COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) today joined Terra State Community College to announce a new scholarship for 2018 high school graduates, the Workforce Demand Scholarship.


With this scholarship, the institution will provide for up to an Associate’s Degree tuition-free for students majoring in a high-demand job field, such as manufacturing engineering, health information technology, computer systems, and more. The scholarship will pay the remaining cost for tuition and other fees after state and federal grants and other scholarships are applied.


“Workforce continues to be a serious issue for the 88th House District,” said Reineke. “This scholarship program provides an amazing opportunity for constituents to learn new skills that will set them on an in-demand career path, with little to no debt. I’m extremely proud of Terra State for offering this type of scholarship.”


To be eligible for the Workforce Demand Scholarship, students must graduate high school in 2018, complete the scholarship application by March 1, complete the FAFSA, and develop an academic plan and register for classes by June 15, 2018.

 
 
  
 
Legislators Announce Reagan Tokes Act
Bill to make reforms to Ohio's criminal justice system
September 27, 2017
 
 
Rep. Hughes speaks about the Reagan Tokes Act as Reagan's mother, Lisa, and father, Toby, stand in support
COLUMBUS - 

A bipartisan group of legislators today announced plans to introduce legislation named after Ohio State student Reagan Tokes. The Reagan Tokes Act will make reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system in order to address certain shortfalls that could have prevented the 21-year-old’s murder.


State Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) will introduce the legislation this week alongside joint sponsor State Representative Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), with State Senators Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) and Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) also introducing legislation in the Ohio Senate. Reagan’s parents, Lisa McCrary-Tokes and Toby Tokes, were also in attendance at the press conference to show their support for the legislation.


“The entire OSU and Columbus community was devastated by the news of Reagan’s death,” said Representative Hughes. “As a bright, young, intelligent, hardworking student, she was taken from this earth much too early. Through various updates to Ohio’s criminal justice system, it is our goal that the Reagan Tokes Act will prevent something like this from happening again in the future.”


The proposed legislation will address four key areas within Ohio’s criminal justice system:



  • Makes sentences indeterminate for first and second degree felonies, and third degree violent felonies, which gives judges more discretion for sentencing

  • Requires the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) to create and recommend a reentry program for violent and dangerous felons not accepted into other reentry programs such as Alvis House or Oriana House

  • Requires the DRC to establish parole officer guidelines, including a minimum number of hours that an officer must dedicate to a parolee, which will ensure proper oversight for all parolees

  • Creates a new policy for offender GPS monitoring in order to better identify suspicious activity based on the offender’s location


Reagan Tokes was kidnapped, raped, and killed on February 8, 2017 after leaving work in the Short North.  The man charged with her death had to be identified by DNA evidence from a cigarette butt left in Reagan’s car, even though he was on parole and being monitored by a GPS tracker. Evidence from his GPS tracker later linked him to six additional crimes of armed robbery that took place over several weeks only a short distance from where Reagan was abducted. 


It was also discovered that Reagan’s killer had previously applied to reentry programs in the central Ohio area following his initial release from prison, but his application was rejected.


“What happened to Reagan is a tragedy, and it is a shame that it takes such a horrific incident to motivate making the necessary changes to keep our communities safe,” Representative Boggs said. “It is my hope that the Reagan Tokes Act not only addresses the shortfalls identified in our criminal justice system, but develops the infrastructure to continually review and improve upon our polices before another senseless tragedy occurs.”


Following formal introduction in the coming week, the legislation will be referred to House and Senate committees for further deliberation.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) was among a diverse group of public leaders to participate in a roundtable discussion today that focused on overcoming Ohio’s drug epidemic.


The discussion, organized by Richard Baum, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, provided an opportunity to bring together the wide variety of viewpoints and backgrounds that are needed to solve the drug crisis. It featured input from local, state and federal officials, as well as representation from law enforcement, courts, mental health, faith-based groups and families that have been impacted by addiction.


"I am grateful to Director Baum and Attorney General DeWine for allowing me to participate in today's roundtable discussion,” Carfagna said. “There is a strong nexus between addiction and mental illness and we need to do more as a state and country to intervene at the K-12 level. Half of all chronic mental illness manifests itself by the age of 14, with three quarters of all mental illness arriving by age 24. By identifying the warning signs early, we can prevent youth in our state from struggling in school, turning to substance abuse, and eventually committing crimes."

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

Ohio House Speaker Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced the creation of a working group to review and reform Ohio’s congressional redistricting process.


State Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) will co-chair the working group. Leaders of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses have been invited to participate, but at this point have yet to select a member for the panel. 


The working group will review current law, explore possible reforms, gather public input and make recommendations to the legislative leaders by early December. The General Assembly would then consider whether to proceed with a redistricting reform resolution to place before Ohio voters. The deadline for considering such a proposal on the 2018 primary election ballot is February 7, however the General Assembly has the authority to put a proposal on the ballot at any date of its choosing.


“Redistricting has been an issue that several states, including Ohio, have been giving a closer look at in recent years,” said Speaker Rosenberger. “With the responsibility of redrawing congressional districts quickly approaching, we feel the issue deserves thorough review and consideration, with the goal of finding common-sense reforms that will lead to a redistricting process that all interested parties can agree on. I believe the creation of this panel, which I hope will be bipartisan, will yield an open exchange of ideas and input from varying perspectives.”


“I'm confident we can have a meaningful, bipartisan conversation about redistricting that can potentially show us a path forward to reform,” said Senate President Obhof. “I know that because we've been here before, particularly in the Senate, where we've been able to pass bipartisan congressional redistricting reforms twice in the last decade.  I'm hopeful this dialogue will lead us again to a fair, constitutional process that we can take to Ohioans for consideration.”


The working group is expected to begin holding meetings as soon as this month. Specific details on times and locations will be forthcoming.

 

Related Content

 
 
  
Rep. Gavarone urges support for HB 235
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation that would give the legislature additional oversight regarding the state’s education plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA).


House Bill 235, sponsored by Rep. Gavarone, requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to submit a written copy of the state plan required by ESSA to each member of the House and Senate education committees. This plan must be submitted no later than 30 days before it is implemented.


“Giving the legislature more oversight over something as important as the state’s education plan is one of the best things we can do for our constituents,” Gavarone said.  “This will allow the people of Wood County and the rest of Ohio to play an even bigger role in the state’s education policy and I applaud my colleagues for passing this legislation out of the House.”


The bill also includes a measure that would prohibit ODE from putting the plan into effect should the legislature disapprove the plan through a concurrent resolution.


House Bill 235 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
Rep. Merrin urges "yes" vote on the floor of the House
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio House today passed House Bill 116, sponsored by State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), which eliminates the sales and use tax on eyeglasses, frames and contacts.


Eyeglasses and corrective contacts significantly improve Ohio lives—enabling many to maintain employment, learn, live safely, and have mobility. House Bill 116 would save taxpayers an estimated $29 million annually, but more importantly it would benefit families struggling to pay for a basic medical necessity that helps the youngest of Ohioans.


“It’s a big win to reduce Ohio’s tax burden and make prescription eyewear more affordable for Ohioans,” Merrin said.


It is important to eliminate the financial tax burden on prescribed, life-enhancing products. Corrective vision products are pivotal to many children’s educational experience. Poor vision can lead to academic struggles that can have life-long consequences.


Prescription eyewear is the only prescribed medical product sold in traditional retail stores that is taxed in Ohio. Almost all prescription goods in Ohio are exempt from the sales and use tax. The exceptions are dental prostheses, the sale of medical oxygen-dispensing equipment, and hospital beds unless purchased by a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility.                                                                                                                         


House Bill 116 will save taxpayer dollars while creating a simpler and fair taxation structure on prescriptions. Including Ohio, only 14 states impose a tax on prescription eyewear. Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia have all eliminated the tax, putting Ohio retailers at a significant disadvantage.


House Bill 116 passed in a vote of 93-1 with bipartisan support and awaits further consideration from the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
Chairman Sprague is joined by Reps. Gavarone and Arndt to hear from those on the front lines of the opioid fight
COLUMBUS - 

Last week, the Speaker’s Task Force on H.O.P.E.S. (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety) held its first meeting at Bowling Green State University in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Building.


The task force, chaired by State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), heard from a variety of public officials, providers, and local advocates on the issue of Ohio’s opioid addiction crisis. Chair Robert Sprague was joined by State Representatives Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton), Scott Ryan (R-Newark), Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick), and State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green).


“We had a great start on our statewide sprint to uncover innovation and workable solutions for the heroin epidemic,” said Rep. Sprague. “We won’t give up until we’ve formed back the tide of fentanyl and heroin surging into neighborhoods across the state.  We’re focused on local innovation and looking for results.”


The task force is slated to hold meetings across the state in order to hear from officials, law enforcement, providers, the public, and other experts to get feedback and new policy solutions on addressing the addiction epidemic.


“I appreciate the leadership shown by Speaker Rosenberger and Chairman Sprague on this issue,” Gavarone said.  “I believe we learned a lot from the officials and constituents in my district who participated, and I look forward to continuing to learn from others across the state as these meetings continue.”


The next meeting of the task force will be held in Cleveland at MetroHealth on October 2nd

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) today presented a resolution honoring Krystal Albright for winning the 2017 Ohio State Cycling Championship during the Special Olympics Summer Games this past June in Columbus.


Albright swept all three races making up the cycling event, placing first in the 1-mile, 3-mile and 5-mile races. This is the fourth time that Albright has claimed the top prize in the cycling event after also earning first in 2013, 2014 and 2016.


“Krystal has shown her love for cycling through hard work and determination,” said Riedel. “She is an impressive athlete who lets nothing stand in her way. She has shown strength and has set a standard that all Ohioans can strive towards. I am proud she represented the 82nd House District in the 2017 Special Olympics Summer Games.”


There are currently over 26,000 athletes who participate in Special Olympics Ohio, with an estimated 10 percent advancing to Ohio’s annual State Summer Games.


Riedel presented a resolution to Albright during today’s Ohio House session with her parents, Kevin and Nancy Albright, by her side.

 
 
  

 


COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Ryan (R-Granville) today announced the unanimous passage of the Disaster Relief Act, legislation he sponsored that will exempt out-of-state businesses and employees from certain taxes when they come to Ohio for disaster-related work.


 


In the event of a declared disaster by the United States President or the Governor of Ohio, House Bill 133 will exempt communications and infrastructure companies, utilities, and other qualifying entities from state and municipal income taxes, state and local use taxes, the commercial activity tax, and occupational licensing requirements during a declared disaster. This exemption will allow businesses to deploy resources faster and more quickly make repairs.


 


“Although we have worked on this bill for approximately 18 months, recent unfortunate events in Texas and Florida illustrate the need for us to be ready,” said Ryan. “Just today, I was told of a relief company that was forced to leave Texas and head for Florida due to unnecessary government bureaucracy.”


 


House Bill 133 will eliminate red tape for out-of-state companies looking to help in disaster work should a disaster occur in Ohio.


 


The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.


 
 
  
Rep. Butler announces plan with support from the House Majority Leadership Team
COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) held a press conference today to announce recently introduced legislation that will create a new and innovative model for curing major diseases. Rep. Butler was joined by members of the House Majority Leadership team, including Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Assistant Majority Floor Leader Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township).


The Cure Bill, House Bill 345, will create a multistate compact, with Ohio as its charter member. In this compact, member states will work together to drastically increase financial incentives for any and all organizations that discover reliable and verifiable cures of major diseases.


“Pharmaceutical companies currently have no real incentive to cure us, only to treat us,” said Rep. Butler. “Government and charity research is generally focused on incremental, scientific advances.  Neither approach will result in a major cure.  We have not cured a major disease since polio over fifty years ago.  I truly believe that America has the resources and capacity to aggressively pursue and discover cures to some of the most devastating diseases we face.  The only obstacle standing in the way in our current system is the absence of incentives, which House Bill 345 seeks to correct.  I’d like to thank Speaker Rosenberger, as well as Reps. Schuring, Seitz and LaTourette for standing with me in support of this important legislation.”


The Cure Bill will set up a multistate compact to offer prizes for curing major diseases equal to five years of taxpayer savings.  After several states have joined, the amount of prize money for a disease like Alzheimer’s, for example, would be over $10 billion – enough to incentivize the private sector to fund true, cure-driven research.  If there is no cure, then there is no payment from states, so taxpayers have no risk.  This innovative new model has the potential to cure major diseases in the very near future, once sufficient prizes have been established and companies and organizations have large enough incentives to fund cure-driven research.


“In Ohio, we strive to be leaders in ground-breaking developments, especially in the healthcare industry,” said Speaker Rosenberger. “I was glad to join with Rep. Butler and members of our leadership team today to discuss this bill in detail and to stress that innovative thinking such as this has the potential to solve some of our state’s biggest challenges.”

 
 
  
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Rep. Ryan Smith Announced As Chair Of House Finance Committee

 
COLUMBUS - 

Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today announced that State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) will continue to serve as Chairman of the House Finance Committee for the 132nd General Assembly, after previously serving as chair in the 131st General Assembly.



 
 

Governor Kasich Signs Legislation Providing Workers' Compensation Eligibility For Firefighters At Risk For Cancer

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) today applauded Governor Kasich’s signing of Senate Bill 27, legislation that creates presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation for firefighters diagnosed with cancer. Rep. Patton sponsored the legislation during the 131st General Assembly as a member of the Ohio Senate.



 
 

Rep. Dever Announces Start Of Round Two Of The Application Process For Local Government Safety Capital Grants

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) today announced that the Local Government Innovation Council will begin accepting applications for the second round of the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program. Initiated by the Ohio House of Representatives and included in the state operating budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, these grants can help to fund public safety projects in local communities throughout Ohio, including those in the 28th House District.



 
 

Milestone Reached To Bring Grocer To Vinton County

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today announced that preliminary terms between the Finance Fund and Campbell’s Market have been agreed upon to bring a grocery store to Vinton County.