suicide, suicide attempt survivors, and people bereaved by suicide. One way you can show your support for suicide prevention is to light a candle near a window at 8:00 p.m. on September 10, to demonstrate your support for such efforts. In Ohio, the Saturday before Thanksgiving is designated as “Ohio Survivors of Suicide Loss Day,” which comes as a result from Rep. Anielski’s sponsored House Bill 440 passed in early 2017.


As a part of Rep. Anielski’s efforts while working on House Bill 440, and with the goal of expanding public awareness and outreach for suicide prevention, award-winning country music band Rascal Flatts recorded a public service announcement on the topic. It can be seen here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/rascal-flatts-suicide-awareness


According to IASP, several other ways you can raise awareness about the issue include educating yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, showing compassion for those who are in distress in your community, and questioning the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behavior and mental health issues. Suicide prevention takes work, but the benefits are infinite and can have a massive impact.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) has announced the release of an amended Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Military Affairs Task Force Report. The original report was released publicly shortly after a press conference hosted by the BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force on April 29th of this year.


The Task Force, which met over the course of eight months and visited 13 different military posts around the state, unveiled their recommendations to help make Ohio a leader in military affairs for the nation. Central to the report are two recommendations: to create a state-level Office of Government and Military Affairs, and to create a funding line in the state budget for investments.


“Ohio needs an office of support that will wake up every morning knowing what is going on with our military assets here in Ohio and know what is going on in D.C.,” Perales said. “The newest version of this report captures all aspects of our Task Force activities across the state as well as supplemental material to show just how much of an impact our installations have on our great state.”


Rep. Perales has introduced House Bill 696 to establish the Office of Government and Military Affairs. The agency would report to the governor and be charged with developing a strategy for military installations within Ohio in order to maintain the number of jobs the installation provides, as well as to ensure continued funding for projects at Ohio military bases.


The amended report contains all of the content of the original. Added material includes details of the Task Force visits to National Guard facilities, Task Force membership bios, current legislation pertaining to military and veterans issues, and several state reports covering DoD assets in Ohio.


For a full version of the amended report issued by the BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force, click here.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Koehler Commends Legislature's Focus On Water Quality Throughout Ohio
"Toward a Cleaner Lake Erie" working group holds first meeting
August 29, 2018
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) attended the first meeting of the “Toward a Cleaner Lake Erie” working group, a bipartisan, bi-chamber committee to which he was appointed.


The first meeting focused on the most recent data gathered about the Lake Erie watershed and pollutants affecting its water quality. The group heard from interested parties from research groups at Heidelberg University and the Ohio State University, as well as a representative from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Lake Erie provides drinking water for about 11 million Ohioans. However, the rapid growth of invasive algae, usually the result of an excess of nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen, has repeatedly compromised water quality in the lake’s western basin over the last decade. These rapid growth incidents, known as algal blooms, result in the production of toxins that threaten human health.


In her testimony, Dr. Cathann Kress, Ohio State’s Vice President of Agricultural Administration, explained that though “over 140 faculty and staff [are] conducting research and programs related to water quality” at Ohio State alone, more remains to be discovered about the impact of factors like natural weather events on the health of Lake Erie’s watershed.


Dr. Lee Norfleet of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service discussed “on-farm” solutions that the agricultural community has successfully implemented to reduce the amount of nutrient runoff and the ways that precision agriculture has reduced the amount of nutrients released into the ecosystem.


“I was encouraged to hear from professionals with state and national knowledge about the progress being made in the Lake Erie watershed,” said Koehler. “I look forward to discussing ways we can work together with the agriculture and business communities to capitalize on these early gains.”


The next meeting is expected to be held within six weeks.

 
 
  
 
House Republicans Lead On Blockchain Discussion
Speaker Smith, economic and technological leaders tout benefits of blockchain technology
August 23, 2018
 
 

COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today joined with members of the House Leadership Team and Majority Caucus to discuss the future of blockchain in Ohio, in both the public and private sector. Joined by chief experts on the issue from around the state, legislators conveyed interest in connecting the legislature with more information on the benefits of blockchain technology.


As the utilization of blockchain increases, today’s press conference shed light on the importance of understanding blockchain technology and its potential to drive economic and workforce development, as well as the opportunity to increase government efficiency and strengthen cybersecurity measures. Blockchain allows for the creation of secure lists of records linked to one another. This includes electronic medical records, smart contracts, online voting, logistics management materials, government benefit transfers and title transfers. Essentially, in a blockchain transaction, a “block” is created that contains the details of the transaction. The information is visible to only those within the network but they are encrypted in a way to prevent them from being altered.


Joined by fellow legislators Reps. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), Scott Ryan (R-Newark) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), Speaker Smith highlighted the need for the legislature to look at the issue of blockchain more closely and possibly develop legislation on the issue in the future. Other states, including Arizona, Illinois, and Nevada have already taken legislative action related to blockchain.


“Ohio continues to lead on various technological fronts, and blockchain technology is a great opportunity for our state to prevent brain-drain and keep talent in Ohio to make us a leader in technological advancement and economic and workforce development,” Speaker Smith said. “The underlying use of blockchain technology can be utilized for a multitude of purposes and has the potential to innovate state government, making it more efficient, secure and transparent.”


Legislators were joined by Matt Wald, President and CEO of the Columbus Collaboratory, which is a company that specializes in advanced analytics and cybersecurity.


“Blockchain and related internet technologies will help to create the next level of process efficiency opportunities and drive new innovative applications, " said Wald. ”Ohio has become a technology leader in a number of critical and growing industries, thanks in large part to our state's embrace of advanced technologies such as blockchain."
Jim Korcykoski, Chief Technology & Information Security Officer at Nationwide Insurance, also participated in the press conference to talk about the use of blockchain at major insurance and finance companies, such as Nationwide.


“Nationwide is committed to advancing blockchain technology and the potential for disruption across several industries, including insurance and financial services,” Korcykoski said. “We applaud Speaker Smith for bringing together a diverse group of leaders from business, government, academia, and technology to help position Ohio as a leader in this new, exciting arena, and we look forward to working with the legislature and the business community to help build on the momentum that’s been established so far.”


Efforts on this issue have been led in northeast Ohio by Bernie Moreno, President of the Bernie Moreno Companies and President of Ownum.


“If Ohio is to become a leader in blockchain technology, then it is critical that state leaders recognize and take advantage of this incredible opportunity,” Moreno said. “It is clear that Speaker Smith sees blockchain’s potential. My hope is that other statewide officials can do the same. By embracing blockchain, Ohio can reposition itself as a national leader in digital transformation and innovation. That will attract hundreds of start-ups to Ohio and create lots of high paying jobs.”


Workforce development was a major part of the discussion as this field continues to grow. Professor Hesham El Gamal, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University, shared his experience on this front.


“It is commendable that the state legislature has recognized the importance of blockchain as a potential transformational technology,” El Gamal said. “OSU is in a perfect position to assist the legislature with a state-wide effort to leverage this technology for economic development and workforce education and training.''


The press conference can be viewed here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-8-23-2018-blockchain-technology.

 
 
  

It was a pleasure to be able to participate in Vanguard-Sentinel’s 50th anniversary on August 16th. I congratulate the staff, teachers, administration and key community members and students that make this education model successful. Career technical education is essential today. Education has to be a collaborative process. VSCTC has partnerships with 15 local high schools and has good relationships with Terra State Community College, Tiffin University and Heidelberg University.


With these partners and recently enacted legislation, our students should be better fostered and guided to find their special purpose and to be trained for the workforce in our “New Knowledge” economy that exists today and into the future. This collaborative model allows us to really define, for each student, their purpose, potential career pathway, and to provide them with credentials for a stackable post-secondary degree or certificate.


Within the 88th House District and northwest Ohio, we need a prepared and trained workforce. As a community, we want to prevent the brain drain and get a return on our investments by keeping our kids here. Our current system of high school graduates with high remediation rates and high drug use does not work for them or our communities. By encouraging programs that teach critical thinking, we prepare our kids for the future jobs that are not yet defined because of quick and extreme technological advances.


Former Governor Jim Rhodes, who established career tech centers in 1968, wrote, “Many of today’s social and economic ills result from a lack of employment among the able-bodied. The lack of employment stems directly from inadequate education and training.” Governor Rhodes asserted that vocational-training programs for young men and women could help meet the demands of a changing modern-day economy.


Former President Rutherford B. Hayes, whose presidential library is in Fremont, believed that along with and as a part of public education, there should be a system of industrial training—dignifying labor, teaching self-reliance and making it comparatively easy to make an honest living, if you were willing to work for it. President Hayes would be ever so happy with Vanguard-Sentinel’s success and that of career-tech here in Ohio.


To keep our middle class, and just as importantly, to keep Ohio vibrant and competitive, we should encourage our schools to listen to the specific needs of our workforce and should insist that our schools, like VSCTC, provide course work to keep our students and workforce opportunities here. It is amazing that a concept that is 50 years old is actually the very concept needed today to drive our future.


Let’s demand that our students get a purposeful and useful education with stackable certificates, apprenticeships, and degrees. Programs which will provide success through in-program internships and jobs, which will culminate, upon graduation, in immediate job placement and a career. Incredibly, many of these workforce opportunities come with little or no college debt.


Let’s understand that this “New Knowledge” economy supported by these collaborative educational training models can only be achieved by erasing the stigma that career tech is not a worthy pathway in life.


Congratulations to Superintendent Greg Edinger and his team and all of the collaborative school partners on this commemorative event.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Ryan (R-Newark) today applauded the signing of legislation that would allow certain advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have an individual involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health evaluation in the event of an emergency. The bill aims to provide faster and more efficient care in these situations.


House Bill 111, which Ryan joint sponsored with Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), allows an APRN with a psychiatric sub-specialty to have an individual hospitalized if the nurse reasonably suspects that the individual could be a risk to self or others. A mental health professional must perform an evaluation within 24 hours of a patient’s admittance to the care facility, and at the end of this 24-hour period, the individual must be released unless it is recommended following a full mental health exam or a court order specifies that they should be detained.


“This bill will help those who desperately need access to mental health care by better utilizing the talents of existing qualified professionals,” said Rep. Ryan.


In Ohio, there are approximately 700 APRNs with a psychiatric subspecialty. To become qualified, an RN must receive a graduate degree in a nursing specialty or related field. The nurse must then sit for a national certification examination and obtain a Certificate of Authority from Ohio. This certificate must be reviewed biennially with a continuing education requirement of 24 hours.


The bill also makes several reforms regarding the licensure process for opioid treatment programs, which must be licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Generally, requirements for OTPs are similar to those for the licensure of methadone treatment programs.


The bill goes into effect September 28, 2018.

 
 
  

Ohio’s workers are essential to the growth of our economy. Since its inception, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has been helping private and public employers protect their employees in the workplace. The premiums paid by these employers go towards offering important safety services and resources in cases of job-related injuries.


The BWC announced this year that it will be refunding $1.5 billion to Ohio’s businesses and employers, its fourth rebate since 2013. This latest rebate brings the total that BWC has saved employers since 2011 to $8 billion, which has a real impact on Ohio’s economy across communities.


The BWC is able to make these returns because of safer work environments that have resulted in a reduction in insurance claims, investment returns which have yielded higher numbers than expected, and responsible fiscal management combined with a strong economy. Many eligible employers have already received their checks, which equal 85 percent of their premium for the policy year ending June 30, 2017 (calendar year 2016 for public employers). Make sure to check your mail again and then contact BWC if you did not receive your check.


For the 89th House District, private and public employers in Ottawa County will receive more than $2.5 million and those in Erie County will receive more than $5.5 million. Businesses in these counties can use these additional resources to continue growing their operations and help bolster our state’s economy at large.


This move by BWC is not only welcome news to employers, but it is good, responsible policy. Considering its financial strength, BWC’s position to give back to public and private employers will ultimately benefit the state as a whole, giving businesses back their earnings spent on premiums and creating greater job security for Ohioans.

 
 
  

Each and every day in Ohio, individuals are positively impacted by the activities of the nonprofit sector. On August 17th, National Nonprofit Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on the services of the over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. The efforts of nonprofits are diverse and may be educational, artistic, religious, scientific, charitable or any other purpose that is beneficial to society.


When the first federal income tax on corporations was signed into law on August 17th, the Tariff Act of 1894 included an important exemption for nonprofit corporations and charitable institutions. Thus, this date was chosen to observe nonprofit significance because of the connection to the federal government’s recognition of such organizations’ importance to society.


Observances of National Nonprofit Day can take many forms, whether it is the decision to volunteer time at a charitable organization, to support an entity financially, or simply to research nonprofits and their contributions to a well-rounded society. Any time spent considering the promotion of nonprofits is time well spent.


To ensure accountability to the public, charitable organizations must be registered with and file annual reports to the Attorney General’s Office in Ohio under the Charitable Trust Act. This filing is in addition to the financial documents that must be filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service in order for an organization to qualify for tax exempt status.


In Ohio, the Secretary of State (SOS) authorizes companies to operate in the state. To help make the process of starting a nonprofit in Ohio more intuitive, the SOS’s Business Services Division has published a handy guide entitled, “Starting a Nonprofit.” An electronic copy of this guide can be found on the SOS website at www.sos.state.oh.us, or if individuals would like a paper copy, my office will gladly fulfill that request. Simply contact 614-644-5088 or rep76@ohiohouse.gov.

 
 
  
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Representative Hambley Appointed To Co-Chair Of Newly Created Economic Development Committee

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) this week was appointed by Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to serve as Co-Chair of the Regional Economic Development Alliance Study Committee.



 
 

Local Legislators Announce State Effort To Support Military Members, Veterans, And Their Families

 
Columbus - 

State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) held a press conference today to highlight legislation that supports military members, veterans, and their families in Ohio.  



 
 

Legislation Increasing Collection Of Opioid-Related Data Clears Ohio House

 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced House passage of the Opioid Data and Communication Expansion Act, legislation she sponsored to increase data collection related to the opioid crisis. The bill was approved among several others after the House returned to work this week upon the election of a new Speaker.



 
 

Ohio House Approves Payday Lending Reform Legislation

 

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed bipartisan legislation that reforms the state’s payday lending industry and is aimed at lowering interest rates on loans and helping borrowers avoid endless debt cycles.