As the 132nd General Assembly comes to a close this year, I would like to highlight some of my legislation that became law during the last two years.
The first piece of legislation I introduced this General Assembly was to help make college more affordable for Ohio families. Senate Bill 5 increased the maximum income tax deduction for contributions to college savings accounts and disability expense savings accounts from $2,000 to $4,000 annually for each beneficiary. It also created the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability, which studied and recommended additional initiatives to make college education more affordable. Senate Bill 5 was incorporated into House Bill 49, the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget bill.
To address the judicial needs of Perry County, I sponsored Senate Bill 25, which created the Perry County Municipal Court and established a full-time judgeship in that court. Senate Bill 25 took effect in June of 2017 and created a judicial system to meet the needs of Perry County citizens.
One of the most pressing issues facing our state today is opioid addiction. Senate Bill 119, also known as Daniel’s Law, is named after Daniel Weidle who tragically lost his life to an opiate addiction after being denied access to life saving, non-addictive medication for his illness. Senate Bill 119 allows pharmacists to dispense the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat opioid dependence and addiction. This legislation will save lives and get people the treatment they need to break the addiction cycle. The bill was signed into law on December 19, 2018.
While we never want to see military or law enforcement personnel lose their lives in the line of duty, I sponsored several memorial highway bills to ensure that some of the many heroes in the 31st Senate District are forever remembered. In Licking County, a portion of U.S. Route 40 is now the “Steven Eric DiSario Memorial Highway” in honor of the late Kirkersville Police Chief. To honor a Licking County native who was also killed while on duty, a portion of State Route 205 and U.S. Route 62 in Knox County is the “Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Memorial Highway.” Paying tribute to those who gave their lives in Vietman, a portion of State Route 520 in Holmes County has been designated the “Cpl. Jerry Robert Spitler Memorial Highway”, and in Tuscarawas County a portion of State Route 93 is now the “PFC Oscar F. Nicewander Memorial Highway.”
To help the families of first responders killed in the line of duty, I sponsored Senate Bill 296, which expands survivor benefits by increasing payments and expanding the length of time families can receive full benefits. Additionally, the bill will allow families of fallen first responders to opt-in to health, dental, vision and other insurance plans. Ohio’s law enforcement officers and firefighters risk their lives for our safety every day. It is crucial we do all we can to support the family members of those who make the ultimate sacrifice. Senate Bill 296 went into effect December 27, 2018.
As we head into a new year and prepare for the beginning of the 133rd General Assembly, I look forward to continue serving the constituents of the 31st Senate District and working on legislation that will further improve the lives of all Ohioans.