Speaker Husted’s Fall Legislative Priorities
Yesterday, Ohio House of Representatives Speaker, Jon Husted (R-Kettering) and members of the House leadership team announced their priorities for the fall. “We need to build on the momentum of our accomplishments thus far and further our focus on our state’s priorities while also ensuring the economic future and success of Ohio,” said Husted.
House majority members’ priorities related to energy policy; the economy; preventing waste, fraud, and abuse while increasing accountability; and examining the Best Rx program. Strengthening the state’s partnership with higher education was strongly emphasized. The Speaker challenged the presidents, university trustees, and boards of directors of Ohio’s colleges and universities and the General Assembly to work collaboratively for the benefit of Ohio’s students. Specifically higher education leaders were challenged to:
· Foster communication between colleges, universities, and the General Assembly to better benefit Ohio’s students.
· Ensure that each child who seeks a higher degree has access to the tools they need for success.
· Work to pare down programs of duplication and further examine the concept of competitive advantage—providing educational tools to students through the best possible avenues.
· Continue to make progress with articulation and transfer and enrollment issues.
· Work cooperatively with state government to bring about true reforms in the way higher education funding is addressed in Ohio.
· Collaborate to establish and implement a vision of higher education for today and for the future.
The House will work through the Higher Education Study committee, chaired by State Representative Shawn Webster (R-Hamilton), where House members and representatives from higher education will work together to reform the higher education funding system in Ohio.
In the area of energy policy, Speaker Husted said, “Amid the environment of fuel shortages and higher petroleum and natural gas prices it is imperative that we explore all reasonable options available for potential cost savings for Ohioans. Among those options are alternative fuels, efforts toward energy efficiency and programs and steps Ohioans can take advantage of in the coming months to save on costs and become more efficient.” In the coming months the House will look to:
· Identify and explore alternative fuel options by supporting agriculture and through House Bill 245, sponsored by Representative Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus) for more environmentally friendly fuels that keep Ohio’s economy moving.
· Save resources, both fiscally and substantively by taking advantage of energy-efficient technology, through enactment of House Bill 251, sponsored by Representative Joseph Uecker (R-Loveland).
· Provide Ohioans with the tools and resources to prepare for the coming winter.
· Assist in bringing the world’s first low emissions coal-based power plant to the state.
Training Ohio workers and clarifying the state’s eminent domain policy topped the list of economic priorities:
· Extend the Ohio Training Tax Credit Program through 2006 to provide employers with incentives to help with the costs of training Ohio workers.
· Strike a balance between the eminent domain rights of local governments and individual property owners.
Priorities for improving efficiency and accountability by preventing waste, fraud, and abuse are:
· With a focus on low-income participants and not providers, to pass legislation that will require Medicaid applicants to provide proof of US citizenship.
· Create an independent, bipartisan nominating commission to make recommendations to the governor on judicial candidates.
· Examine privatizing the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and introducing BWC Oversight legislation that will include provisions that will:
o Create a new, independent oversight board with direct review authority over BWC investment holdings.
o Require new board members to complete continuing investment education courses, increase the frequency of fiduciary audits, and permit the board to hire its own investment consultant.
In addition to the Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse provision, the only other health care priority is to examine the expansion of the Best Rx program.
[Please contact Robin if you want a copy of the Speaker’s press release.]
Comings and Goings
Goings this time. On August 22, Governor Taft announced the resignation of Department of Aging Director, Joan Lawrence and that House Majority Floor Leader, Representative Merle Grace Kearns (R-Springfield), would take her place. Director Kearns began her new job on August 29th. Kearns had been a member of House leadership. Those in leadership positions below her moved up one slot and Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) joins the team as Assistant Majority Whip.
House Majority Leadership
Speaker- Jon Husted (R-Kettering)
Speaker- Pro Tempore Chuck Blasdel (R-East Liverpool)
Majority Floor Leader- Larry L. Flowers (R-Canal Winchester)
Assistant Majority Floor Leader- Kevin DeWine (R-Fairborn)
Majority Whip- Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster)
Assistant Majority Whip- Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati)
Hearings related to health and human services issues and the nonprofit community.
Monday September 26, 2005
Controlling Board, 1:30pm, North Hearing Room, Chair: Hulse/466-5721
Monday October 3, 2005
Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, 1:30pm, McKinley Room (121), Chair: Oelslager/466-4086
Sometimes hearings and meetings are delayed or cancelled. If you plan to attend a hearing, call ahead or check the web. The Senate Committee schedule can be found at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/senate_committee_schedule.cfm , and the House Committee schedule at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/house_committee_schedule.cfm.
Edited by Robin Harris, Director of Public Policy
Juliet Coles Rowland, President & CEO
Victoria Conley, Chair
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