COLUMBUS – Today, State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was elected as the new Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.


“I am deeply grateful to have earned the support of my fellow colleagues who have entrusted me with the position of Speaker of the House. It is a great privilege to lead this chamber, and I pledge to do so honorably, fairly and humbly,” Cupp said in remarks to the House. “It is imperative to restore the public’s trust in our elected officials. The legislative branch of government must serve to enact laws in the interest of the people of Ohio, not to engage in activity shrouded in corruption.”


Cupp has the distinction of having served in all three branches of government at both the local and state levels: as an Allen County commissioner, a four-term state senator, an appeals court judge and a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.


During his tenure in the Senate, he served two terms as President Pro Tempore, the Senate’s second-highest leadership post.


Cupp has also practiced law for more than 25 years and taught courses in leadership studies, judicial process, and state education policy at Ohio Northern University.


Cupp grew up on his family’s grain and livestock farm in Allen County. He and his wife Libby have two grown sons and three grandchildren. 


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COLUMBUS – A plan to replace the EdChoice voucher program and lay the foundation for an overhaul of Ohio’s school report card and testing system has been approved by the Ohio House of Representatives.


The legislation, added to Senate Bill 89, would create the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship, a scholarship that would give top priority to Ohio’s low-income students.


The plan would take effect beginning with the 2020-21 school year.


“This is the first step on the road to meaningful education reform that works for all Ohio students, regardless of their ZIP Code or circumstances,” said Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford). “The Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship plan will put low-income students at the front of the line.”


Among the key differences between the EdChoice voucher and the new Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship are that scholarships under the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship are designed to be directly funded by the state and awarded based on income.


Ohio’s current EdChoice voucher system is primarily based on the so-called “failing schools” model. Under this approach, schools deemed underperforming based on a series of education-related criteria are placed on a list and their students are made eligible for a voucher to attend a private school.


The system has come under close scrutiny from lawmakers and educators alike in recent months following the state’s announcement that the list of “underperforming” schools was going to balloon from 517 for the current school year to 1,227 for the 2020-21 school year – more than 40 percent of the traditional public schools in the state.


“What this entire process has really underscored is the need to overhaul our school accountability system,” said Primary and Secondary Education Committee Chairman Don Jones (R-Freeport), who spent more than 20 years as a teacher before his election to the Ohio House.


Under the legislation, no new building performance-based vouchers will be issued once this school year is complete. In its place will be the new family-income based Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship.


Students from families with an income of up to 250 percent of poverty – $65,600 for a family of four – would be eligible for a full Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship. The current income-based EdChoice expansion voucher has an income limit of 200 percent of poverty.


The maximum scholarship amount would be $4,650 for grades K-8 and $6,000 for high school, the same as the current limits for the EdChoice voucher.


Notably, the legislation begins the transition to a program that will be directly funded by the state. Currently, school performance-based vouchers are paid for by deducting state aid from local schools, while the income-based voucher is directly state paid. Vouchers for current students who renew their scholarships would be funded similarly, except that for students who qualify for both, the income-based voucher would be the default.


All Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships awarded to first-time voucher recipients will be directly funded by the state. The number of scholarships available will be limited by the amount of funding appropriated each year, as is the case under current law.


As part of the House-led effort to overhaul Ohio’s school report card and testing scheme, the legislation establishes the State Educational Assessments Study Committee to evaluate state and federal testing mandates, report card performance measures and any potential waivers the state could seek from federal testing requirements. A report is expected later this year.


Lawmakers in the House have already begun work to reform the state’s school report cards, Householder noted. “We’ve got good schools and good teachers all over the state, and I don’t believe the state report cards accurately reflect the academic performance of the kids coming out of these schools,” Householder said.


The legislation also dissolves Ohio’s three Academic Distress Commissions – which are currently in place in East Cleveland, Lorain and Youngstown – and prevents new ones from being created until at least 2024.


Under the amendment, led by State Representative Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), the locally-elected school board and the superintendent may work with a state-appointed State Transformation Board to identify the root causes of academic distress, chart a path for improvement and develop a plan together to get the job done.


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For more information, contact Taylor Jach at (614) 466-0536 or Taylor.Jach@ohiohouse.gov

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) announced today that Taylor Jach has been named Majority Press Secretary of the Ohio House of Representatives. Jach has experience developing strategic communications campaigns and managing media relations across the private and public sectors.


“I am thrilled to have Taylor join our team,” Householder said. “Taylor’s skills and experience will be an important part of the work we are doing for the people of Ohio.”


She will assume her duties on Monday.


Jach joins the House from a prominent public relations firm in Washington, D.C., where she served clients in a broad range of industries. Additionally, she worked at one of the world’s largest law firms handling all media engagement and with the State Department supporting the Public Affairs Office.


Jach earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Xavier University and her Master’s degree in International Media from American University.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—The Association of Ohio Health Commissioners today provided proponent testimony in support of House Bill 338, State Representative Dave Greenspan’s (R-Westlake) legislation which creates a due process protocol to address mental health and deadly weapons. Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola, who also serves as the Association’s President-elect, submitted a statement on their behalf.


House Bill 338, also known as the Mental Health Awareness and Community Violence Protection Act, received its second hearing in the House Health Committee. According to the statement offered by the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners, the bill’s provisions provide a way to “release a pressure valve and intervene in a crisis, or better yet before a crisis hits,” adding that “it will be worth our while to explore all legal means to do so.”


House Bill 338 clearly outlines a multi-step, due process protocol that may involve law enforcement, a preliminary mental evaluation by a mental health professional, an extensive mental health evaluation, and an appearance before a probate judge if it is determined at each step in the process that an individual may present a threat to themselves or to others. The bill provides a combination of four levels of interviews, evaluations and legal processes – including representation before a judge with an attorney present – before a determination is made as to the subject of deadly weapons.


“This bill is a responsible and responsive approach to address the issue of mental illness and deadly weapons and respects the individual due process protections,” said Representative Greenspan. “I am grateful to see the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners come out in support of it.”


House Bill 338 now awaits its next committee hearing. The text of the legislation and a PowerPoint outlining its provisions may be found through the below link.


https://ohiolis.sharefile.com/d-sb30997fe3d64fd09

 
 
  
 
Rep. Lipps Applauds The Passage Of Mobile Dental Facilities Bill
This bill will allow greater access to proper oral health care
November 06, 2019
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) today applauded the unanimous passage of his legislation, House Bill 203. This legislation will make the services provided by Mobile Dental Facilities (MDF’s) more effective in order to allow greater access to proper oral health care. Dental care is the number one unmet health care need in Ohio. These MDF’s provide access to uninsured and underinsured Ohio families and children.


In a continuous effort to lower health care costs and administrative burden, Representative Lipps introduced HB 203 to limit the likelihood of out of pocket costs for patients. This bill will allow medical records of patients who are serviced at Mobile Dental Facilities to transfer to a dentist office. Ensuring these records follow the patient makes certain they receive effective follow up care, without the possibility of paying for a service they already received at a Mobile Dental Facility.


“This simple bill will effect a massive change,” said Lipps. “Our office has been focused on lowering health care costs and clarifying the purposefully confusing and burdensome healthcare system. This bill does just that.”


The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – Surprise medical bills – those unexpected charges that can cost patients hundreds or even thousands of dollars – would become a thing of the past under legislation being proposed in the Ohio House of Representatives.


The measure, introduced today by State Representative Adam Holmes, would end the days of consumers being blindsided by unexpected bills.


“More and more Ohioans are being stuck with surprise medical bills. They deserve action,” said Holmes (R-Nashport). “This legislation is about people, it’s about patients. When you or a loved one is recovering from surgery or a procedure, the last thing you need is more surprises. It’s time to stop playing ‘gotcha’ with patients and let them focus on getting well.”


A “surprise” medical bill is an unexpected bill a patient receives from an out-of-network health care practitioner, such as an anesthesiologist, after receiving care in a hospital or facility that’s in the patient’s insurance network. Because the health care practitioner is out-of-network, patients can be left holding the bill for additional costs not covered by insurance.


One of the things especially frustrating about surprise billing, Holmes said, is that patients often believe the health care professionals caring for them are all in-network.


“Many times, they don’t find out until they receive a surprise bill in the mail,” Holmes said.


According to Stanford University researchers, surprise billing is on the rise across America and so is the expense, with average costs tripling over a seven-year period to more than $2,000 per bill.


A recent poll found that one third of privately-insured Ohioans report having received a surprise medical bill.


The bill represents a free market solution to the problem of surprise billing. Under the legislation, an out-of-network health care professional, who provides care during an in-network procedure, could elect to be paid the in-network rate by the insurance company or could negotiate a different rate with the insurance company.


If no agreement is reached, the health care provider can pursue “baseball style” arbitration. Under this approach each side would submit documentation supporting their position to a neutral, third party arbiter who would make a final, binding decision.


The key, Holmes said, is that regardless of how the issue is decided, it would be resolved between the provider and the insurance company – without the patient being stuck in the middle.


Nearly eight in 10 Americans support legislative action to protect patients from surprise medical bills, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, which found strong support among Democrats, Republicans and independents.


“It’s time to bring consistency and clarity to a complex issue,” Holmes said. “This legislation will protect consumers and give them the peace of mind they deserve,” Holmes said.


 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— State Representatives Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) today announced the Ohio House passage of House Bill 197, the "Tax Code Streamlining and Correction Act." HB 197 makes over 100 changes updating laws governing taxation. The legislation makes our tax code accurate and clear by fixing errors.


HB 197 updates the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) sections by addressing typographical errors, incorrect cross-references, removing obsolete sections, and rearranging organizational defects.


“The Tax Code Streamlining and Correction Act is not a flashy bill, but corrects over 100 errors in the tax code,” said Powell. “Today, with a single bill, the Ohio House is fixing decades of accumulated mistakes and errors embedded into our tax laws…mistakes which undermine our legal code.”


“Ohioans and businesses will have a better opportunity to prosper with a clear and accurate tax code,” said Merrin.


This bill has garnered support from the Ohio Society of CPAs, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), County Treasurers Association of Ohio, and the County Auditors Association of Ohio.


HB 197 passed the Ohio House unanimously and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Representative Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) today announced the Ohio House passage of House Bill 24, legislation that updates the Ohio Revised Code relating to humane societies and their agents.


HB 24 improves public accountability for humane society organizations and their agents and encourages a more consistent and coordinated enforcement of animal cruelty laws. HB 24 is the culmination of nearly five years of work and 20 different working versions of this legislation.


“This legislation will bring the code up to date with current humane society practices, while improving the public accountability for these organizations and their agents,” said Hambley. “It will likewise encourage a more consistent and coordinated enforcement of animal cruelty laws.”


The legislation takes many steps to update the revised code regarding Humane Society Law, the appointment of Humane Agents and the use of Special Prosecutors. HB 24 requires each county humane society, and the Ohio Humane Society, to submit an annual report of enforcement activities to the appropriate county sheriff.


HB 24 specifies that the records of an enforcement activity by a humane society agent are public records under Ohio Public Records Law, the procedures for the removal from office of a humane society agent for “just cause,” and that a humane society agent is a "public servant" for the purposes of bribery law and is therefore subject to the criminal statute on bribery.


Furthermore, the legislation prohibits a humane society from entering into a written agreement not to prosecute a person for an alleged violation of law unless the agreement has been reviewed and approved by a judge. It also expands the current law, which governs the seizure and impoundment of companion animals, to apply to the seizure and impoundment of any animal when related to a violation of domestic animal law. The written notice, which the impounding officer must provide to the owner, must be given not later than 24 hours after the animal was seized and impounded.


The law governing the amount of bond that a court may determine must be provided by the owner of the animal for the care of the animal during impoundment is modified in HB 24 using a “necessary and reasonable” standard. Additionally, the minimum monthly salary of humane agents for human agents is also increased for the first time since 1953. HB 24 also gives County Commissioners the flexibility to pay for the Humane Agents and appointed prosecuting attorneys of animal abuse cases out of the general fund or the dog and kennel fund, as they so choose.


House Bill 24 passed the Ohio House unanimously and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives has approved State Representative Derek Merrin’s legislation to make local property tax ballot issues simpler and easier to understand.


Language voters find on their ballots describing local levy proposals is outdated and confusing. That would change under House Bill 76.


“When Ohioans vote, they shouldn’t need a calculator to figure out what they’re voting on. The language describing a proposed levy should be clear, concise and easy to understand. That’s common sense – and that’s what this plan does,” Merrin said.


Merrin (R-Monclova Township) said that beginning in 1939, state law required millage to be expressed in a dollar amount related to $100 of property value – a great idea, given the complexities of the way property tax millage is calculated. Unfortunately, he added, state law hasn’t kept up with the times and has become antiquated.


Merrin’s bill would require ballot language and election notices to convey a proposed property tax levy’s rate in dollars for each $100,000 of a property’s fair market value, instead of in dollars for each $100 of taxable value.


“This is not only easier to understand, but it is consistent with how news outlets and levy campaign supporters often describe a levy proposal,” Merrin said.


The bill would also require ballot language and election notices to include an estimate of how much the levy would collect annually.


Similar language was included in the state budget earlier this year, but later vetoed by Governor Mike DeWine.


House Bill 76, which was approved 54-39, now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – State Representative Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) today announced the Ohio House’s passage of legislation he sponsored, House Bill 65, or “Chase’s Law.” This bill will require any childcare providers licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to notify parents if ODJFS determines that the provider allowed serious risk to a child’s safety.


Chase Ward, the bill’s namesake, was only two years old when his caretakers left him behind after a field trip, accidentally abandoning him near a busy street in Westerville. Though he was recovered safely, the daycare did not inform his parents until three days post-incident and was never under any obligation to notify the parents of other children receiving care. Current law does not require childcare providers to notify parents, beyond those immediately affected, that an incident causing serious risk to a child occurred, even if ODJFS has investigated and made an official determination. This legislation ensures that Ohio parents will be made aware of unsafe behaviors or incidents at the place with which they have entrusted the care of their children.


“I’m grateful to my colleagues for their overwhelming bipartisan support of Chase’s Law,” said Rep. Carfagna. “Entrusting the care and safety of our children to others is a sacred commitment. When that trust is compromised in the most pronounced of circumstances, at minimum there should be a duty to notify the parents of other children under the same care so they can then make informed decisions.”


Specific requirements under House Bill 65 include that the notification must be provided to parents within 15 business days of the official ODJFS determination of noncompliance. Alternately, in the event that the daycare requests a review of the determination of noncompliance, parental notice will be provided within five business days of the completion of the ODJFS review. The bill endeavors to further support parents by making them aware of little-known ODJFS resources regarding individual risk determinations. Under the bill, notices sent to parents must include references to the ODJFS website, encouraging recipients to take advantage of the online information.


House Bill 65 strives to provide parents with peace of mind and with up-to-date information about their child’s wellbeing, as well as accountability and due process for childcare providers.


House Bill 65 is supported by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospitals in Dayton, Akron and Cincinnati, University Hospitals Cleveland and ProMedica. HB 65 passed the Ohio House with 89 affirmative votes and one negative vote and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
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State Representative Bob Cupp Elected Speaker Of The Ohio House Of Representatives

 

COLUMBUS – Today, State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was elected as the new Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.



 
 

Ohio House OKs Voucher Overhaul Plan

 

COLUMBUS – A plan to replace the EdChoice voucher program and lay the foundation for an overhaul of Ohio’s school report card and testing system has been approved by the Ohio House of Representatives.



 
 

Representative Larry Householder Elected Speaker

 

COLUMBUS – On January 7th, Representative Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was elected Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 133rd General Assembly. Householder represents the 72nd House District, encompassing all of Coshocton and Perry counties, as well as parts of Licking County. Representative Householder, currently serving his second consecutive term in the Ohio House, previously served as Speaker from 2001 to 2004.



 
 

Speaker Householder Announces Several Appointments

 

COLUMBUS – Speaker Larry Householder made several appointments today to the following special committees, the Controlling Board, and the Legislative Task Force on Redistricting.