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.


House Concurrent Resolution 10 aims to reinforce the relationship Ohio has with Israel by strengthening ties and increasing collaboration with the country through business, government, the arts, culture and education. The resolution also works to raise awareness about recent events across the nation where anti-Semitic sentiments and the BDS movement have been promoted on college campuses.  In an effort to protect students’ right to free speech, the resolution also urges university administrators to discipline any faculty, staff or students who violate free speech at colleges and universities in Ohio. 


“I am privileged to lead this resolution to passage in the Ohio House with my joint sponsor, Rep. Greenspan,” Rep. Thompson said. “I know how important it is for Israel and for its many friends in Ohio, especially on our college campuses.”


“This resolution sends a strong message to our state and federal leaders that the General Assembly supports peace, justice, equality, democracy and human rights for all people in the Middle East and in the United States and that we condemn all attacks against the people of Israel and those who support Israel – regardless of their national origin, religion or beliefs,” said Rep. Greenspan.


House Concurrent Resolution 10 now heads to the Senate for further consideration. 

 
 
  
Columbus - 

The Ohio House today voted in favor of the “POW/MIA Remembrance Act” which would expand the use of the POW/MIA military flag at certain state buildings. The legislation would require that the flag, used to honor military individuals who are prisoners of war or missing in action, be flown at state operated buildings on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans’ Day.


“We owe our freedom and the survival of this American Experiment to the sacrifice of these individuals,” said State Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster), who sponsored the legislation. “This legislation is a small act to recognize these individuals’ service to our great nation.”


Wiggam was approached with the idea to introduce the legislation by a constituent and resident of Wayne County. The constituent wanted to encourage more recognition throughout the state for servicemen and women who served in the armed forces but never made it home.


Current federal law already requires federal buildings, such as the U.S. Post Office, to fly the POW/MIA flag on the six days listed above.


The “POW/MIA Remembrance Act,” also known as House Bill 254, passed with a unanimous vote and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
Columbus - 

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed a resolution expressing support for the Hyperloop Transportation Initiative.


After outlining Ohio’s rich history, innovation and modernization in the field of transportation, House Resolution 236 details how the Hyperloop Transportation Initiative can help increase connectivity between businesses and people throughout Ohio and the Midwest. The initiative “would have a significant positive impact on Ohio’s economy and infrastructure,” the resolution states.


A hyperloop is a high-speed concept capable of transporting freight and passengers at speeds of upwards of 700 miles per hour. Columbus was recently named a top-ten finalist in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. The winners of the challenge will collaborate with the Hyperloop One development teams to explore the creation of the world’s first hyperloop in their regions.


“Building on the selection of Columbus as the nation’s first Smart City in June of 2016, the Hyperloop One Global Challenge represents an exceptional opportunity for Ohio to further its status as one of the world’s leaders in advanced transportation technology,” said State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington), the resolution’s sponsor.


The Midwest Connect Proposal would connect Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh that would give passengers the ability to travel amongst the three cities at unprecedented speeds (Columbus to Chicago in about 24 minutes; Columbus to Pittsburgh in about 20 minutes.) Some estimates expect the hyperloop would support 1.9 million annual passenger trips and about $3.8 billion in annual cargo demand by 2040.

 
 
  
Columbus - 

State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation strengthening the law on pyramid promotional schemes.


House Bill 329 works to protect consumers against scams by drawing a line between direct selling companies and pyramid schemes. The bill clarifies current law, seeking to mitigate confusion among the public between legitimate direct selling companies and pyramid schemes looking to defraud consumers.


“I am pleased to see this common-sense consumer reform bill pass with overwhelming support today,” said Representative Pelanda. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue moving House Bill 329 forward.”


Specifically, the bill will clarify enforcement against pyramid schemes, differentiate legal income earning opportunities, and establish direct selling companies as legitimate business practices. A violation of the prohibition of a pyramid promotional scheme is considered a deceptive act in connection with a consumer transaction, an infringement of the Consumer Sales Practice Act.


House Bill 329 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
 
Ohio House Passes "Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act"
HB 98 gives skilled trades and other recruiters two opportunities per year to speak with students in grades 9-12
November 30, 2017
 
 
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to guarantee the skilled trades and other kinds of career recruiters (medical centers, universities, manufacturers, military recruiters, etc.) a minimum of two opportunities per year to speak with Ohio students in grades 9-12 about potential career paths. Ohio’s public school districts will not be able to outright refuse access, although they would be able to establish an application process for employers and recruiters.


Sponsored by State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Kristen Boggs (D-Columbus), the legislation is actively supported by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, various skilled trade groups, manufacturing companies and even a director of talent acquisition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, all of whom say Ohio schools have not always welcomed these recruiters.


“Right now, it is very easy for an Ohio high school to simply ignore a recruiter, because there’s no law giving them a right to speak with students,” said Rep. Duffey, who also chairs the Ohio House Higher Education and Workforce Development committee. “And frankly, there’s a lot of pressure to send every student to college. However, that is an unrealistic goal. It’s time to encourage conversations with students about the many high paying jobs that exist in the skilled trades – many of which require no college debt and often pay surprisingly high wages utilizing on-the-job training. ”


Duffey began working on this legislation after attending a Columbus Metropolitan Club presentation on June 20, 2015 at which then Columbus Chamber President Michael Dalby presided. Panelists included Karen Bryer, director of talent acquisition at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center as well as Dennis Duffey (no relation to Rep. Duffey), secretary-treasurer of the Ohio State Building Construction Trades Council.  During that panel session, each panelist expressed frustration that Ohio’s high schools could be unhelpful in providing access to students to speak about careers.


“This bill will provide Ohio students the opportunity to learn about career opportunities immediately available upon graduation,” Rep. Boggs said.  “As college costs soar, it’s incredibly important for young adults to know all of their options so they can construct a pathway to success that best fits their life.”


Under current Ohio law, Ohio high schools can refuse access for nearly all recruiters, leaving public universities, trade schools and military recruiters without an appeal process.


The Ohio House passed HB 98 with a unanimous vote. The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for possible committee hearings and floor vote.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

Today, State Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) and Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) have announced that the Ohio Senate has passed House Bill 132. That legislation, which Dever and McColley sponsored, grants consumer protections for the millions of Ohioans who participate in fantasy sports contests, as well as providing sensible standards to ensure the industry operates in a transparent and accountable manner.


House Bill 132 was developed and carefully drafted in coordination with Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, stakeholders from the fantasy sports industry and Ohio fantasy sports participants.


“I am pleased to see the Ohio Senate take action on this important legislation to protect millions of Ohio consumers,” Dever said. “It is critical that common-sense protections are in place for fantasy contest participants, while maintaining an environment that allows this emerging industry to grow within our state.”


The legislation updates antiquated state laws to make it clear fantasy contests are legal in Ohio and installs important consumer protections. Together, these reforms aim to create a clear set of regulations fantasy sports companies must follow to operate in Ohio. Ten other states have recently passed similar legislation, and dozens of other states are moving in the same direction.


“House Bill 132 takes steps to protect the rights of millions of Ohioans who engage in the fantasy contest industry,” McColley said. “This bill strikes a balance of consumer protections and economic growth, ensuring that all fantasy sports businesses, large and small, continue to operate and thrive in our state.”


HB 132 defines a “fantasy contest” by using the guidelines already defined in federal law (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.), which specifically states fantasy contests are legal contests of skill. This would remove any doubt about the legality of fantasy contests in Ohio. It also installs light-touch consumer protection regulations that all companies operating fantasy sports contests in Ohio must follow, utilizing rules established and enforced by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.


Other provisions include:



  • Ensuring players are 18 or older

  • Requiring all fantasy game operators to be licensed by the state

  • Offering introductory on-boarding for new players

  • Prohibiting any contest based on a collegiate or high school sport or athletic event

  • Restricting employees of fantasy sports contest companies from playing

  • Requiring “highly experienced players” to be clearly identified for all users to see

  • Disclosing the number of entries a player may submit to each contest and the number of total entries allowed for each contest

  • Taking measures to protect the privacy and online security of players and their accounts

  • Keeping player funds separate from operating funds, ensuring player money is accessible at all times


The bill now returns to the Ohio House where it awaits further consideration and a potential concurrence vote.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) and Steve Arndt (R-Post Clinton) today announced that the Ohio House has passed House Bill 286, legislation that was vetted in the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee, which Arndt chairs.


The bill, sponsored by LaTourette, would establish the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council and the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program, which would both work with the Ohio Department of Health regarding matters related to palliative care. This type of care helps to improve the quality of life for a patient by reducing symptoms and pain associated with a serious illness.


“I spent two years seeing firsthand the dramatic impact access to palliative care had on my dad and my entire family. For my dad, it was about scheduling his treatments around taking that one last family vacation or being able to make the trip to Columbus to see me sworn in,” said LaTourette. “While some may believe these things are trivial, I am certain that it not only improved his quality of life, but extended his life long enough that he was able to still be here for the birth of my son, his first grandchild. I want all Ohioans to be aware of and have access to this type of care. Going through or watching a family member take on a serious illness, whether it’s terminal or not, can be heart wrenching and devastating. However, when we are faced with these inevitable challenges, access to meaningful care can make a world of difference. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with this legislation.”


The goal of these initiatives would be to further integrate palliative care into mainstream medicine and ensure the public has access to information and education on palliative care.


“House Bill 286 will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of individuals and families dealing with serious illness. This legislation will identify appropriate care plans for individuals suffering from debilitating pain to improve their quality of life,” said Arndt. “I am grateful to Representative LaTourette for her hard work on this important piece of legislation and for bringing this to the attention of the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee.”


House Bill 286 would also require certain health care facilities to identify patients who could benefit from palliative care and facilitate access to the care.


The bill now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) today joined several public leaders, experts and military veterans at a Statehouse press conference to highlight suicide the state’s suicide prevention efforts.


In Ohio, suicide is the leading cause of death among 10-14 year-olds and the second-leading cause of death among those between 15 and 34. On average, one person dies by suicide every five hours in the state.


“The goal behind all of our suicide prevention efforts to make sure people know there is help available for anyone who is struggling,” said Anielski, who has been a leading advocate for suicide prevention since joining the House in 2011. “Sometimes even saying the word ‘suicide’ is uncomfortable, so we are working hard to break through that stigma. Understanding all of the options and resources that are out there is the first step toward overcoming the silent epidemic.”


Her work includes sponsoring the “Jason Flatt Act, Ohio, in honor of Joseph Anielski” (HB 543, 129th General Assembly), designating September 10th as “Ohio Suicide Prevention Day” (HB 149, 130th General Assembly), and expanding access to suicide prevention programs on college campuses (HB 28, 131st General Assembly). Additionally, she voted for the most recent budget bill (HB 64), which appropriated $2 million for suicide prevention efforts.


Last year, Anielski also sponsored House Bill 440, legislation that designates the Saturday before Thanksgiving as “Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.” It is a day when friends and family join together for healing and support to cope with the tragedy of losing a loved one to suicide.


Among the guest speakers was Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, who detailed what universities like YSU are doing to reach out to troubled students and provide assistance and support to reduce the suicide rate among young adults.


“In working together with all groups of people, our mission is to help them understand that there is help available and there is hope if you’ll reach out for it,” Tressel said. “We are here for them to create that hope in their lives, we’re here for them when they have those moments of questioning the hope in their lives. It is truly an honor to be a part of this discussion.”


Nearly 20 percent of all adult suicide deaths in the United States are by military veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. With Veterans Day coming up on Saturday, two military veterans also shared their perspective.


Retired U.S. Air Force Sgt. Carolyn Barnes shared her perspective of experiencing three generations of family members die by suicide and stressed the importance of supporting military veterans. “I appreciate having the ability to talk and share resources and information with everyone, especially veterans,” she said. “At 22 suicides a day, we definitely need to address this, have resources for this and have places where these veterans can reach out to for assistance.”


Retired U.S. Army Capt. Holly Koester also expressed the need for further education and awareness when it comes to helping veterans cope. “Nobody wants to ask for help, and a lot of times they say they don’t need the help. Further education and outreach let veterans know that there are ways to cope with it and that they’re not alone,” Koester said. “They’re not the only one who thought about possibly taking their own lives, but there are other ways. Their life may not be the same as it was before but it can be different and it can be good.”


"We are committed to a comprehensive suicide prevention plan, which features primary prevention, access to treatment as well as post-intervention support,” said Angie Bergefurd, Assistant Director for Community Programs and Services at the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services. "We believe that through these and other efforts contained in Ohio's suicide prevention plan, we will be able to save lives and we will be able to make a difference."


In an effort to expand public awareness and outreach for suicide prevention, award-winning country music band Rascal Flatts provided a video message that was played during the press conference. It can be seen here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/rascall-flatts-suicide-awareness


The press conference also featured a video filmed previously by Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence, focusing on art therapy, one of the methods used to help individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. It can be seen here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/art-therapy-psa


“Art therapy is a healing process,” said Sharon Doyle of the Buckeye Art Therapy Association, who also spoke at the press conference. “It provides an appropriate outlet for feelings for things that people aren’t able to talk about.”


More information on suicide prevention and outreach can be found at a wide variety of resources, including:



  • SaferSchools.ohio.gov

  • SuicidePrevention.ohio.gov

  • And by texting “4Hope” to 741-741


Full video of the press conference can be seen here: http://ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-discussing-suicide-prevention-efforts?6

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) today announced that he has introduced a bill that will designate July 16th as Atomic Veterans Day in Ohio and a concurrent resolution urging Congress to pass the Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.


“With Veteran’s Day celebrations getting started, this is an ideal time to single out the special services of a very important group of people, our Atomic Veterans,” Rep. Schaffer said. “Because of the importance, secrecy and unknown dangers of their tasks, Atomic Veterans have rare challenges, specifically with their healthcare and quality of life. It’s time that we recognize their contributions to our country and bring attention and awareness to their distinct situation.”


According to the National Association of Atomic Veterans, an Atomic Veteran is: “[A member] of the United States Armed Forces who participated in atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons tests from 16 July, 1945 to 30 October 1962.  They also include veterans who were assigned to post test duties, such as “ground zero” nuclear warfare maneuvers & exercises, removing radiation cloud samples from aircraft wing pods, working in close proximity to radiated test animals,  decontamination of aircraft and field test equipment, retrieval and transport of test instruments & devices, and a host of other duty assignments that provided an opportunity for a radiation exposure & contamination event.”


During the period between 1945 and 1962, the United States is estimated to have performed 235 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. Nearly 250,000 service men and women assisted with these tests throughout the Southwestern region of the country and the Pacific Ocean.


In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation declaring July 16 as National Atomic Veterans Day. The State of Virginia also recently passed similar legislation to make the same designation.


The Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act has been introduced in the U.S. Senate as S.283 by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota). It has been referred to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) yesterday presented a resolution honoring Brandan Holliday, from Hillsboro, as the 2017 Ohio Police and Fire Games traditional wrestling champion.


In June, Holliday participated in the Ohio Police and Fire Games, which is held annually in a different city around the state of Ohio. A deputy for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Holliday won the traditional wrestling gold medal in the competition after several matches. 


“Deputy Holliday has the heart of a servant—he has proven that time and again in his roles in the military and law enforcement,” Rep. Johnson said. “He also has the heart of a lion, and he proved that beyond any doubt through his success in these games. He is a great American, and it was an honor to recognize his achievement before the Ohio House of Representatives.”


According to its website, the Ohio Police and Fire Games aims to support the physical and mental fitness of the state’s active and retired law enforcement and firefighter personnel (and active and reserve military police and firefighters) by promoting the concept of physical fitness and sport within their communities through the development, organization and coordination of sporting events. 


Deputy Holliday had the opportunity to receive the resolution during House session at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. 

 
 
  
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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.