COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) released today the tentative hearing schedule for the budget process in the Ohio Senate.

The first day of Senate budget hearings will be Tuesday, April 21 as the full Finance panel will receive budget overviews from the Office of Budget and Management and the Legislative Service Commission.

“I look forward to the hearing process and working with the five subcommittees, along with the Medicaid and Ways & Means committees.  This collaborative approach was created last General Assembly by President Faber, and it worked great,” said Oelslager. “This approach creates more focused discussions and ensures input from every member of the Senate.”

The Senate will receive the budget bill following its passage by the Ohio House, which is expected next week.  Under Ohio law, the legislature must pass a budget, and get it signed by the Governor prior to July 1 of this year.

Senate Budget Hearing Schedule

Week of April 20 – Full Finance Hearings

  • April 21 – OBM, LSC, Health and Human Services/Medicaid panel
  • April 22 – Tax Reform
  • April 23 – Education

Week of April 27 – Subcommittee

Week of May 4 – Subcommittees

Week of May 11 – Subcommittees

Week of May 18 – Full Finance Committee public hearings

Week of May 25 – Full Finance Committee public hearings

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) announced the passage of legislation today to help Ohio's veterans find and receive medical benefits they have earned.

"With the sixth largest population of veterans in the country, having over 875,000 across the state, Ohio must continue to be a leader in veterans services," said Burke.

Senator Burke is joined by his colleague Senator 
Frank LaRose (R-Copley) in joint-sponsoring the legislation. LaRose served as a U.S. Army Green Beret. 

"We owe it to our veterans to make sure they can understand and access existing healthcare options at the state and federal level," said LaRose. "By helping them navigate this process, we recognize the immeasurable value of their service to our country." 


Senate Bill 10 will require the Ohio Department of Veterans Services to assist veterans in determining which federal healthcare benefits they are eligible to receive and aid them with program enrollment.

This legislation follows previous efforts to curb growth in the state's Medicaid spending while simultaneously improving health outcomes for Ohioans. The program seeks to eliminate redundancies and encourage veterans to take advantage of federal benefits through county veteran services commissions.

The state of Washington passed similar in 2004, saving the state an estimated $30 million and enabling it to serve an additional 4,000 veterans and their families. 


The bill passed the Ohio Senate today with bipartisan, unanimous support and now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

 
 
  
STATEHOUSE - 

Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) announced today that Ahresty Wilmington Corporation plans to create 100 new manufacturing jobs following the state's approval of funds for a roadwork project that will improve access to the facility. 

“I’m pleased to see that this project will encourage job and business growth in southwest Ohio,” said Rosenberger. “It is my hope that we will continue to see progress in this part of the state and that we can encourage forward momentum for all of Ohio’s families.”

The City of Wilmington was awarded a $514,000 Roadwork Development Grant to build a new roadway connecting U.S. 68 and Cuba Road in Union Township. The announcement follows approval by the state's Controlling Board on Monday.

"Ohio is helping to create jobs by working with businesses to overcome barriers and promote economic growth," said Peterson. "Wilmington is open for business again."

The project will involve the construction of a new secondary entrance south of the facility, a railroad crossing and installation of a traffic light at the corner of U.S. 68 and the new Airborne Connector roadway. 

Roadwork Development Grants are administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. The grants assist in funding local road construction projects that support the expansion or attraction of businesses.

Ahresty Wilmington Corporation was founded in 1988 and is the largest automobile parts supplier in southwest Ohio. The company currently employs 690 full-time workers and has committed to hiring an additional 100 workers over the next three years, creating more than $2.8 million in additional payroll. 

 
 
  

In today’s fast-paced world it is easy to become preoccupied and oblivious to our surroundings no matter how fast the world is moving. Yet sometimes we must slow down and pay attention to the warning signs that a child may be in danger. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it provides a perfect opportunity for all Ohioans to learn the warning signs of child abuse and what we all can do to help.

In Ohio over 30,000 children were victims of child abuse in 2011. Nationally close to 700,000 children were abused that same year. Child abuse can occur in a variety of forms, including neglect and physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. As a community, we must learn to recognize the warning signs associated with maltreatment to ensure no child is suffering in silence.

Some of the warning signs associated with child abuse include:

  • Unexplained burns, bruises, broken bones, or other injuries
  • Uneasiness around family members or other adults
  • Frequent absence from school, or habitually being dropped off early and picked up late at events
  • Reports of nightmares and bed-wetting
  • A sudden change in appetite or mood
  • A sudden refusal to change for gym or participate in physical activities
  • Lack of sufficient clothing for the weather
  • Has inadequate hygiene and medical care

It is important to note that the presence of a single sign does not indicate abuse. However, a pattern of concerning behavior or a combination of signs could be a call for further investigation. If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call 855.O.H.CHILD (855.642.4453) to be linked directly with your local child welfare or law enforcement office.

We must remain vigilant to ensure all children are safe and live free from fear.

 

 
 
  
Senate President Faber joins Governor Kasich for the signing of clean water legislation
OREGON, Ohio - 

Senate President Keith Faber joined by Senators Gardner, Hite and Peterson celebrated the signing of a new law Governor Kasich approved to protect the drinking water supply from Lake Erie.

Holding a clear glass of drinking water, Senator Faber said, "It's about this. Clean water, not green water. Lake Erie's issues are Ohio's issues. It's about all clean water."

This is the first step in an effort to combat the toxic algae threat that hit Toledo's water supply last summer. The law establishes a Coordinator of Harmful Algae Management and Response within the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate local and state resources to prevent and respond to toxic algae issues.

Other law provisions include:

  • Banning spreading manure and commercial fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground in Western Lake Erie Basin
  • Requiring training and certification for certain fertilizer applicators
  • Equipping ODNR with capabilities to monitor and enforce water runoff through civil penalties
  • Requiring that all dredging material be diverted from Lake Erie by 2020

Governor Kasich praised the efforts of Senator Faber and lawmakers from the House in passing what he calls a tough and reasonable bill.

"This legislation shows a deep commitment to this lake," he said.

The Governor and Senator Faber called for the help of Michigan, Indian and Canada in reducing pollutants flowing into Lake Erie.

The law will go into effect this summer.

 
 
  

Cincinnati Magazine Praises Jones' Efforts to Reduce Infant Mortality

COLUMBUS—The efforts of State Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro) to reduce infant mortality have not gone unnoticed. In a new article entitled "This Is How We Lose Them," Cincinnati Magazine delves into the complex problem of infant mortality and highlights the strides that Jones and other public officials have made in raising awareness and proposing solutions. 

From 2009 to 2013, Cincinnati’s infant mortality rate was 12.4 infant deaths per thousand—twice the national average. For African-American babies, the rate rises to 16.5 deaths per thousand.

“Jones is now the moving force behind seven pieces of state legislation designed to turn the tide on baby deaths in Ohio,” the article pointed out.

To read the entire article, go to http://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/citywiseblog/infant-mortality-this-is-how-we-lose-them/.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Cliff Hite (R–Findlay) announced today that Valfilm, LLC plans to create 80 full-time jobs in Findlay, Ohio.  
 
“This decision is a prime example of how the State of Ohio is ensuring economic development on the local level through such important public-private partnerships,” said Hite. “This is a great opportunity for Findlay-area residents to acquire and maintain quality jobs.”

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority, this week, approved an eight-year Job Creation Tax Credit for this project. The expansion will add $2.5 million to the company’s annual payroll and allow them to retain $3.5 million in existing payroll.

Valfilm specializes in developing, manufacturing and marketing flexible packaging film.
 
The Ohio TCA recently approved 12 projects set to create 661 new jobs and retain 3,061 statewide, including the project in Findlay.

 
 
  
 
National Donate Life Month
A Guest Column by State Senator Troy Balderson
April 01, 2015
 
 
COLUMBUS - 
In 2003, April was designated as National Donate Life Month. This April, I’d like to commemorate Donate Life Month by talking about the need for organ, eye and tissue donation both nationally, and right here in our community.

 
Currently, there are more than 120,000 men, women, and children on the national waiting list for organ transplants. In Ohio alone, over 3,200 people are waiting for a transplant. Sadly, statistics show that every 48 hours, another Ohioan passes away waiting for a donation.
 
Organ, eye and tissue donation hits close to home for many of us in southeast Ohio. I’m sure some of us can recall the story of Adam Burkhart from Zanesville, Ohio. As a young child, Adam was diagnosed with a genetic condition known as familial cardiomyopathy, which weakens the heart. By age 6, Adam and his family knew that he would one day need a transplant, but until then, he controlled the condition with medicine.
 
In January 2000, when Adam was a junior in high school, he began having what he thought was an asthma attack, but later found out that the problem was related directly to his heart. After months of medicine to “recharge” his heart, Adam and his family learned that these measures weren’t working, and that he would need a heart transplant. He was listed for a heart on March 12, 2000, and on September 14, 2000, just days before his 18th birthday, Adam received the life-saving gift that he needed. Because of one donor’s selfless gift, Adam, now 32, is still alive. He lives with his wife, Kali, and their two children in Zanesville, and continues to advocate for organ and tissue donation in his spare time.
 
In addition to Adam’s heart transplant, his family has other ties to organ donation. Adam’s family members are on the giving end of organ donation as well. His mother’s sister also had familial cardiomyopathy, but she passed away from this condition in 1968, just one year before the first successful heart transplant was performed. During that time, kidney and other organ transplants were being performed successfully, and Adam’s aunt shared the gift of life through the transplant of other organs at the time of her passing. Adam’s other aunt is a living donor, having shared a kidney with a man she had been taking care of in the hospital.
 
In 2014, 325 Ohioans shared the gift of life through organ donation at the time of their death, and as a result, 1,074 organs were transplanted. My parents’ best friend was a kidney transplant recipient, and because of this, I have gotten to see first-hand how wonderful the gift of life truly is. I signed up to be an organ donor as early as I can remember being able to do so, because I knew just how important it was. As an organ donor, I like knowing that should something unfortunate happen to me, I will have the opportunity to share life because of the decision I made to be a donor. I strongly encourage others to consider signing up to donate life by becoming an organ, eye or tissue donor.
 
After carefully considering the decision and discussing your wishes with family and next of kin, you can become an organ donor by registering online at www.lifelineofohio.org, completing a Donor Registry Enrollment Form that is available by calling 800-525-5667, or by indicating your intentions to become an organ donor when renewing your driver’s license. A single donor potentially can save 8 lives and enhance the lives of up to 50 more. Thank you for your consideration of becoming an Ohio organ donor, and for celebrating National Donate Life Month with me.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 
State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) is proud to announce the final pillar of the "Pill Mill" legislation that he co-sponsored in 2011 with Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott).

 
Earlier this week, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy’s new rules aligning Ohio law with the new federal regulations that were handed down by the Drug Enforcement Administration in October 2014 took effect. 

The new regulations will allow authorized collectors such as manufacturers, narcotic treatment programs, hospitals and clinics with on-site pharmacies and retail pharmacies to collect controlled and non-controlled pharmaceutical drugs from users by voluntarily administering mail-back programs and maintaining collection receptacles.
 
“The new regulations issued by the Board of Pharmacy play a crucial role in achieving the goals of the pill mill legislation,” said Burke. “Now whenever individuals are left with excess medication, or that of a passed loved one, there will be an easy, convenient, and safe process to go about disposing of those drugs. Taking the responsibility to dispose of these drugs is important to protect the health and safety of Ohio's families and communities.”
 
The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy has already played a crucial role in enforcing HB 93 by requiring pain management clinics to be licensed with the Board. The Board’s oversight of the clinics has led to the closing of numerous fraudulent facilities across the state.
 
“I am proud of the efforts of the Board to close down Ohio’s pill mills,” says Steven W. Schierholt, Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. “I look forward to continued collaboration with Governor Kasich, the General Assembly, law enforcement agencies and health care regulatory boards in our mission to prevent the abuse and diversion of controlled substances.”
 
Potential authorized collectors could visit http://pharmacy.ohio.gov/takeback to learn more information about how to become registered for the program with the state.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 
State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) announced the passage of legislation today to extend the time which victims of sexual violence may seek justice when a crime is implicated by DNA evidence.

Senate Bill 13, sponsored by State Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice with a bipartisan vote of 9-1 before moving to a session of the full Senate for approval earlier today.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Eklund, who chairs the Senate's Criminal Justice Committee.  “We owe it to victims to make sure justice is served in the most complete, effective and efficient way possible. I appreciate the partnership of the victim advocacy groups, law enforcement and the legal community on this legislation."
 
The legislation extends the statute of limitations for initiating prosecution in a rape or sexual battery case against an individual implicated by DNA evidence. Once a DNA match is determined, victims will have the opportunity to seek prosecution for a period of five years even if that period extends beyond the state’s current 20-year statute of limitations.
 
With the passage of Senate Bill 13, Ohio joins 27 other states that include a DNA exemption in their statute of limitations laws.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought the issue of DNA testing into the spotlight last year with an announcement that his office’s rape kit testing initiative had already matched over 1,000 DNA samples to potential rapists. DeWine's office submitted written testimony in favor of the legislation.

 
The Criminal Justice Committee earlier heard testimony supporting the legislation from advocacy groups who provide services to the victims of sexual abuse. Witnesses from the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and ACTION OHIO Coalition for Battered Women supported passage of the bill as a critical victory for the victims they serve.

Senate Bill 13 passed the Senate 32-1 and now moves to the House for further consideration. 
 
 
  
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Senate Announces Committee Schedule For Budget Hearings

 
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) released today the tentative hearing schedule for the budget process in the Ohio Senate.  The first day of Senate budget hearings will be Tuesday, April 21 as the full Finance panel will receive budget overviews from the Office of Budget and Management and the Legislative Service Commission.



 
 

Senator Burke Announces Passage Of Bill To Help Veterans Receive Medical Benefits

 
STATEHOUSE - 

"With the sixth largest population of veterans in the country, having over 875,000 across the state, Ohio must continue to be a leader in veterans services," said Burke.



 
 

Speaker Rosenberger And Senator Peterson Announce 100 New Jobs For Clinton County

 
STATEHOUSE - 

Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) announced today that Ahresty Wilmington Corporation plans to create 100 new manufacturing jobs following the state's approval of funds for a roadwork project that will improve access to the facility. 



 
 

Defending Ohio's Children: April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

In today’s fast-paced world it is easy to become preoccupied and oblivious to our surroundings no matter how fast the world is moving. Yet sometimes we must slow down and pay attention to the warning signs that a child may be in danger. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it provides a perfect opportunity for all Ohioans to learn the warning signs of child abuse and what we all can do to help.