Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) today issued the below statement:
“Over a year ago Republican and Democratic members stood together and proudly presented thoughtful public policy solutions to benefit all Ohioans, especially those most vulnerable or in need. These were based on strengthening our communities, families, health and the economy. It was a proud moment for the Ohio House and the people of our state. The largest, most important public policy has been these 13 priority bills that we worked on jointly.
This includes House Bill 1, which focused on giving individuals a second chance by expanding intervention in lieu of conviction and broadening the application of record sealing. House Bills 2, 4 and 9 make it easier for people to obtain the skills and education they need to get jobs and better provide for their families.
Just last week we passed our priority bill known as Aisha’s Law (House Bill 3), which provides for more protections for victims of domestic violence and helps to stop these tragedies from happening.
In addition to what we did in the budget we’re funding a public defender state loan repayment program in order to bring more consistent public defense to Ohio (House Bill 5).
We are working to ensure that everyone has access to clean water with the H2Ohio program (House Bill 7), strengthening Ohio’s families by providing improved foster care training with House Bill 8, and implementing a kinship care program with House Bill 14.
House Bill 10 helps to better combat the opioid affliction that Ohio is currently facing.
Finally we are protecting our children’s mental health by strengthening our behavioral and mental health network with House Bill 12 and are working to help at risk mothers with prenatal health initiatives through House Bill 11.
Soon we hope to stretch broadband to the farthest corners of the state so that every Ohioan has equitable Internet access to help them succeed.
There is more work to be done, but these were not the priorities the Minority Party identified then.
For Minority Leader Sykes to complain about the alleged failure of the General Assembly to enact recommendations from a task force report from five years ago conveniently overlooks that none of those recommendations were part of the bipartisan priority bill list that she herself endorsed early last year, and also conveniently overlooks that the Majority party has delivered on all of those 2019 priorities that she identified – many of which were criminal justice system reform issues.
Amidst the shards of broken Statehouse window glass, and the extensive vandalism of the last few days, Rep. Sykes also seems to have forgotten that many other bipartisan criminal justice reform bills have passed the Ohio House, including the one she and I jointly sponsored to permit greater justice for those whose wrongful convictions are overturned; a priority bill precluding the imposition of the death penalty on the seriously mentally ill; and a far-reaching human trafficking bill that we just passed last week making it easier to prosecute those who would traffic 16 and 17 year old minors.
Many of these bills are stuck in Senate committee, three of them in Senate Finance. While the Republican caucus has worked to try and encourage the Senate to act on our bills, we also ask the Minority Caucus to help us work those Senate committees to get those priorities through the finish line and into law. Press releases when you pass a bill are nice, but if you truly care about the issues it’s important to work the bills in the Senate to make them become Law.”