COLUMBUS – State Representative Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Township) today was named Vice-Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee by Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.


The committee is the chief tax policy committee in the Ohio House.


“Protecting tax dollars is a top priority of mine as state representative,” LaRe said. “I appreciate Speaker Householder’s confidence in naming me to help lead this important committee.”


Representative LaRe also serves on the Agriculture and Rural Development, Insurance, and Transportation and Public Safety Committees.

 
 
  
[Pictured, left to right: Linda Fisher, Union County Neighbor to Neighbor (UCN2N) Volunteer Coordinator; Tessa Fite, UCN2N Program Manager; Jim Cesa, UCN2N Board Member, Representative Tracy Richardson]

COLUMBUS – Representative Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) today celebrated the creation of Good Neighbor Day in Ohio with staff from Union County Neighbor to Neighbor.


Representative Richardson sponsored House Resolution 222, which designates September 28, 2019 as Good Neighbor Day in Ohio.


Good Neighbor Day has been recognized federally since 1978, when President Carter issued Proclamation 4601.


Representative Richardson participated in a service request for assistance along with a local volunteer and Union County Neighbor to Neighbor Board Chair Holly Novak. The experience inspired her to pursue a resolution designating Good Neighbor Day in Ohio.


Union County Neighbor to Neighbor connects volunteers with seniors who need assistance such as transportation, home and yard maintenance, and coordinating with state and local services. They also help seniors stay connected to the community, offering outings such as book clubs, art classes, concerts in the park, and potluck dinners.


“I join with my fellow members of the Ohio House of Representatives in celebrating and encouraging all of us in the great State of Ohio to commit to helping one another and to building stronger communities,” said Representative Richardson.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) today announced his appointment by Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) to serve as the Chairman of the House Health committee.


During his time in the state legislature, Rep. Lipps has worked on a wide variety of issues including: Multi-System Youth, Direct Support Professionals salary increases, patient protections, prescription drug costs and more.


“I am honored to be appointed to the position of Chair of the Ohio House Health committee,” said Rep. Lipps. “I look forward to this new role and the opportunity to continue to work on health policy with the talented people who fight for these issues.”


Rep. Lipps is currently serving his second term in the Ohio House. He represents the 62nd Ohio House District, which includes most of Warren County.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) today announced that House Bill 46 has passed the Ohio House of Representatives. This legislation requires the Ohio Treasurer of State to create and maintain the Ohio State Government Expenditure Database, known colloquially as the “Ohio Checkbook,” in order to improve government transparency and accessibility for Ohioans.


“Making government more accessible and transparent for Ohioans and my constituents was a goal of mine when I first started on Cuyahoga County Council,” Greenspan said.  “I am excited to see this legislation pass out of the Ohio House.”


House Bill 46 passed the House unanimously by a vote of 90-0. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate where it awaits its formal introduction in that chamber and referral to a Senate committee.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— State Representative Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) today announced the Ohio House passage of House Bill 123, the Safety and Violence Education for Students Act (SAVE Students Act).  HB 123 is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning and Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald).


This legislation will ensure all schools serving grades 6-12 have a trained threat assessment team that works to address threats. It will also require schools serving grades 6-12 to administer annual youth violence prevention trainings each year and to train teachers on suicide awareness and prevention. In addition, the legislation requires each school district to contract with an anonymous reporting system. Students are able to anonymously report threats or safety concerns to officials so they can be addressed in a timely manner. Lastly, the bill requires school buildings serving grades 6-12 to establish a student led violence prevention club.


“As a retired teacher, mother, and grandmother, I understand the importance of giving our children the tools and resources they need to be safe, both mentally and physically,” said Rep. Manning. “Safety and mental health care should be addressed, as they are vital to students’ success. HB 123 is a great piece of legislation that works to better the lives of our students.”


The SAVE for Students Act, HB 123, passed the Ohio House and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) today announced a screening panel to review candidates wishing to fill the 29th District seat in Ohio House of Representatives.


The seat, which covers part of southwestern Hamilton County, will become vacant due to the pending resignation of State Representative Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain Township), who has been recommended for appointment to a seat in the Ohio Senate.


“Representative Blessing has been an outstanding advocate for his constituents and I am confident that commitment to community will continue in the Ohio Senate,” Householder said. “We appreciate his work through the years in the House and wish him the best in his new role as state senator.”


Householder has tapped Representatives Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout), Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton), William Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) to serve on the screening committee.


Individuals residing in the 29th District interested in being considered for appointment to the unexpired term, which runs through December 2020, should email a cover letter and resume to Rep72@OhioHouse.gov by noon on October 7th. Interviews will be conducted on October 8th.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – State Representatives Phil Plummer and D.J. Swearingen today proposed legislation to improve our current firearms background check process and close gaps in state law to help local law enforcement and prosecutors better protect Ohioans.


“Ohio’s background check process is undermined by gaps, inconsistencies and delays in the data being submitted,” said Plummer (R-Dayton), who served for 10 years as Montgomery County sheriff. “This legislation establishes clear, consistent guidelines for our current background check process, detailing what needs to be reported, when it needs to be reported and who is responsible for reporting it.”


Plummer said accurate, timely data – entered into the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by local and state law enforcement, courts and mental health professionals – is critical to the effectiveness of NICS, which is used to conduct background checks for firearms purchases.


Currently, for example, an individual indicted for a violent felony, or a stalker against whom a restraining order has been issued, can pass a background check, because there is no requirement that those issues be reported to NICS. That would change under this legislation. 


Up-to-date information is also critical, which is why the bill would require that criminal convictions, mental health adjudications, warrants, indictments and certain court orders be entered into NICS within one business day. Indictments, warrants and court orders that have been resolved would have to be removed from NICS by the next business day as well.


Entities which are late in filing or updating data would be fined.


In addition to data submitted by local and state entities in Ohio, a NICS background check also queries federally-reported data, such as whether an individual has renounced their citizenship or been dishonorably discharged, as well as information from other states.


The plan announced today also calls for Ohio to develop a new streamlined reporting portal, which would be used by all state and local entities in Ohio to supply data to the existing NICS background check system. Currently, data is entered into one of three different systems, causing redundant or incomplete information to be filed. The bill provides $10 million for Innovate Ohio to develop the new portal.


“We cannot rely on a process that relies on redundant or incomplete information,” said Swearingen (R-Huron). “The new guidelines in this legislation, coupled with the creation of a new reporting portal, will bring our current background check process into the 21st Century. It will be a one-stop shop that ensures all data is accurate, complete and up-to-date.”


Swearingen added that the legislation includes $2.4 million annually for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which would run the new portal, to create a NICS data compliance team to help local agencies implement and manage the new system.


“We really want to make sure we are supporting our local government partners on this project,” Swearingen said.


The state auditor would be tasked with monitoring local agency compliance and publish quarterly lists of entities not in compliance with the new reporting guidelines, with the goal being to encourage compliance.


The legislation also closes a number of gaps and inconsistencies between state and federal law outlining who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. For example, federal law already prohibits a person convicted of domestic violence from possessing or purchasing a weapon, but Ohio law does not.


The bill also includes a “pink slip” provision that would modify the definition of “mental illness” to include those who suffer from a moderate or severe substance use disorder that has been diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional.


Under the bill, any such diagnosis would have to be made using the definitions and guidelines included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition) published by the American Psychiatric Association.


The provision would provide law enforcement and mental health professionals with the tools necessary to ensure those with mental illness have access to emergency services, ensuring public safety.


Finally, the bill includes two juvenile law related changes.


First, the bill increases, from age 23 to 28, the age at which most sexual and violent juvenile offenders’ records remain on file before they are expunged. They would continue to be sealed but available to law enforcement and the courts, as is the case under current law


Second, the bill prohibits people who as juveniles were adjudicated as delinquent for violent or sexually-oriented crimes from possessing firearms until their record is expunged.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— State Representative Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) today announced Ohio’s New Manufacturing Mentorship Program, which was included in the state budget this year.


Through the new Ohio Manufacturing Mentorship Program students ages 16 and 17 will be allowed to work part-time in a manufacturing facility under the guidance of a mentor. This program, which Rep. Romanchuk sponsored in the budget, will provide current high school students with real experience and exposure to manufacturing careers.


“In this year’s budget cycle I wanted to tackle the growing need for manufacturing workers in our state,” said Rep. Romanchuk. “Under this program high school students will get to see firsthand what a good-paying career in manufacturing is like, and it is my hope that many manufacturing employers will take part in the program.”


The program will be effective soon. They are currently implementing rules with the Ohio Department of Commerce.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) today announced a screening panel to review candidates wishing to fill the vacant 93rd House District seat, which includes Gallia and Jackson counties, most of Lawrence County and part of Vinton County.


The vacancy is due to the pending resignation of State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who is resigning to become president of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. His resignation is effective October 3rd.


“We appreciate Representative Smith’s service in the People’s House,” Householder said. “He has been a strong advocate for lifelong education for Ohio’s Appalachian region and I believe he has the experience to excel in his new role.”


Householder has tapped Republican Representatives Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester), Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton), Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) to serve on the screening committee.


Individuals interested in being considered for appointment to the unexpired term in the 93rd House District should email a cover letter and resume to Rep72@OhioHouse.gov by October 4th. Interviews will be conducted on October 7th.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today unveiled the last four committee rooms to be equipped with cameras.


Today’s announcement means all nine House committee hearing rooms are now equipped with cameras. Prior to this year, only one hearing room had cameras.


The installation of cameras and livestreaming of committee hearings is one of several reforms Householder led after becoming Speaker of the Ohio House in January. Other changes include reforming House rules to make the legislative process more open and collaborative, and improving human resources operations.


“Providing live camera access for committees in the Ohio House – the People’s House – is long overdue,” Speaker Householder said. “Ohioans will now be able to see their representatives at work even when they are not able to be here in person. The livestream and video archives will allow our citizens to access their government from anywhere. I am happy we were able to complete this process and get these cameras installed as House committees reconvene from summer recess.”


“Government transparency should never be a partisan issue and House Democrats have pushed for cameras in committee rooms for many years,” said Leader Sykes. “Taxpayers have a right to know what is happening in their statehouses and allowing a live look into the legislative process is key for ethical governing. That is why I was proud to work across the aisle with Speaker Householder to see this historic transition to fruition. With these much-needed reforms in transparency, Ohio taxpayers will now be better able to engage with and access their state government and elected officials.”

 
 
  
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