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.


 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – A local radio personality, state legislators, advocates and others will kick off Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in Ohio at 11 a.m., Thursday, April 5, in the Statehouse Atrium. This year’s campaign, #30MinuteHeroes, encourages Ohioans to share on social media how they or someone they know acts as a hero to families through simple, everyday acts of kindness.


“More than 18,000 reports of child abuse and/or neglect were recorded in Ohio last year, which equates to about one report every 30 minutes,” said Kristen Rost, executive director of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, which is coordinating the campaign. “At the same time, Ohio has legions of ‘everyday heroes’ whose simple, everyday actions support the well-being of families in their community. Throughout April, we will be celebrating those heroes and encouraging all Ohioans to join their ranks, through acts large and small.”


To help raise awareness, the trust fund held two contests in February: a youth art contest and an “Everyday Hero” contest. The winners of both will be honored at the Thursday event. The art contest invited students in grades kindergarten through 12 to submit creative works to help educate the public and inspire them to action. The winning entries were submitted by Ashley Butts, a 12th grader from Jackson High School, and Malia Duckworth, an 8th grader from West Carrollton Middle School. Each girl’s school will receive $5,000.


The “Everyday Hero” contest sought nominations of those who have committed their time, effort or even their entire lives to child abuse and child neglect prevention. The following winners were chosen from each of eight regions:



  • Brandi Bare, a project manager with the Buckeye Ranch in Central Ohio

  • Allyson Blake, director of Stark County Family Court’s Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian Ad Litem program

  • Amber Donovan, founder of the Cleveland Open Table Initiative for youth who have aged out of foster care

  • Tammy Hogsett, a case manager for children ages 0-6 and their families at Hopewell Health Centers in Southeast Ohio

  • Ruth Kelly, founder of the “Families First” initiative to reduce African American infant mortality in Southwest Ohio

  • Cathy Latham, a mentor with Youth Services System’s Youth Mentoring Network in Eastern Ohio

  • Cheryl Neff, a foster parent who teaches parenting skills to at-risk clients at the Elizabeth’s New Life Center’s women’s centers in Western Ohio

  • Stanley Smith, a special projects and outreach specialist at Lucas County Family Council


“As Chair of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, I am confident that this year’s campaign during April as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month will be incredibly meaningful across the state with benefits extending well beyond this month’s recognition,” said Representative Sarah LaTourette. “Being able to commend the winners of the ‘Everyday Hero’ contest showcases that we can all make a difference in the lives of Ohio’s children.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) announced that the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for their 2018 class of outstanding veterans and encourages community members to nominate local veterans.


The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame honors Ohio veterans who not only served our nation dutifully, but also continued to contribute to their communities through advocacy and public service.


Members of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame include 2003 Honoree Robert B. Armbruster of Ottawa County, who served in United States Navy in World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War. In addition to his naval accomplishments, Mr. Armbruster was a founding member of the Ottawa County Community Foundation and active in multiple other community organizations.


Another fellow Honoree, class of 2015 Ernest H. Bowman of Erie County, who served in World War II, is also an active member in our community. Wanting to support the veteran community, Mr. Bowman served as the post chaplain for the Legion for twenty years and made daily trips to the local hospital to visit the sick and drive veterans to VA medical appointments.


“In the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, we hope to pay tribute to our finest Americans. The men and women of our armed services wake up every day and give all of themselves to something bigger than themselves,” said Arndt. “We are forever grateful for their bravery and sacrifice. I encourage my constituents to nominate the honorable veteran in their life.


An eligible veteran must meet the following criteria: be a past or current Ohio resident, have received an honorable discharge, and be of good moral character. Guidelines and more information can be found at http://dvs.ohio.gov/main/veterans-hall-of-fame.html, along with a form to fill out and mail in as a part of the nomination packet. Applications are due by June 1, 2018.

 
 
  


COLUMBUS—Three individuals came to Columbus to give proponent testimony on a pair of bills dealing with suicide education in Ohio. House Bills 502 and 503, introduced by State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills), would require both public and private schools to give teachers and staff suicide prevention education annually.


“These bills would assist school personnel to turn the tide against the silent epidemic of youth suicide,” said Rep. Anielski. “Our professional teachers and school administrators are with students on any given day and have the opportunity to identify students in crisis or in need. Knowing the signs and symptoms of distress could be a life-or-death situation for our school personnel.”


Jack Binder of LifeAct, Krista Hussar of Canton Local Schools, and Sandy Williams of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation testified before the House Education and Career Readiness Committee. Each brought decades of experience as well as personal anecdotes for the real need for the legislation.


Copies of their testimony can be found on the committee’s website, http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/education-and-career-readiness.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Schaffer Announces Permanent Ohio Sales Tax Holiday
Substitute Senate Bill 226 creates three-day sales and use tax exemption period
March 22, 2018
 
 

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.


The General Assembly has passed bills approving one-time tax holidays in August each year since 2015. Sub. S.B. 226 makes that three-day period a permanent occurrence, and additionally authorizes educational service centers (ESCs) to levy a property tax in order to fund school safety, security and mental health services. This will occur through a county school financing district, which is a taxing unit designed to levy taxes for the benefit of ESC-member districts.


“The state of Ohio experienced a $4.7 million increase in tax income. In the month of August in 2016, Ohio families also saved $2.4 million in taxes when they made their school supplies purchases,” said Rep. Schaffer in his floor speech supporting the bill. After the bill’s passage, he added, “It was important to shepherd this legislation through the Ways and Means Committee because it helps our families and actually increases state revenue through secondary purchasing.”


The tax holiday will begin every first Friday of August. The bill specifically applies to clothing of $75 or less per item, and excludes specific items such as trade uniforms and clothing articles used as protective equipment, as well as those that are required for sports. School supplies that are $20 or less per item are eligible, with specific guidelines listed within the bill. Consumers may purchase any number of items.


Ohio is one of 19 states in the U.S. to create a sales tax exemption period. No states bordering Ohio have passed sales tax holiday legislation.


With the House’s passage, Senate Bill 226 now heads back to the Ohio Senate for a concurrence vote.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Retherford Announces Passage Of Law Creating Protections For Victims Of Sexual Crimes
H.B. 451 prevents the release of certain sensitive material in public records requests
March 21, 2018
 
 


COLUMBUS—State Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) today announced the passage of the Victims Privacy and Protection Act by the Ohio House of Representatives, legislation he sponsored. House Bill 451 excludes certain depictions of victims from being released in public records requests, removing the possibility of re-victimization in situations that are often already traumatizing.


H.B. 451 is common sense legislation that prevents sensitive and private material held by police departments and other agencies from being legally released in public records requests. The lack of protections within Ohio Public Records Law regarding compromising depictions of victims was revealed in a 2016 Ohio Supreme Court case, Caster vs. Columbus, to which H.B. 451 was drafted as a response. That case dealt with digital media that violates bodily privacy and its availability through records requests after conclusion of an initial trial.


Rep. Retherford made the following statement:


“Today, the House passed the Victims Privacy and Protection Act, moving us one step closer to ending a potentially dangerous loophole in our public records laws. By preventing public access to photos, videos and other images of victims of sexually oriented crimes, we not only prevent them from being re-victimized, but also offer an extra layer of protection that will encourage them to come forward about the crimes committed against them. This Buckeye Pathway bill is at the heart of our goal of making Ohio a better and safer place to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to presenting this legislation in the Senate.”


This legislation specifically prevents the release of visual depictions of a victim when the release would be considered an intrusion of bodily privacy, and in cases of sexually oriented offenses. Visual depictions of a victim may include photos, film, videotapes, digital images and visual or printed material.


House Bill 451 is a Buckeye Pathway bill, providing protections and security to Ohioans. It has support from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Having passed out of the House with bipartisan support, the bill now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
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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.