The year 2017 was a busy and productive one in the Ohio House of Representatives. Two bills that I sponsored were enacted into law, and a third bill has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.


Additionally, as the state enacted a new two-year state operating budget, I was tasked with chairing the House finance subcommittee which was charged with the allocation of state funds to local school districts. At the request of Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, I chaired a special Task Force on Education and Poverty, and I also served on the Speaker’s Task Force on Ohio Military Base Realignment and Closure.


House Bill 31 eliminated a number of defunct boards and commissions, including the Government Contracting Advisory Council, and eliminated the wasted hours spent on mandated meetings with no real purpose. In total, the bill abolished 13 non-functioning boards and commissions and reduced other unnecessary paper work. The bill passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and was signed by the Governor on Nov. 21, 2017.


A second bill I sponsored, House Bill 69, passed both chambers of the legislature with unanimous bi-partisan support. The bill protects certain township fire departments from losing funding from their fire and emergency services levies resulting from municipal tax increment financing districts (TIFs). It also makes some additional clarification to the TIF and joint economic development zones, and increases reimbursement payments made to counties, including Allen County, for the loss of sales tax revenue from the repeal of the state’s Medicaid managed care tax. The bill was signed by the Governor on Dec. 22, 2017.


House Bill 4, a third bill I sponsored, seeks to clarify statutory language specifying criminal penalties for dangerous drug offenses, including those relating to cocaine. It was introduced after an initial Ohio Supreme Court ruling effectively eliminated the stronger penalties for higher quantities of drugs involved in an offense. H.B. 4 passed the House unanimously in January, 2017 and is still under consideration by the Senate. Subsequently, the Supreme Court revised its decision but the need to clarify the statutory language, which is supported by the Ohio Attorney General, remains one of my priorities for 2018.


In addition to regular legislative action, the general assembly also enacted a new two-year state budget to fund state operations and programs for another two years. The budget was effective June 30, 2017, in time for the start of Ohio’s new fiscal year. The budget was delivered on time and was in financial balance – a nice contrast to the federal government’s budgeting practices. I chaired the House finance subcommittee that reviewed the primary and secondary portion of the budget. Although funds were in short supply for this budget, most area schools still received stable state funding which helps to hold down new local property tax needs. The budget appropriated an additional $90 million for schools, and almost 44% of all state tax revenue was allocated to school funding.


Starting in August, I chaired a special task force at the request of Speaker Cliff Rosenberger to explore effective ways to eliminate the gap in academic achievement for students living in poverty. The task force held meetings over four months and heard from a variety of individuals who have worked to eliminate the achievement gap, as well as those who have researched the issue. The task force will issue a report early in 2019 highlighting some strategies proven to be effective which the state could enhance and encourage in order to close the achievement gap and to provide all children the opportunity to compete and become successful, productive adults.


In July, I was named the chairman of the House standing committee on public utilities, where bills concerning the state’s public utilities are considered. Proposed changes in the law concerning electricity, telecommunications, and distribution of natural gas are some of the most interesting and challenging public policy issues today, and they affect every business and consumer in the state. I am pleased to have the opportunity to chair this very busy committee.


Finally, a separate task force on which I serve is focused on retaining Ohio’s military facilities. The task force visited the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima on Dec. 11, 2017, to take a firsthand look at this essential manufacturing facility and to discuss with the JSMC leadership how the state could be supportive in helping the facility survive any future Federal military base-closing efforts.


During this first year of the two-year 132nd General Assembly, much of the legislative time was consumed with the $65.4 billion budget appropriation process, although other important legislation was also considered. 2018 will focus on a range of legislative issues, as well as a new capital appropriations bill to fund the state’s infrastructure needs. 2018 promises to be another active state legislative year.

 
 
 
  
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Cupp Brings House Task Force On BRAC And Military Affairs To Joint Systems Manufacturing Center

 
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Today, State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and the Ohio Speaker’s Task Force on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Military Affairs visited the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) in Lima.



 
 

Representative Cupp Sworn In As State Representative Of The 4th House District

 
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State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. He represents the 4th Ohio House District, which comprises all of Allen County, for a second term.