COLUMBUS–Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina) will hold a press conference Wednesday with members of the Senate majority leadership team to announce Senate priorities for the 131st General Assembly.

WHO:
Senate President Keith Faber, majority leadership and members of the Republican caucus  

WHEN:
12:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 28, 2015  

WHERE:
Senate Press Briefing Room, Ohio Statehouse

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STATEHOUSE - 

Like most honest couples, my wife and I would readily admit that we don’t agree on everything. But we agree on enough, and think enough of each other, that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.

The happiness of a marriage, where two people enjoy their commonality and find compromise where they have differences, is a pretty good model for public service.
 
I know that I can never expect 100 percent of my constituents to agree with me 100 percent of the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t think enough of each other to stay together, and I’m proud that the people of my district have chosen me to represent them in the Statehouse.
 
I also know that I can’t expect my colleagues in the legislature to agree with me 100 percent of the time. We all have unique perspectives, and the philosophical divide between political parties is natural and expected--but it doesn’t mean we can’t work together.
 
These common sense reflections probably seem harmless enough, but politics has become increasingly focused on beating the other side in the next election, with too little time spent working together during the period between November contests.
 
Working in an environment where discord and extreme ideologies are often rewarded has made elected office a lonely place for me at times, but I believe that I represent my constituents best when I work with my colleagues in a way that is professional and open-minded. After all, I represent all of the people of the 27th district, not just the ones who voted for me.
 
While catching up on some work in the office one night a few years back, I read about a national group called No Labels. This interested me, so I decided to read more about this group. When I read that No Labels believes in “fixing, not fighting” and “a new politics of problem solving,” I actually shouted out, “Thank God!” that night in my Senate office at the Ohio Statehouse— probably scaring the late-night cleaning crew. When I found out that No Labels was looking for state legislators to join their cause — and that they wouldn’t ask any of their members to check their beliefs at the doors — I was even more delighted to have discovered them.
 
Finding No Labels was like finding a friend in a place where you’re feeling lost. I’d been criticized by some for reaching out and working with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. And, I don’t understand that way of thinking. I believe that by working together we have produced better public policy and ultimately, better served the Ohioans we represent.
 
Since finding No Labels, I’ve started working with students at the University of Akron who are developing a local college chapter for the group. I’m co-hosting a No Labels event in February with a House Democrat, Rep. Michael Curtin. Mike and I are inviting all of our House and Senate colleagues and hope that holding this meeting will help all of us start the new legislative session on the right foot.
 
No Labels has big goals. They want to elect a president in 2016 who is committed to solving problems--to fixing instead of fighting. They will be asking presidential candidates to agree to the development and goals of the No Labels National Strategic Agenda which seeks to:
 
•      Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years;
•      Balance the federal budget by 2030;
•      Secure Medicare and Social Security for another 75 years; and
•      Make America energy secure by 2024.
 
To gain the growing support of No Labels and their nationwide network of citizens and leaders, presidential candidates will need to devote their first 100 days in office to something that I think defines leadership: sitting down with the political opposition to find common goals, then finding the best ways to get there.
 
This is what President Reagan did — with House Speaker Tip O’Neill — when he was in the White House. President Clinton did it, too, working with House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
 
I can’t think of a better way to start 2015, and the next election cycle, than to sit down with my colleagues from all points on the political spectrum to discuss solving the most pressing problems Ohioans face right now. No legislator should have to abandon their principles to do this, and all Ohioans will be better represented when their elected officials stop fighting and start fixing. 

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STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina) today announced the committee structure, chairmanships, and assignments for the 131st General Assembly. The Senate President laid the framework for 16 standing committees and five subcommittees of the Finance Committee.

"We have a diverse group of members with a a broad background of life and career experience ranging from farmers and business owners to attorneys and teachers," said Faber. "My goal with our committees is to capitalize on their expertise so we can continue the Senate's tradition of successfully tackling the state's challenges and opportunities."

The full committee assignments are as follows:

Agriculture
     Senator Hite (Chair)
     Senator Uecker (Vice Chair)
     Senator Gentile (Ranking Member)
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Burke
     Senator Cafaro
     Senator Gardner
     Senator Manning
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Skindell

Civil Justice
     Senator Bacon (Chair)
     Senator Oelslager (Vice Chair)
     Senator Skindell (Ranking Member)
     Senator Brown
     Senator Coley
     Senator Eklund
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Seitz
     Senator Thomas

Criminal Justice
     Senator Eklund (Chair)
     Senator Obhof (Vice Chair)
     Senator Thomas (Ranking Member)
     Senator Bacon
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Lehner
     Senator Seitz
     Senator Skindell
     Senator Uecker
     Senator Williams

Education
     Senator Lehner (Chair)
     Senator Hite (Vice Chair)
     Senator Sawyer (Ranking Member)
     Senator Balderson
     Senator Coley
     Senator Gardner
     Senator Jordan
     Senator Manning
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Thomas
     Senator Widener
     Senator Williams
     Senator Yuko

Energy & Natural Resources
     Senator Balderson (Chair)
     Senator Jones (Vice Chair)
     Senator Gentile (Ranking Member)
     Senator Cafaro
     Senator Gardner
     Senator Hite
     Senator Hottinger
     Senator Patton
     Senator Seitz
     Senator Uecker
     Senator Williams

Financial Institutions
     Senator Hughes (Chair)
     Senator Eklund (Vice Chair)
     Senator Yuko (Ranking Member)
     Senator Bacon
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Burke
     Senator Gentile
     Senator Hottinger
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Thomas

Finance
     Senator Oelslager (Chair)
     Senator Coley (Vice Chair)
     Senator Skindell (Ranking Member)
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Burke
     Senator Gardner
     Senator Gentile
     Senator Hughes
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Patton
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Sawyer
     Senator Tavares

Finance Subcommittee on Education
     Senator Hite (Chair)
     Senator Sawyer (Vice Chair)
     Senator Balderson
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Coley
     Senator Lehner
     Senator Thomas
     Senator Yuko
 
Finance Subcommittee on General Government
     Senator Jordan (Chair)
     Senator Gentile (Vice Chair)
     Senator Eklund
     Senator Jones
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Skindell

Finance Subcommittee on Corrections
     Senator Uecker (Chair)
     Senator Brown (Vice Chair)
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Patton
     Senator Seitz
     Senator Tavares
 
Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education
     Senator Gardner (Chair)
     Senator Cafaro (Vice Chair)
     Senator Bacon
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Manning
     Senator Thomas

Finance Subcommittee on Workforce
     Senator Beagle (Chair)
     Senator Williams (Vice Chair)
     Senator Hottinger
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Widener
     Senator Yuko
 
Government Oversight & Reform
     Senator Coley (Chair)
     Senator Seitz (Vice Chair)
     Senator Yuko (Ranking Member)
     Senator Balderson
     Senator Brown
     Senator Burke
     Senator Jordan
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Patton
     Senator Skindell
     Senator Widener

Health & Human Services
     Senator Jones (Chair)
     Senator Lehner (Vice Chair)
     Senator Tavares (Ranking Member)
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Cafaro
     Senator Gardner
     Senator Hite
     Senator Hottinger
     Senator Manning
     Senator Oelslager
     Senator Williams

Insurance
     Senator Hottinger (Chair)
     Senator Bacon (Vice Chair)
     Senator Brown (Ranking Member)
     Senator Balderson
     Senator Beagle
     Senator Gentile
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Jones
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Manning
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Thomas
     Senator Williams

Medicaid
     Senator Burke (Chair)
     Senator Manning (Vice Chair)
     Senator Cafaro (Ranking Member)
     Senator Brown
     Senator Coley
     Senator Jones
     Senator Jordan
     Senator Lehner
     Senator Tavares
     Senator Widener
 
Public Utilities
     Senator Seitz (Chair)
     Senator Balderson (Vice Chair)
     Senator Williams (Ranking Member)
     Senator Bacon
     Senator Eklund
     Senator Hite
     Senator Patton
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Sawyer
     Senator Tavares
     Senator Uecker
 
Rules & Reference
     President Faber (Chair)
     Senator Widener (Vice Chair)
     Senator Schiavoni (Ranking Member)
     Senator Brown
     Senator Burke
     Senator Coley
     Senator Gentile
     Senator Hite
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Manning
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Oelslager
     Senator Patton
     Senator Tavares

State & Local Government
     Senator LaRose (Chair)
     Senator Hottinger (Vice Chair)
     Senator Thomas (Ranking Member)
     Senator Brown
     Senator Hughes
     Senator Jones
     Senator Jordan
     Senator Peterson
     Senator Seitz
     Senator Uecker
     Senator Yuko

Transportation, Commerce & Labor
     Senator Manning (Chair)
     Senator Patton (Vice Chair)
     Senator Cafaro (Ranking Member)
     Senator Bacon
     Senator Brown
     Senator Eklund
     Senator Gentile
     Senator Hottinger
     Senator LaRose
     Senator Uecker
     Senator Yuko

Ways & Means
     Senator Peterson (Chair)
     Senator Beagle (Vice Chair)
     Senator Tavares (Ranking Member)
     Senator Cafaro
     Senator Eklund
     Senator Hite
     Senator Jordan
     Senator Obhof
     Senator Widener
     Senator Williams

 
 
  
Senator Eklund addresses a crowd at the Ohio Statehouse on Human Trafficking Awareness Day
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator John Eklund (R-Chardon) today addressed the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day conference at the Ohio Statehouse.

For the past two years, Eklund has served as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and has had extensive involvement in the passage of recent legislation aimed at combatting human trafficking in Ohio.

“Human Trafficking is modern day slavery and, unbeknownst to many Americans, is happening right under our noses and right here in our communities,” said Eklund. “It is important for all Ohioans to take a moment today, wherever they are, to learn the signs of trafficking and ways we can all be involved in preventing it.”

Eklund spoke on the importance of state and local laws working to reduce demand through strong sentencing and heightened public awareness to make Ohioans aware of the ways they can help end human trafficking in their communities.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource center can be reached at 1-888-3737-888, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in order to report tips on possible human trafficking activity.

The Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force has also set up a website with tools to help educate the public on recent state initiatives. Visit HumanTrafficking.Ohio.gov for more information.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

The Ohio General Assembly today held their Opening Ceremonies for the 131st General Assembly, officially marking the beginning of the new legislative session.
 
During the ceremonies, Jay Hottinger (R–Newark) was sworn-in as a member of the Ohio Senate, representing the 31st District in the state legislature’s upper chamber. Senator Hottinger won election to the seat in the November 4, 2014 General Election.
 
"I've had the privilege of serving my community in the Statehouse for nearly two decades, which is both an honor as well as a humbling experience," said Hottinger. "I have three daughters, which is why I chose a career in public service. Our work in the state capital should always be centered on creating opportunity for every Ohioan so every child in this state can get a good education, start a good career, raise a family, and reach ever greater potential right here in the Buckeye State."

Hottinger’s swearing-in marks the beginning of his second stretch in the Senate. He served in the chamber previously from 1998 through 2006 where he ascended to Senate leadership as the Assistant Majority Whip. Hottinger also served 6 terms in the Ohio House of Representatives.
 
An experienced leader and veteran legislator, Hottinger has been named to several leadership posts throughout his career including having served as the Chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee and as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Insurance, Commerce and Labor.
 
Senator Hottinger is a lifelong resident of Newark, Ohio where he graduated from Newark High School before receiving a degree in political science and public administration from Capital University. He and his wife Cheri have three daughters, Savannah, Heather, and Jayme.
 
Hottinger’s oath of office was administered by the Honorable Sharon Kennedy, Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court in the Senate Chamber in the historic Ohio Statehouse.
 
Each term in the Ohio Senate extends four years. Hottinger’s current term will expire at midnight on December 31, 2018.

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio Senate and House reached an historic compromise agreement early this morning to reform the process by which Ohio draws state legislative districts.  Tonight’s success comes after years of discussion and months of negotiation.
 
“Tonight we took an important step forward together, not as Democrats and Republicans but as Ohioans,” said Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley). “The current unbalanced system for drawing districts is a leading cause of political dysfunction and the people of Ohio deserve better.  Working together to solve a problem that has vexed our state for decades, we are presenting our constituents with a solution that is fair, bipartisan and transparent.
 
The Senate passed an amended version of House Joint Resolution 12, with a bipartisan vote of 28 to 1. It now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote, expected next Wednesday, December 17. Upon concurrence from the House, the plan will be put before Ohio voters in the November 2015 election.
 
The legislation creates a Redistricting Commission composed of seven members: three statewide elected officials - the governor, secretary of state and state auditor, and four members of the legislature - two members of Senate with one representing the minority and two members of the House also with one representing the minority.
 
The Redistricting Commission would commence in 2021 with the responsibility of drawing Ohio legislative districts based on the next census. Approval of the map requires four members of the commission, including two votes from the minority party. If a bipartisan map is passed, the legislative districts would be in effect for 10 years until the next census.  If the vote is not bipartisan, an “impasse” provision allows the map to go into effect for four years, at the end of which time the Commission would reconvene to redraw and pass a new map that would go into effect for the remaining 6 years. Maps drawn under the impasse procedure would be subjected to more stringent standards constraining possible partisan excesses.
 
A key Senate amendment to HCR 12 included the timing of when impasse maps would be drawn if no bipartisan solution was reached.
 
“It was very important to our chamber to preserve the institutional integrity of the Senate in order to provide consistency for the constituents in our senate districts,” LaRose continued. “I appreciate the commitment, collegiality and reasonable approach of everyone involved in the negotiations.”

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Larry Obhof (R–Medina) today presented a resolution to the Mansfield Christian boys’ soccer team for winning the Ohio High School Athletics Association Division III state championship. After finishing as state runner up in 2013, Mansfield Christian beat top ranked Columbus Grandview Heights in overtime to claim this year’s title.
 
“These young men showed exactly what hard work and perseverance can accomplish. After losing in the finals last year this team probably felt disheartened, but instead of giving up they came back this year and won it all,” said Obhof. “I'm very impressed with what this team has accomplished and I am excited to see what they can do next year.”

 
 
  

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

  • Improving Diabetes Treatment: Jointly sponsored by Representatives Kristina Roegner (R–Hudson) and Alicia Reece (D–Cincinnati), House Bill 326 would permit pharmacists to aid in treating diabetic patients by fitting them for diabetic shoes, which help improve circulation and prevent potentially dangerous complications. Ohio is one of only 15 states requiring a license to fit pedorthic devices such as diabetic shoes. According to the Ohio State Board of Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, there are only 129 people licensed to fit pedorthic devices in the state as of December 2012, contrasted with nearly 886,000 people who are diagnosed with diabetes in Ohio.
     
  • Enhancing Access to Immunizations: Jointly sponsored by Representatives Ryan Smith (R–Bidwell) and Nickie Antonio (D–Lakewood), House Bill 394 would permit pharmacists and interns working under them to administer immunizations included among the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended immunization schedules to patients 13 and up and to patients 7-12 with a doctor’s prescription. The legislation also allows pharmacists to administer a flu shot to patients 7 years of age and older.
     
  • Honoring Fallen Heroes: House Bill 440, sponsored by Representative Tim Brown (R–Bowling Green), will name 23 roadways throughout Ohio in honor of fallen heroes in Ohio. The designations include members of military and law enforcement.
     
  • Improving Dental Care Access: House Bill 463, sponsored by Representative Terry Johnson (R–McDermott), will improve Ohioans' access to good dental care by increasing the number of dental hygienists that can practice under the supervision of a dentist and allows those hygienists and other professionals to provide additional services when the dentist isn’t present. The bill also strengthens the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program (ODLRP) by doubling its current capacity to encourage more new dentists to practice in under-served regions of the state. The legislation is the companion bill to Senate Bill 327, sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker (R–Miami Township).
     
  • Promoting Beekeeping: Jointly sponsored by Representatives Mike Dovilla (R–Berea) and Dorothy Pelanda (R–Marysville), House Bill 474 establishes the Ohio State Beekeepers License Plate. The $15 fee for the specialty plate will be used to promote beekeeping, provide educational information about the process, and support other state and local beekeeping programs through the Ohio State Beekeepers Association.
     
  • Bureau of Motor Vehicles Payment Options: Sponsored by Senator Eric Kearney (D–Cincinnati), Senate Bill 53 would require the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to accept credit and debit cards for transactions over ten dollars. Currently, deputy registrar offices are not required to accept those forms of payment.
     
  • Lincoln Highway License Plate: Sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite (R–Findlay), Senate Bill 339 would establish the “Lincoln Highway” license plate.  Funds collected from the license plate will go toward preserving the historic Northern Ohio roadway.

The Senate will also consider House amendments to the following bills to which concurrence of the Senate has been requested:

  • Ohio Poet Laureate: Sponsored by Senator Eric H. Kearney (D–Cincinnati), Senate Bill 84 would establish the official position of Ohio Poet Laureate. The Ohio Poet Laureate would be required to complete a minimum of four annual public readings while providing public access to at least one reading during each term of office. They would also collaborate with the Ohio Arts Council to establish programs to promote awareness of the literary arts and encourage Ohioans to develop their own creative interests. Four states currently have poet laureates.
     
  • Casino Money Laundering: Sponsored by Senators Larry Obhof (R–Medina) and Jim Hughes (R–Columbus), Senate Bill 141 seeks to prevent money laundering at Ohio’s casino facilities by allowing the Casino Control Commission to investigate cases where structured transactions are used. 
     
  • Water Rescues: Sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer (R–Lancaster), Senate Bill 106 prohibits a person from operating their vehicle on a section of roadway that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level. The bill also imposes a fine in order to cover the person’s rescue in the event the law is violated.
     
  • Strengthening Domestic Violence Protections: Senate Bill 177, sponsored by Senator Michael Skindell (D–Lakewood) would expressly authorize the inclusion of companion animals in numerous types of protection orders in an effort to prevent pets from being victimized or used to manipulate victims in domestic violence situations. Testimony asserted that 71% of pet-owning women who entered a domestic violence shelter reported that their partner had harmed, threatened, or even killed their companion animal.

The Senate will also consider the report from the following conference committee:

  • Powers of Receivership: House Bill 9, sponsored by Representative Peter Stautberg (R–Anderson Township), makes numerous modifications to Ohio’s receivership regulations, which govern the process by which a company or institution can be placed in the hands of an individual (a receiver) in order to pay off debts. The process serves as a more time and cost-effective alternative to bankruptcy. The bill specifically addresses the appointment and authority of a receiver, as well as other provisions concerning the disposition of receivership property.
 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Jim Hughes (R–Columbus) today presented a resolution to the Dublin-Jerome High School women’s golf team for winning their fourth straight state title. This year, the team, led by seniors Sybil Robinson and Maite Erana, beat Massillon Jackson by two strokes to claim the 2014 Ohio High School Athletics Association State Championship.

“What these girls have accomplished is simply amazing,” said Hughes. “Winning one state championship is impressive, but these girls have managed to win four straight. This is a perfect example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish. I would like to congratulate these girls on their state championship, they earned it.”

 
 
  
 
Senate Will Not Move House Bill 490 In 130th General Assembly
Statement from Senate President Keith Faber
December 09, 2014
 
 
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) issued the following statement today regarding House Bill 490:

“After consulting with my colleagues, I've decided the Senate will not act on House Bill 490 during this legislative session.  We simply need more time to consider the substantive issues contained in the 264-page document, and time is not our ally in a lame duck session.  Our colleagues in the House had the benefit of eight months to consider the bill between its introduction and passage; we've had it in the Senate for less than three weeks.  I came to this decision reluctantly, as I know many people have worked long hours to move House Bill 490 through the legislative process.  We are absolutely committed to renewing the debate on these important issues at the outset of the new General Assembly in January.”

 
 
  
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MEDIA ADVISORY: Senate President To Discuss Priorities For 131st General Assembly

 

COLUMBUS–Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina) will hold a press conference Wednesday with members of the Senate majority leadership team to announce Senate priorities for the 131st General Assembly.



 
 

Guest Column By Senator Frank LaRose: Working To Bring A Culture Of Problem Solving To Ohio

 
STATEHOUSE - 

Like most honest couples, my wife and I would readily admit that we don’t agree on everything. But we agree on enough, and think enough of each other, that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.



 
 

Senate President Announces Committee Chairs, Assignments For The 131st General Assembly

 
STATEHOUSE - 

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina) today announced the committee structure, chairmanships, and assignments for the 131st General Assembly. The Senate President laid the framework for 16 standing committees and five subcommittees of the Finance Committee.



 
 

Eklund Addresses Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day

 
COLUMBUS - 

Senator Eklund today addressed the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day conference at the Ohio Statehouse.