COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) today welcomed Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Robin Vos to the Ohio Statehouse to discuss goals and themes for the 132nd General Assembly including joint legislative efforts between the Ohio House and Wisconsin State Assembly.

"It was a privilege to welcome Speaker Vos and members of the Wisconsin State Assembly to the Statehouse today," Rosenberger said. "Our two states have a lot in common and are facing many of the same issues, so their knowledge and input was greatly welcomed and valued. The topics discussed today are top priorities for the Ohio House Republican Caucus, such as addressing the needs of our aging population, focusing on the importance of federalism, and combating the effects of the heroin and opioid epidemic. Our system of government provides tremendous opportunities for states to work together, and today was a great example of how we can learn from one another to shape better policy and help the residents of our respective states.”

"While Wisconsin and Ohio are different in many ways, our states face similar issues and have leaders with a strong resolve in addressing them," said Speaker Vos, who was joined by Wisconsin State Assembly members State Representatives Mike Rohrkaste and Tyler Vorpagel. "We also have a shared interest in having the federal government give states more power to innovate."

Joined by members of the caucus, Speaker Rosenberger discussed major themes of this General Assembly, which includes battling the state’s drug epidemic, focusing on the needs of Ohio’s aging population, defending states’ rights and promoting interstate relations.

The state’s opioid epidemic continues to plague communities across the state. The Ohio House has taken a proactive role in curbing abuse through increasing resources, shutting down pill mills, streamlining the state’s OARRS (Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System) and providing treatment options for the addicted. Today, Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) discussed future efforts and Ohio HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety), which works to address the issue in a long-term way.

“Hearing from Speaker Vos about what Wisconsin is doing to address the heroin issue allowed us to learn new and innovative ideas,” said Representative Sprague. “As iron sharpens iron, both states are going to have greater opportunities to improve our legislative initiatives as result.”

As the state’s population continues to age, the Ohio House is working to address the needs of senior citizens. In Ohio, 16 percent of the population is over 65 years old and by 2040, a projected 2.32 million Ohioans will be over 65. Rep. Steven Arndt (R-Port Clinton) discussed his work on this topic as chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee.

“For the first time in recent history at the Ohio House, we are taking a look at how we can improve the lives of our seniors,” Arndt said. “Ohio has a rapidly aging population, and we need to ensure, as a state, that our seniors are living out their golden years in safety and dignity.”

Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) has been appointed to chair of the Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee. The committee has been discussing the importance of the Tenth Amendment within the context of today’s laws and issues. With the creation of this committee, the Ohio House is renewing its focus, in partnership with Wisconsin, on federalism.

“The Tenth Amendment specifies that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states,” Rep. Roegner said. “I am delighted with our renewed focus on federalism, the elegant construct created by our founding fathers.”

Wisconsin State Assembly leaders joined Speaker Rosenberger and other members throughout the day to discuss how they can continue to share ideas and build relations through interstate partnerships on various policy areas. 

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