We are now over a month into the 134th General Assembly and I wanted to share a few of the bills that I am sponsoring that would greatly benefit Ohio. If enacted, these bills would help families save for college, protect homeowners, and increase penalties for violence against pets.
In 2018, I was successful at increasing the tax deduction for contributions to 529 College Savings Plans from $2,000 to $4,000. However, this tax deduction only applies to families investing in Ohio’s plan. Senate Bill 33
would extend the same tax benefit to all Ohio families whether they invest in Ohio’s plan or another state’s plan. While Ohio’s plan ranks among one of the best in the country, this bill would allow families to focus on the important aspects of the plans and shop the market to decide which plan is best for them and their risk preferences, rather than solely considering the state tax deduction. In fact, Kansas and Montana, which enacted similar legislation, saw a 50% increase in tax returns claiming their respective state tax deduction.
In the near future, I will also be introducing legislation to protect consumers from unethical roofing contractors. Oftentimes, after a natural disaster or severe storm, unscrupulous roofers from out of state come to Ohio and target homeowners. Typically, some of these roofers will only perform part of the work or “complete” the work in a haphazard manner. My bill would require contractors to register with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board and non-Ohio companies must file as a foreign company with the Secretary of State. To further add heightened protections for consumers, the bill would require companies to provide detailed contracts and carry insurance, prohibit them from abandoning the work, and allow consumers to cancel a contract within three business days.
I will also be reintroducing legislation to help protect our pets. Certain instances of cruelty to animals have made it clear that we need stronger penalties for the killing or torture of a companion animal. Individuals who commit such horrific acts often receive punishments that do not match their crimes. Additionally, numerous studies have found that there is a link between animal abuse and criminal violence against people. One study found that women seeking refuge at a family violence shelter were almost 11 times more likely to report that their partner had committed violence against their pet.
There are undoubtedly many issues before the General Assembly. While these are only a few of the bills I will work on over the next two years, I believe they are sensible initiatives that will assist and protect Ohioans. I look forward to getting them across the finish line and signed into law. If you have thoughts on these bills or others being considered in the Ohio Senate, please don't hesitate to reach out to my office at Hottinger@OhioSenate.gov
or (614) 466-5838.