COLUMBUS—Jim Hoops was sworn in as state representative of the 81st Ohio House District after the House Republican Caucus unanimously voted to appoint him to fill the vacant seat during today’s House session.


“Based on his many years in public service, I am confident that Jim Hoops will hit the ground running upon returning to the Ohio House to serve the people of the 81st District,” Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said.


“I’m looking forward to working on the issues that are most important to the families of the 81st District,” Hoops said.


Hoops is currently the Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Northwest State Community College and previously served in the Ohio House from 1999 to 2006. A 1977 graduate of Patrick Henry High School, Hoops also previously served as Henry County Auditor from 1985 to 1998.


He and his wife, Deb, live in Napoleon.


The 81st House District includes Putnam, Henry and Williams counties, as well as part of Fulton County.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – The Ohio House today passed House Concurrent Resolution 9 urging the President of the United States, the United States Secretary of State and the United States Congress to compel Brazil to extradite Claudia Hoerig.


Hoerig is the primary suspect in the murder of her husband, Major Karl Hoerig, who was found dead in their home in Newton Falls, Ohio in 2007 from a gunshot wound. By the time his body was discovered, Hoerig had withdrawn all of their money from the bank and was on a flight to Brazil. The bullet that killed her husband was later connected with a gun she purchased just days before.


Hoerig has been charged in absentia with aggravated murder in Ohio. However, because the state is unable to get involved in matters of extradition with other countries, Ohio must rely on the federal government in order to demand justice for Major Karl Hoerig.


“HCR 9 demonstrates Ohio’s support for bringing resolution to the case of this horrific crime, committed over 10 years ago in Trumbull County,” said State Representative Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), chair of the Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, which heard testimony on HCR 9. “Claudia Hoerig needs to be extradited from Brazil and stand trial for the aggravated murder of her husband, a decorated combat veteran, Major Karl Hoerig. Only then can justice be served.”


Major Karl Hoerig was an Air Force pilot who flew in nearly 200 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was still serving in the reserves at the time of his death.


The legislation also includes language urging Congress to discontinue foreign aid payments to Brazil should Hoerig not be extradited.


House Concurrent Resolution 9 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed legislation that changes the way information is shared between public programs such as Medicaid, child support, and supplemental nutrition assistance. This will increase effectiveness for recipients, save taxpayer dollars and assist in the detection of fraud and/or abuse.


Substitute House Bill 340, sponsored by State Representative Ron Young (R-Leroy Township) allows for efficiency and better service within the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Medicaid, county departments of jobs and family services, public children services agencies, child support agencies, and Medicaid managed care organizations.


The bill would create the opportunity for employees in the aforementioned offices to access information in what would most likely be a “read-only” format. Though these offices often store information about clients in several different databases, not every employee can access every database. This often requires clients to provide the same information multiple times during one visit.


There are also dangerous issues at stake. For example, as under current procedure, a child with diabetes could be paired with a foster home that has no access to that child’s medical records. If the child’s medical information is not input into an accessible database, personnel and case workers cannot view it.


“This initiative represents a collaborative effort polling ideas from Ohio’s many Public Service programs,” said Rep. Young. “It requires no additional spending, while improving efficiency and customer service and reduces potential fraud, which in turn saves taxpayer dollars.”


Under Sub. H.B. 340, client confidentiality would not be compromised. Employees would simply be able to view relevant information in order to better serve the people of Ohio and to ensure greater efficiency within their respective offices.


The bill was passed unanimously during today’s Ohio House session and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.


 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today approved a joint resolution to hold Governor Kasich’s State of the State address in Westerville. The resolution now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.


The setting of this year’s address will be located within the 19th Ohio House District, represented by Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville).


“I am excited that the Governor’s and my hometown will have the great opportunity to display what it has to offer,” Gonzales said. “Westerville has a long history, and this event will add to that history.”


The 2018 State of the State address will be held March 6th at the Fritsche Theatre on the campus of Otterbein University.


 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Riordan McClain was sworn in as state representative of the 87th Ohio House District after the House Republican Caucus voted to appoint him to fill the vacant seat during today’s House session.


“Riordan McClain’s experience in the private sector and financial management will surely prove to be a valuable asset to our caucus,” said Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville). “In addition, being born and raised in Wyandot County and spending his life in north central Ohio, Riordan closely understands the needs and concerns of the people of the 87th District.”


McClain completed his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bluffton University and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Findlay. Currently working as the Director of Finance and Customer Service at Doc Investments LLC, McClain has more than ten years of experience in management and finance in the private sector.


“I accept this appointment and will be honored to serve Ohio's 87th House District as state representative. I am appreciative of all the support that I've received through this process and look to carry that forward into a successful term representing our shared values,” said McClain. “I will always advocate fiercely for life, liberty, and Ohio families. As challenges present themselves ahead, I look to face them with my best judgement and experience, always with the needs of the 87th District and Ohio in mind.”


“I would like to thank my family, for without their support none of this would be possible. My wife Sarah and our three children Norah, Harlow, and Hudson are instrumental to who I am. I commit to honoring my God, my family, and the 87th District in all I do. I hope to earn the ongoing support of the district by being the best representative that I can be. I am excited to begin that process.”


McClain and his wife Sarah have been married for ten years and have three children together.


The 87th District includes Wyandot, Crawford, and Morrow counties, as well as portions of Marion and Seneca counties.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today applauded the passage of House Bill 353 by the Ohio House, legislation he sponsored that changes Ohio law regarding open-loop gift cards, protecting banks and potential customers.


Under the bill, Ohio’s Unclaimed Funds Law would not apply to certain open-loop prepaid cards and rewards cards and would allow for the use of electronic prepaid cards. An open-loop card is a gift card that is accepted at any point-of-sale location and may be branded with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and more. Current law requires funds on these cards that go unclaimed after five years to be remitted to the state.


This puts Ohio at a competitive disadvantage, as businesses that offer open-loop gift card products will not partner with an Ohio-based bank to do so. Instead, the economic benefits of the products go to states without restrictive escheatment laws. House Bill 353 would give the state access to a growing prepaid market, increasing revenue to community banks and benefiting employees, businesses, and customers.


“By passing this bill, the Ohio House of Representatives has been responsive to a local legislative request that will allow for job and community growth in the 88th House District,” said Reineke.


House Bill 353 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to provide you with a review of what the Ohio House has been working on for the past year, recapping our most important legislation before the hustle and bustle of the holidays truly begins. As always, it’s been a busy year, and I’ve tried to have a hand in the discussion of many bills that will have a positive and direct impact on you and other Ohioans.


Much of our time was devoted to the passage of the operating budget, which establishes the state’s spending plan for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. It was a challenging budget process during this cycle, with tax revenues coming in under estimates, and we had to emphasize restrained spending and prioritize essential services. Even with these obstacles, I’m proud of the final budget we passed, which among hundreds of other provisions, provides valuable resources to schools by increasing per-pupil funding and promotes consistency in Ohio’s tax structure by not raising taxes.


We also remained committed to fighting the opioid epidemic that is critically damaging our communities across the state. The HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety) Agenda is a specially focused legislative initiative that works to end the crisis from multiple perspectives, including prevention, treatment, mental healthcare, and workforce development. In the budget bill, we devoted $180 million for this coordination of care.


Finally, the House recently passed legislation that has been a priority of mine, House Bill 50, which I sponsored. This bill takes important steps toward preventing fraud in Ohio’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by requiring a color photograph of at least one household adult on the front of an EBT debit card. This simple reform to the administration of the program will deter trafficking of the cards and safeguard the benefits of those who truly need and are legally entitled to them.


As you can see, my fellow members and I have been researching and passing a wide range of legislation that will make Ohio a better place to live and work. This is only a glimpse of all we’ve done, but I wanted to give you a highlight of the 2017 legislative year before 2018 is upon us. I wish you and your family happy holidays, and I look forward to continuing to work for you into the next year.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) today announced that he has introduced legislation aimed at combating the widespread drug epidemic that has impacted the state. The Drug Trafficking Deterrence Act increases criminal sentences for convicted drug traffickers to support Ohio’s law enforcement personnel and to protect Ohio families and communities.


“Drug abuse, addiction, and trafficking has wreaked havoc on countless families and communities of the Buckeye State,” said Wiggam. “With the large demand for heroin in Ohio, foreign drug cartels and out-of-state drug traffickers have crept into our neighborhoods, selling death to the addicted, with little fear of the consequences of their actions. It is time we take our communities back from these criminals.”


The Drug Trafficking Deterrence Act would increase current felony charges for trafficking various schedule I or II drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, and would require a prison sentence that corresponds with that felony level. This legislation also strengthens criminal penalties throughout the drug trafficking code to further deter offenders from profiting off the sale of illicit substances.


Wiggam says in crafting the legislation he heard from prosecutors who have seen many drug traffickers walk out of courtrooms with minor punishments, and law enforcement officials who have arrested drug dealers only to see them back on the streets weeks later. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Task Force Commanders Association, and the Buckeye Sheriffs’ Association have all thrown their support behind the legislation.


The Ohio General Assembly has recently committed over $180 million dollars to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio, focusing on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and the workforce. Wiggam’s bill is an additional step toward preventing Ohio’s most vulnerable from falling victim to addiction.


The Drug Trafficking Deterrence Act now awaits assignment to a House committee where it will receive further consideration.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

As the chair of the House Health Committee and co-sponsor of “The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act,” it was my pleasure to work with Representatives Sarah LaTourette and Derek Merrin to pass this important piece of legislation. The passage of this act, House Bill 214, through both the House and the Senate is a step closer towards ending discriminatory abortions based off of a Down Syndrome diagnosis.


This act will prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome. Violation of the statute is a fourth-degree felony and would result in the State Medical Board revoking a physician’s license. A physician would also be liable for compensation to any person who sustains injury, death, or loss from the prohibited abortion. The legislation grants criminal immunity for a pregnant woman on whom it was performed.


My chairmanship allowed me to work closely on the bill and ultimately help secure the bill’s referral to the House floor. Both House Bill 214 and the Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 164, successfully passed through the House Health Committee. I was proud to vote in favor of the legislation alongside an overwhelming majority of my colleagues. This act resembles similar efforts in other states to prevent discriminatory abortions based off of genetic disorders.  Its passage proves Ohio is dedicated to protecting each individual’s right to life.


Every life is equally valuable and full of potential, regardless of a test result received during prenatal screenings. These unborn children have the right to fulfill this potential without the opportunity being taken away before they are born. Deciding to abort an unborn baby diagnosed with Down Syndrome is discriminatory and ignores the plethora of other options available. Now that the bill has passed through the General Assembly, it is waiting to be considered by the Governor, and I am hopeful for his signature.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) was present for the signing into law of Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Senator Beagle, along with passionate people from Ohio’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community.


The bill establishes the period of time annually between March 13th and April 15th as Ohio Deaf History Month. The month will serve to establish a time of the year when Ohio recognizes the significant contributions to the State that have been made by deaf and hard of hearing citizens.


“As Chair of the House State and Local Government Committee, I was glad to be able to help bring recognition to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community here in Ohio,” said Rep. Anielski. “We look forward to having discussions across the state about the contributions from our own deaf and hard-of-hearing neighbors and working to address their needs.”


Ohio’s first Deaf History Month will take place from March 13th to April 15th of 2018.


 


Pictured L-R:


Amber Felter – Staff Interpreter with Deaf Services Center Inc.
Jacob Kingrey – Legislative Aide, Office of Senator Bill Beagle
Darrell Doudt – President of Ohio Citizens of Deaf Cultures (OCDC), and President of the Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association (OSDAA)
Lottie Cassese – OCDC Recording Secretary
Ethan Zucal – Senior Legislative Aide, Office of Senator Bill Beagle
Chloe Khuns – Ohio School for the Deaf Student Body Government President
Tabby Belhorn – Mother of a deaf child
State Senator Bill Beagle – Sponsor of Senate Bill 27
Bryan Grubb – Ohio Citizens of Deaf Cultures
Derek Vore - Staff Interpreter with Deaf Services Center Inc.
State Representative Marlene Anielski – State and Local Government Committee Chairwoman
Bill Morris – State Library of Ohio Governmental Affairs Coordinator
Nancy Boone – Teacher-Librarian, Ohio School for the Deaf
Will London – Legislative Aide, Office of Representative Marlene Anielski

 
 
  
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Legislation Safeguarding Taxpayer Dollars And Preventing Credit Card Abuse Passes Ohio House

 
Columbus - 

State Representatives Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation creating standards for the use of credit and debit cards by political subdivisions, which he joint sponsored with Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton).



 
 

Rep. Reineke Elected To Serve On Majority Caucus Leadership Team

 
Columbus - 

During today’s House session, State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) was unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as House Assistant Majority Whip, following the departure of Rep. Robert McColley, who has been appointed to the Ohio Senate. 



 
 

Legislation Allowing For Multi-Jurisdictional Seneca County Drug Court Passes Ohio House

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation that will enhance efficiency in the way Seneca County courts address low-level drug offenses.



 
 

Reps. Thompson, Greenspan Applaud Passage Of Bill Affirming Ohio's Ties With Israel

 
Columbus - 

State Representatives Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that the Ohio House passed House Concurrent Resolution 10, which condemns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and brings attention to incidents of anti-Semitism at college campuses in Ohio.