Earlier this month, the Ohio House of Representatives wrapped up a busy session schedule for 2015. This being my final column of the year, I would like to briefly share some of the important measures that the House has worked on this year:
State Operating Budget: The state budget process is a long and extensive process, but I believe the final package is one that can benefit our region and the entire state for years to come. The bill cuts income taxes for all Ohioans, including a tax deduction for small business owners. It also provides additional funding for school districts and improves transparency in our state’s healthcare system.
Charter School Reform: A very important charter school reform bill passed through the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Kasich this year. The bill puts in place stronger measures to keep charter schools and their sponsors accountable and transparent, while still preserving a strong charter system that provides Ohio families with more freedom for educational options for our state’s young people.
Lower Business Filing Fees: The past couple of years have seen a record number of new business filings in Ohio, which is obviously a good sign for our state’s economy. This year, the state legislature passed a measure that lowers the filing fees for starting a new business by 21 percent.
More Access to Life-Saving Medication: The effort to overcome our state’s prescription drug epidemic must come from many angles, and this has been a major priority in the House for the past several years. Another step in that fight was the passage of House Bill 4, legislation that expands access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid-related overdose.
Protecting Ohio’s Water: The House, Senate and governor’s office worked together this year to establish best practices and procedures to keep Lake Erie and other inland lakes clean and safe. As a response to the severe algae blooms that occurred in Lake Erie last year, this effort will continue moving forward to protect the state’s water supply.
Recognizing Our Veterans: The House also honored the men and women who have served in our nation’s military. By establishing the Ohio Military Facilities Commission, we helped to ensure that our state’s military bases and installations can continue its strong support for veterans, which includes creating jobs and boosting local communities. I was also proud to sponsor HB 244, a bill that pays tribute to those veterans who have served as armed service personnel as well as peace officers or first responders.
This list is just a small sampling of what the House has worked on this year. It has been my privilege to serve the residents of Clinton, Highland, Pike and Ross counties, and I anticipate 2016 being another great year for the state of Ohio.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.