COLUMBUS—State Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) today honored Trooper Juan "Ray" Santiago who was named the 2016 Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year.

"I am pleased to honor Trooper Santiago for his commitment to our community and the State of Ohio," said Senator Manning. "Ohioans should take comfort in knowing that Ohio’s Highway Patrol has some of the best-trained and most dedicated public servants in the country. Thank you to Trooper Santiago and those who join him in an effort to keep our Ohio's families safe."  

Resident of Elyria in Lorain County, Santiago joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 2010 and was named Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year from among nine District Troopers of the Year across the state.

Helping Families Save for their Children's Futures
The Senate also passed legislation today doubling the maximum income tax deduction to $4,000 per beneficiary for contributions to college savings accounts and disability expense savings accounts with the goal of helping Ohio families save for their children's futures.

"Whether it is savings for a college education or to ensure the best quality of life for a child living with a disability, setting aside these dollars can be a heavy burden for many families," said Manning, who co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate. "With this bill, we hope to provide some additional tax relief for families so they can take the necessary steps to save for their loved ones' futures."

Senate Bill 5 builds on a law passed in 2016, which established Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings accounts so families can save and make funds available for their loved ones' disability-related expenses. Additionally, the bill establishes the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability to study and develop innovative strategies to reduce the cost of attending college in the state.  

As the cost of higher education continues to rise nearly every year, it has become increasingly difficult for students and families to afford a college degree without accumulating an significant amounts of student loan debt.

Increasing the tax deduction for contributions to an Ohio college savings plan will allow families to save more money over time in order to prepare for higher education costs. Other states, including Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have increased their allowed tax deductions for contributions to a 529 college savings plan.

Senate Bill 5 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Similar language is also contained in the Senate's version of the biennial state budget, which was announced earlier this week. 

Funding the Ohio Industrial Commission
The Senate also today passed House Bill 28, the biennial Industrial Commission budget, which serves injured workers and provides support for businesses by adjudicating workers' compensations claims and keeping thousands of disputes out of Ohio's court system. This is the fourth consecutive budget with a decrease due to efficiencies achieved by the agency.

National Missing Children's Day
Senate Bill 86 designating May 25 as "National Missing Children's Day" also passed the Senate today. This legislation is aimed at raising awareness about missing children and providing support for families coping with the tragedy of a missing child.

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