The 133rd Ohio General Assembly is underway. My colleagues and I in the Ohio Senate recently introduced our legislative priorities for the next two years and I am pleased to highlight these initiatives in this month’s column.
We want Ohio to be a state that promotes further job growth and creates more business, which is why the first priority the Senate has is to cut government red tape. Through Senate Bill 1, we will reduce the number of state regulations by 30% in three years and create a healthier economic environment.
Protecting Lake Erie and Ohio’s water is our second priority through Senate Bill 2. This legislation will create a statewide watershed planning structure that will be implemented by local soil and water conservation districts. This will encourage efficient crop growth, soil conservation and water protection methods.
Senate Bill 3 is bipartisan legislation that would reform criminal sentencing laws to provide better paths to treatment for Ohioans suffering from drug addiction while ensuring drug traffickers face strict felony charges.
The Ohio Senate will also continue to address the educational facility needs in Ohio by providing an additional $100 million for the renovation and construction of school buildings in the state through Senate Bill 4.
Senate Bill 5 compliments a series of bills passed over the last several years aimed at combatting human trafficking, through better enforcement, increased penalties and efforts to promote greater public awareness. This legislation, which passed unanimously out of the Senate this week, will strengthen criminal penalties for individuals who are convicted of promoting prostitution in Ohio.
Senate Bill 6, of which I am a primary joint sponsor, recently passed out of the Senate. The bill establishes guidelines to help parents in crisis situations request a fully-screened host family to care for their children while the parents get their lives back on track. This legislation will ensure that more Ohio children and their parents are given opportunities for healing and a second chance.
Senate Bill 7 will support our military installations and remove job barriers for military families in Ohio. It will allow military spouses to obtain temporary occupational licenses when members of the military are transferred to Ohio on active duty.
To foster growth in economically disadvantaged areas, Senate Bill 8 will incentivize investment in these areas by adding a tax advantage for investing in specified opportunity zones.
To reduce the cost of healthcare for small business, Senate Bill 9 will permit businesses access to certain claim information to group plan policyholders and help businesses make better, sound decisions about their health care plans and costs.
Senate Bill 10 will protect Ohioans from dishonest public officials by expanding penalties for theft in office and ensure all officials are held accountable for proper use of taxpayer funds.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Ohio Senate to pass these priorities that will protect Ohio families, reduce crime, safeguard our waterways, and promote jobs and economic development in Ohio.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback on these issues, as well as other matters important to our state. I can be reached by phone at 614-466-5838 or by e-mail at Hottinger@OhioSenate.gov. You may also reach me by mail at State Senator Jay Hottinger, Senate Building, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.