COLUMBUS - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) released today a list of 44 states that have a defined timeline for getting a driver's license after establishing residency.

The Ohio Senate recently voted unanimously to add a 30-day requirement for new residents to obtain a license, seeking to clarify guidance from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that new residents obtain a driver’s license “as soon as possible” after establishing residency.  At least 44 states have a defined timeline ranging anywhere from immediately to one year, with most states setting 30 days. 

“This is standard practice nationwide, and Ohio is a clear outlier on this requirement,” said Faber.  “The Senate added a provision in the new transportation budget that simply says if you declare residency in Ohio and plan to drive here, you should get an Ohio driver's license within 30 days.  This had unanimous, bipartisan support before Democratic Party operatives tried to turn it into a phony political controversy.” 

Faber released the attached list of states amid partisan accusations that the provision impacts voter registration.

“This has nothing to do with voter registration, except that Ohio law already considers voter registration to be a declaration of residency,” Faber added.  “All this does is establish a 30-day timeline for new residents to get a driver’s license.  It’s a practical, common sense policy, and we’re all getting pretty tired of the bogus voter suppression scare tactics being peddled by attention-seeking Democrats who only want to get their name in the paper.”

The Senate will vote on Wednesday to accept a final version of the transportation budget, which includes the license timeline, sending the bill to the governor for his signature.

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) announced today a joint agreement to provide live broadcasting of the Senate Finance Committee’s upcoming budget hearings. 

Coverage of the committee will be provided by The Ohio Channel, a service of Ohio’s public broadcasting stations.  The leaders of all four legislative caucuses signed the joint agreement authorizing the new broadcasts. 

“Technology gives us the ability to let every Ohioan participate in the legislative process without making a trip to the Statehouse,” said President Faber.  “I commend our colleagues in the House for leading the way on this, and we look forward to joining them in providing better access to the people’s work.  If this project is successful, I hope we can look for other opportunities to expand live, unedited coverage of the Ohio Senate in action.”

Leader Schiavoni added, “As a strong believer in open government, I am pleased the Ohio Senate has taken this significant step forward in keeping the citizens of Ohio informed.  This will be a valuable public service to Ohioans who are unable to travel to the Statehouse to attend budget hearings in person.”

Senators Faber and Schiavoni also credited Shane Stegmiller, president of the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association, for his work on behalf of the Statehouse press corps to encourage adoption of the broadcasting policy, as well as Dan Shellenbarger, executive director of the Ohio Channel, for his efforts to oversee the implementation and production of the new programming.

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The Senate will consider the following during today’s session (1:30p):

  • Moment of Silence: The Senate will have a moment of silence recognizing the three-year anniversary of the tragedy that devastated the Chardon community on February 27, 2012. 
  • Business Filing Fees: Sponsored by Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina), Senate Bill 26 reduces Ohio's business filing fees by more than 20 percent, saving Ohio employers approximately $2 million annually. The legislation also provides Ohio companies broader access to the state's job database, OhioMeansJobs.com. 
  • Access to Tax Credits: Sponsored by Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), House Bill 19 incorporates recent changes to the federal tax code into Ohio's income tax law. The legislation ensures that Ohioans have access to available tax credits and is written as an emergency measure so credits may be taken advantage of in this tax year. This measure is estimated to save Ohio taxpayers more than $22 million.
 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator and Senate Education Chair Peggy Lehner (R–Kettering) today announced the creation of a Senate Advisory Committee on Testing. The committee will be made up of various educational experts from across the state and will make recommendations to the Senate on state required assessments.

"We hear the anxiety and confusion the new state tests have created for students, their families and teachers," Lehner said. "For this reason, we have assembled a group of top teachers, school leaders, curriculum specialists and other experts to help inform the Senate as to what policies and tests add the most value to our children's education. I look forward to their insight and recommendations."

The committee will be evaluating the administration of the new tests given to students in the 2014-2015 school year and make recommendations to the Senate on how to improve state testing. Committee members were announced today and include the following:

Teachers:
Dar Borradaile, Miami Valley Career and Technical Center
Melissa Cropper, Georgetown Exempted Village Schools
Amy Holbrook, Mad River Local Schools
Kimberly Jones, Columbus City Schools
Shari Obrenski, Cleveland City Schools
Billie Sarich, Grandview Heights City Schools
Kay Wait, Toledo City Schools

Superintendents:
Adrian Allison, Canton City Schools
Jan Broughton, Fairfield Union Local Schools
April Domine, New Albany Plain Local Schools
John Marschhausen, Hilliard City Schools
Keith Millard, Hamilton City Schools
Paul Imhoff, Upper Arlington City Schools

Curriculum and Testing Specialists:
Cheryl Irish, Miami University
Machelle Kline, Columbus City Schools
Jim Mahoney, Battelle for Kids
Char Shryock, Bay Village Schools
Julie Sellers, Cincinnati City Schools

State Board of Education:
Michael Collins
Todd Jones

Other Educational Experts:
Earl Oremus, Marburn Academy
Andy Boy, United Schools Network
Jessica Voltolini, Ohio Department of Education
Chris Knight, Catholic Schools, Diocese of Toledo
Parent representative, to be announced

Senate Members:
Senate Education Chair Senator Peggy Lehner
Senate Education Vice-Chair Senator Cliff Hite
Senate Education Ranking Member Tom Sawyer

The committee will convene later this month and is expected to issue their first report and recommendations later this spring.

The Senate also today unanimously passed H.B. 7 which protects students taking tests for the 2014-2015 school year from unforeseen consequences as schools transition to the new state assessment model. The legislation was amended by the Senate to ensure schools do not lose state aid for students not taking tests this school year and prohibits students from losing an EdChoice scholarship, Jon Peterson scholarship, Cleveland scholarship or Autism scholarship due to opting out. 

 
 
  

The Senate will consider the following during today’s session (1:30p):

Providing Safe Harbor for Students: Sponsored by Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville), House Bill 7 protects students taking tests for the 2014-2015 school year from unforeseen consequences as schools transitions to the new state assessment model. The legislation was amended by the Senate to ensure schools do not lose state aid for students not taking tests this school year.

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

The Ohio Senate's Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony this week from the parents of a LaGrange teen who died from a caffeine overdose. The couple spoke in support of legislation introduced by Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) to ban the sale of pure caffeine products. 


Dennis and Kate Stiner appeared before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday in support of Senate Bill 7, which seeks to prohibit a person from knowingly selling or offering for sale a pure caffeine product containing over 250 milligrams of caffeine.

"Their strength and resolve in preventing this from happening to other Ohio families is unwavering," said Manning. "We are grateful for their efforts in championing this legislation."

Logan Stiner died in May 2014 from a lethal caffeine overdose. He was days away from graduating high school. 

The proposed legislation would make it illegal to sell pure caffeine products in Ohio. If passed, the sale of pure caffeine products could result in a minor misdemeanor on a first offense and third degree misdemeanors for each subsequent offense.

Senate Bill 7 is awaiting a third hearing before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. 

 
 
  
President Faber presents a resolution to the Marion Local High School football team in the Senate Chamber
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and State Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) yesterday recognized the the Marion Local and Minster High School football teams for capturing the Ohio High School Athletic Association's 2014 state titles. 

“The Midwest Athletic Conference once again delivered two more state football championships,” Buchy said. “I was honored to recognize the efforts of the players on the Minster and Marion Local Football teams.  These athletes have shown their superior nature.”

"This is the fourth year in a row that the Marion Local Flyers have been state champions in Division VII for football. But these gentlemen are not just athletes, they are truly scholars. Their overall team G.P.A. is over 3.2. Marion Local is a National Blue Ribbon school of distinction, one of the best in the country," said Faber.

Marion Local, coached by Tim Goodwin, won the 2014 Division VII state title on December 6, 2014 by defeating Norwalk St. Paul 41-0 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The Flyers outscored their opponents 656-88 this season and currently hold a 37 game winning streak. 

Addressing Minster coach Geron Stokes, Faber said, "These young men are phenomenal, their team G.P.A. is 3.5. Coach, this is a great team, and you've got to be proud of these young men. We compliment you and your team on a great season. I ask them to continue doing great work academically and continue to be mentors and leaders to all of the other kids in the school district."
 
The Minster Wildcats won the 2014 Division VI state title on December 5, 2014 by defeating Kirkland High School 46-42 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The state crown is Minster's first in football since 1989.

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 1 today, sponsored by State Senators Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) and Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), which continues the state's effort to fight toxic algae in Ohio waterways and ensure clean drinking water for Ohioans. 

The legislation helps the state more effectively monitor and respond to water quality issues and bans the application of fertilizer on frozen and over-saturated ground in vulnerable water basins. 

Senate Bill 1 also requires the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to designate a coordinator of harmful algae management and response to oversee statewide coordination. 

"This is a comprehensive bill that takes a science-based, holistic approach to the factors contributing to algal bloom growth," said Peterson. "I appreciate the partnership of the lake, agriculture and environmental communities to get this done."
 
The bill also contains, for the first time, an emergency clause to allow Senate Bill 1 to become effective on the day Governor John Kasich signs it.

Governor Kasich issued an executive order last week to protect against the Army Corps of Engineers' open-lake disposal of Cuyahoga River dredge material into Lake Erie. 

Senate Bill 1 now goes to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.  

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley) today introduced legislation aimed at modernizing Ohio’s voter registration process by implementing an online registration system.
 
Senate Bill 63 would update Ohio’s process, as has been done in nearly half of the other U.S. states, by creating a secure, online voter registration system in addition to the current paper process.
 
The traditional paper registration system would still remain an option for voters who prefer that method under LaRose’s plan.
 
“Online voter registration will improve the accuracy of our voter records, reduce the potential for fraud and protect voter privacy, all while reducing costs to the taxpayer,” said LaRose. “Most importantly, online registration will be more convenient for Ohio’s citizens, thus increasing citizens' access to the ballot box, which is a victory for good government and a victory for democracy."
 
Twenty-four states have already authorized an online registration system, including Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia and New York.
 
Data suggests an online registration system can save the state between 50 cents and $1.00 on each registration. In a December 2014 publication, the non-partisan National Conference on State Legislatures reported the State of Arizona saved 80 cents per voter registration after switching to online registration.
 
The three states with the longest history of electronic voter registration, Arizona, Washington and Kansas, have found no report of fraudulent activity or security threats. The modernized registration process also promises to aid in creating more accurate voter rolls by reducing the possibility of clerical and human errors.
 
Online voter registration has been a top priority for Secretary of State Jon Husted and the Ohio Association of Elections Officials (OAEO), which is a bi-partisan group of elections administration officers from across the state.
 
Senate Bill 63 received its first consideration by the upper chamber during Wednesday’s session and will soon be referred to a Senate Committee for further deliberation. 

 
 
  

The Senate will consider the following during today’s session (1:30p):

  • Protecting Ohio's Water Supply: Sponsored by Senators Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House), Senate Bill 1 continues the state's effort to fight toxic algae in Ohio's waterways and ensure clean drinking water for Ohioans. This initiative helps the state more effectively monitor and respond to water quality issues and bans the application of fertilizer on frozen and over-saturated ground in our most vulnerable water basins. 
 
 
  
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Ohio One Of Only Six States Without Timeline For New Residents To Obtain Driver's License

 
COLUMBUS - 

“The Senate added a provision in the new transportation budget that simply says if you declare residency in Ohio and plan to drive here, you should get an Ohio driver's license within 30 days.  This had unanimous, bipartisan support before Democratic Party operatives tried to turn it into a phony political controversy," said Faber.



 
 

Senate Announces Plan To Broadcast Budget Committee Hearings

 
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber and Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni announced today a joint agreement to provide live broadcasting of the Senate Finance Committee’s upcoming budget hearings. 



 
 

Wednesday, March 11th In The Ohio Senate

 

The Senate will consider the following during today’s session (1:30p):

  • Moment of Silence
  • Business Filing Fees
  • Access to Tax Credits


 
 

Lehner Announces Formation And Members Of Senate Advisory Committee On Testing

 
STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator and Senate Education Chair Peggy Lehner today announced the creation of a Senate Advisory Committee on Testing. The committee will be made up of various educational experts from across the state and will make recommendations to the Senate on state required assessments.