Earlier this year, I announced the creation of five bipartisan task forces that would be responsible for addressing a specific policy area. The task forces focus on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Education and Poverty, BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) and Military Affairs, Energy, and HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety). These task forces are now fully underway, hosting meetings with experts and interested parties across the state to increase our understanding of these topics.
In their research on Alzheimer’s and dementia, this task force has found that there is a need for better and increased care in assisted living and nursing facilities, and that those entities face a number of issues in providing sufficient care. The committee learned that the majority of dementia care is provided by unpaid family members, which can be a family stressor that affects entire communities. With this information, it’s important to find solutions to the problems facilities are experiencing to get those facing these conditions the care they need.
The Task Force on Education and Poverty has been exploring how poverty can negatively impact academic performance. Policy reforms like working to better assist our least prepared students, increasing focus on reading proficiency, and eliminating suspension or expulsion in early grades have all been discussed as ways to reverse the trend of lower academic performance by low-income students.
The Task Force on BRAC and Military Affairs is unique in that it is visiting at least 11 military installations across the state, hearing from leadership at each to learn more about the base realignment and closure process. The Task Force on Energy will be holding its first meeting in early October and plans to cover a wide range of issues, from public utilities to energy costs.
Lastly, Ohio’s opioid epidemic has been a concern that takes the collaboration of all—state lawmakers, local leaders, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, the public, and more. The Task Force on HOPES is traveling the state to learn from local organizations and families affected to gain information about tactics that have been successful in combatting this very serious issue.
The goal and purpose of these task forces is to gather information about Ohio’s most pressing matters and ultimately utilize that research to produce legislation that would address them in a constructive manner. At the end of the day, these meetings are an opportunity to hear from everyday Ohioans and work to tackle your concerns and improve your lives.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.