Guest Column From State Representative Retherford
Legislative Goals in 2017 Continue through the New Year
January 10, 2018
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It was a busy 2017 for many, including in the Ohio House. In addition to drafting, deliberating, and ultimately passing the state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, we had multiple task forces traveling the state to learn more about Ohio’s most urgent issues and passed many bills that aligned with our policy platform, the Buckeye Pathway. Our goals during this legislative term have been to improve the economic environment, enhance opportunities for all Ohioans, and strengthen families and communities.

Developing a state budget that both prioritized responsible spending and contributed to quality lives for all Ohioans was a top focus. With tax revenues coming in under estimates, we had to consider essential services and critical issues while restraining spending. I’m proud of the budget we put forth, which ensured that a majority of schools would not lose state funding while increasing per-pupil funds as well. We also invested $180 million in new money towards the opioid epidemic under the HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety) Agenda. We accomplished all of this without raising taxes.

The budget covered a number of other matters that are crucial to the operation of the state, but it is only a portion of the work we’ve done this year. Several months ago, the Speaker announced the creation of five bipartisan task forces that would be responsible for researching and addressing a specific policy area. The task forces focused on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Education and Poverty, BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) and Military Affairs, Energy, and HOPES. These groups have met with concerned Ohioans, local officials, and policy experts to get more insight into the biggest problems our state is facing.

We’ve also passed many pieces of legislation that make up the founding values of the Buckeye Pathway. From expanding access to epinephrine to better preparing the state in the event of a natural disaster, our work has been solely focused on making Ohio a better place for you and your family to live, work, and raise a family. We want Ohio to be a place where people put down roots and commit to a life of community contributions.

The year has come to an end, but our dedication to legislating for the good of the people never fails. I’m looking forward to continuing along this line to do more for you and the rest of the 51st House District at the Statehouse in 2018. It is a new year, but our goals remain the same.

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