Senators Keith Faber, Larry Obhof and Tom Patton join local officials for the ribbon cutting at the new state-of-the-art Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden - Presented by KeyBank
COLUMBUS - 

Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today visited The Cleveland Museum of Natural History to take part in the ribbon cutting at the all-new Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden - Presented by KeyBank.

Faber was instrumental in securing funds for The Cleveland Museum of Natural History during the state's capital budget process earlier this year. Senators Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) joined President Faber to recognize the accomplishment alongside northeast Ohio business and community leaders and museum officials.

"This wildlife exhibit at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gives Ohioans incredible, new educational and cultural experiences, and I appreciate all the work the Cleveland community put into this project," said Faber. "Ohio's strong fiscal health allows the state to make responsible investments like this to improve the quality of life in our communities."

The wildlife center is the first addition as part of the museum's Centennial Transformation Project and its grand opening to the public is scheduled for Labor Day Weekend. The transformed two-acre outdoor gallery will give visitors a personal experience with up-close animal encounters and the chance to explore five Ohio ecosystems.

"The Museum is deeply appreciative of the strong support and encouragement we have received from the state of Ohio, which has been essential to the success of our transformation project to build for the future - educating the next generation of scientists and well-informed citizens and inspiring all of our visitors to explore the natural beauty of Ohio and join in the adventure of science," said Dr. Evalyn Gates, Executive Director and CEO of the Museum.

"This wildlife center continues to solidify Cleveland's status as one of the nation's cultural gems, and the state-of-the-art improvements being made at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History reflect the community's, and the state's, appreciation for the arts," said Senator Patton.

The museum received $3,300,000 in this year's capital budget to help create a wing housing nine new major exhibit galleries, climate?controlled spaces for five million objects, state-­of­?the­?art research labs for the museum's 11 science departments, and a new lobby, café, store, courtyard and plaza.

The legislature generally approves a capital budget every two years, and Ohio’s fiscal health and prudent spending strategies make it possible to take on such projects. This year’s capital spending plan supports Ohio job creation, grows the state’s economy and adds value to our communities and our citizens’ lives.

The Cleveland Natural History Museum attracts visitors from all 88 Ohio counties, educates K-­12 students in more than 60 percent of Ohio counties, and conducts research and does land conservation work in more than 25 counties.

The museum anticipates the projects will lead to a 40 percent increase in both in-state and out-­of­?state visitors. To learn more about the updates and additions to The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Perkins Wildlife Center - Presented by Keybank, visit their website.

 
 
  
Senate President Keith Faber presents head brewer Fred Karm of Akron's Hoppin' Frog Brewery with the gavel used earlier this year to pass new legislation lifting restrictions on Ohio breweries
COLUMBUS - 

Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today joined owner and head brewer Fred Karm of Akron's Hoppin' Frog Brewery to recognize recent legislation that removed the state's 12 percent alcohol by volume limit, allowing brewers to expand their offerings and increase Ohio's competitiveness in the brewing industry.

President Faber, who co-sponsored the legislation to lift the limit for Ohio breweries, awarded Karm the gavel used during Senate session the day the bill was passed.

"Ohio is home to countless breweries and brewpubs, and it's important that we equip these innovators and small businesses with the tools they need to compete," said Faber. "We are committed to making Ohio a top state to open and operate a business and by lifting this restriction, small businesses like Hoppin' Frog and many others will have room to grow or begin brewing in our state."

The state had not changed the alcohol by volume limit since 2002, when it rose from 6 percent to 12 percent. The bill allows Ohio's brewers to craft beers greater than 12 percent alcohol by volume if packaging states that the product is a high alcohol beer.

“It was a privilege to work on this issue with President Faber and the legislature. This is a big step forward for the brewery industry in Ohio, and we are very honored to receive this recognition," said Karm. “To celebrate, we are throwing a weeklong party in our Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog Brewery and releasing our first beer above the old Ohio limit.”

Faber helped to champion the effort in the legislature to ensure that the state's well-established craft beer industry remains ahead of the pack nationally and continues to provide jobs and opportunities for Ohioans.

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and now distributes beer in 21 states and 18 countries.

 
 
  
 
Taking A Stand Against Opiate Abuse
A Guest Column by State Senator Bob Peterson
August 26, 2016
 
 

The faces of opiate addiction are all around us. They are our neighbors, our coworkers and our closest friends. Sometimes they are our own family members. Throughout southern Ohio, we’ve suffered the loss of life and witnessed firsthand how addiction can tear families apart. 

For many, addiction begins when legitimately prescribed narcotics are either misused or fall into the wrong hands. Once addicted, the body’s physical and psychological dependence often leads the user to pursue alternatives, such as heroin, which are significantly cheaper and, unfortunately, widely available. The rate of death caused by accidental drug overdose has increased by more than 400 percent since 2000. Drug overdoses claim the lives of five Ohioans each and every day. 

Gaining a foothold in the battle against opiate addiction requires innovation, determination and persistence. Combatting the opiate addiction crisis requires strong collaboration between our criminal justice system and addiction services. Programs like the Ross County Heroin Partnership Project are helping to treat incoming jail inmates with substance abuse issues and connect them with the appropriate services. Providing such addiction services during incarceration is shown to decrease recidivism. 

As the new school year begins, teachers and community leaders must bring the message of drug prevention into the classroom. Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the formation of the Joint Student Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education, which is made up of legislators, law enforcements professionals, educators and drug prevention and treatment specialists. The committee is tasked with reexamining drug use prevention education offered in Ohio’s schools and submitting recommendations for strategic improvements to existing programs. While the fight against opiate addiction is an uphill battle, several initiatives in our own community are already making important strides forward. In Gallia County, for example, a program spearheaded by Health Recovery Services Inc. called Teen Institute is spreading awareness in local schools. Led by middle- and high-school students, the organization offers after-school programs and camps that promote leadership and healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

Through programs like the Teen Institute, the youth in our community are taking a stand against the drug abuse by speaking directly to their peers. These programs encourage our young people to make decisions that lay the groundwork for a healthy, successful future while building valuable leadership skills. Those of us who are parents of young people should realize that talking about drugs starts in the home but continues in the classroom. Ohio's General Assembly will continue to support drug prevention programs and other initiatives aimed at preempting addiction before it takes root.

The opiate epidemic is a war that must be fought on all fronts. As the rate of death from accidental overdose continues to rise, we must join with our neighbors to do everything in our power to reclaim Ohio from opiate addiction – for the student who is thinking about trying drugs to fit in, for the loved ones of those who are struggling and for the inmate looking for a fresh start. There is still much work to be done in our efforts to combat Ohio’s addition crisis.

 
 
  
 
Safe Driving Awareness Month
A Guest Column by Senate President Keith Faber
August 24, 2016
 
 

Life is full of distractions. Driving can offer a rare moment of escape from the buzzing of our smart phones and the demands of the day. By making the inside of our vehicles a refuge instead of a workspace, we send the message to our children that distractions are a choice, not a necessity. Too many Ohioans have learned from experience that picking up the phone to text even for a few seconds can forever alter the course of someone’s life. 
 
September’s Safe Driving Awareness Month is a time to consider the consequences of distracted driving and hold each other to a higher standard. For the young drivers who are taking the steering wheel for the first time as they return to school this fall, adults set the standard for safe driving. When we check a work email from behind the wheel, we send the message to the young people around us that the risk we’re taking is acceptable.
 
Nothing could be further from the truth. Back in 2013, the devastating impact of distracted driving made front-page news when Maria Tiberi, the daughter of Columbus sports anchor Dom Tiberi, tragically died after her car crashed into the back of a semi-truck. The Tiberi family has taken Maria’s story into schools to share the personal impact of distracted driving with the hope that other families might avoid the pain they’ve endured.
 
The story of Maria Tiberi and thousands of other Ohioans inspired the Ohio legislature to pass legislation designating every September as Safe Driving Awareness Month. Though my colleagues and I have passed legislation to promote safe driving by making texting and driving illegal, we recognize that too many Ohioans are not getting the message. For drivers under 18, a conviction for texting and driving can result in a 60-day license suspension or $150 fine, but over 70 percent of teen drivers admit to doing it anyway. The consequences are sobering.  According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 13,261 drivers in Ohio crashed while distracted in 2015. Thousands were seriously injured and 43 drivers and passengers lost their lives.
 
Every person whose life has been irreversibly impacted by distracted driving knows that in one moment, everything can change. Consider that a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will cross the length of a football field in roughly five seconds; that is about the same amount of time it takes to read the average text. If we are not willing to drive down a football field blindfolded, common sense says that we also shouldn’t be willing to spend an equal amount of time looking away from the road at our phones.
 
September is an opportune time to focus on the risks of distracted driving, but we must be vigilant every month of the year. If you’re the parent of a young driver, remind them that even if they’re mostly focused on the road, the driver in the car two lanes over may be out hunting for Pokemon or taking selfies with the latest Snapchat filters. None of us can control the actions of others, but we can make sure that we and our family members are doing the best we can to stay alert and protect ourselves on the road. Like the Tiberi family, we can share stories that encourage our friends and neighbors to think twice about picking up the phone or digging around for something on the car floor instead of watching the road. By example, we can demonstrate to new drivers that their lives are more important than whatever is competing for their attention.
 
This September, I invite you to join me in promoting safe driving practices in our local community. Let's commit to making our vehicles an escape from distractions, not a place to catch up on work or text messages. The lives of our family members, friends and neighbors are too precious to take the risk.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) this week announced the release of state capital funds for facility upgrades at Deer Creek State Park.

On Monday, the Ohio Controlling Board released a grant in the amount of $984,480 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for various infrastructure and exterior upgrades near the park's main lodge. Funding for the project was included as part of the state's capital budget, approved by the Ohio General Assembly earlier this year.

"We hope that these facility improvements will help to enhance the visitor experience for the thousands of families that take advantage of Deer Creek each year," said Peterson who sits on the Controlling Board.

Improvements include the replacement of the original HVAC components for the park lodge which was constructed in 1979. Additional upgrades are aimed at improving visitor safety with lighting upgrades in public areas and the replacement of deteriorating retention walls around the park pool and shuffle board courts.

Located in the heart of Ohio's agricultural country, Deer Creek State Park is a premier outdoor vacation destination in central Ohio. The 2,337-acre resort park features scenic meadows and woodlands, a modern lodge, cottages, campground, golf course, swimming beach and boating for outdoor enthusiasts.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senators Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) announced the release of state capital funds approved for the purchase and renovation of a new facility for the Athens Photographic Project, which provides therapeutic and expressive opportunities for individuals living with mental illnesses in southeast Ohio.

On Monday, the Ohio Controlling Board released a grant in the amount of $175,000 to the project for the purchase and renovation of their facility which will serve residents from Vinton, Hocking and Athens counties. Funding for the project was included as part of the state's capital budget, approved by the Ohio General Assembly earlier this year.

"The Athens Photo Project is helping to strengthen the quality of life and providing a source of social inclusion by integrating the arts and mental health recovery services in our community," said Senator Peterson, who sits on the Controlling Board.

In collaboration with community partners consisting of the arts, mental health, Ohio University and development organizations, the Athens Photographic Project provides courses for those living with mental illnesses to engage in discovery and creative expression through photography.

"This unique partnership with Ohio University also provides students experiential learning opportunities working with individuals struggling with mental illness,” said Peterson.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

The nation's largest property and casualty insurance trade organization today named State Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) as its 2016 State Legislator of the Year. Recipients of the award are recognized for their support of free-market principles and for taking strong positions to improve the insurance market in their states.

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this distinction,” said Hackett. “Strengthening and modernizing Ohio's insurance laws not only benefits the countless small businesses involved in the state's insurance industry but also helps protect Ohioans who rely on their coverage. I would like to thank NAMIC for being a valuable partner in our efforts to make reforms here in Ohio and across the country."

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies announced its decision in a letter sent to Senator Hackett earlier today.

"Congratulations on this well-earned recognition of your leadership on insurance issues both in Ohio and on the national stage," said Charles Chamness, president of NAMIC.

Hackett serves as vice chair of the Ohio Senate Insurance Committee, a position he was named to in April after being appointed to fill the vacant seat for Ohio's 10th Senate District, which encompasses Clark, Madison and Greene counties. Before his appointment to the Senate, Hackett represented Ohio's 74th House district since 2009, serving as chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

Prior to joining the legislature Hackett served as Madison County Commissioner from 2001-2008. He and his wife Sue reside in London, Ohio

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) issued the following statement regarding Ohio's jobs report released earlier today. The report showed that Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in July, down from 5.0 percent the prior month, as Ohio added roughly 11,400 new jobs:

“Ohio’s economy continues to improve, as we added jobs in manufacturing, education and health services,” said Obhof. “Common sense policies, including regulatory reform and lowering Ohioans’ tax burden, have improved the state’s business climate and are leading to better opportunities for Ohio families.”

Ohio's employers have added roughly 79,000 new jobs over the past year, and the state is up by more than 430,000 private sector jobs since January 2011.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today introduced legislation to save taxpayers money by eliminating unnecessary primary elections.

Currently, Ohio law requires local boards of election to hold primary elections when two or more people file to run for an office, even if only one candidate remains on the ballot after the death, withdrawal or disqualification of the other candidates. Senate Bill 347 would change the law to trigger a primary election based on the number of candidates who are certified to appear on the ballot, not the number of candidates who file.

"Our county boards of elections work hard to stretch every taxpayer dollar as far as it will go to ensure efficient, fair elections," said LaRose. "Forcing them to hold uncontested primary elections is a clear waste of time and taxpayer resources. This commonsense, bipartisan bill would remove the unnecessary cost burden placed on local communities and improve efficiency in the administration of our elections."

Current Ohio law also requires that a special primary election be held to fill a vacancy when a party's nominee for Congress withdraws from the race or dies more than 90 days before the general election. Senate Bill 347 removes the requirement to hold a primary when only one candidate remains on the ballot and gives the Secretary of State authority to declare the sole remaining candidate as the party's nominee.

"Six counties will hold an uncontested election to nominate the Democratic challenger for Speaker Boehner's former seat next month," said LaRose. "Estimates suggest that the state of Ohio will be forced to spend approximately $500,000 in taxpayer money on this superfluous election. Secretary Husted called on the General Assembly to act to prevent this kind of wasteful spending in the future, and we're responding."

Senate Bill 347 will soon be referred to a Senate committee for further consideration.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS - Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) issued the following statement today regarding Auditor of State Dave Yost’s remarks at the Charter School Summit:

"I commend Auditor Yost for his leadership on the accountability and funding of our charter schools. He’s absolutely right that we should be paying for outcomes and more specifically for a quality education.

We expect our schools to successfully educate kids, and that’s what they should be paid to do. We’ve learned that basing our higher education funding formula on performance and course completion has resulted in improvements to both. The same philosophy should be applied to primary and secondary education as well. I look forward to continuing this discussion not only with the auditor but also with my legislative colleagues in the days ahead."

 
 
  
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Featured Posts

Faber, Senate Leaders Visit Cleveland Museum Of Natural History To Celebrate Opening Of New Wildlife Center

 
COLUMBUS - 

"This wildlife exhibit at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gives Ohioans incredible, new educational and cultural experiences, and I appreciate all the work the Cleveland community put into this project," said Faber. "Ohio's strong fiscal health allows the state to make responsible investments like this to improve the quality of life in our communities."



 
 

Faber Visits Local Brewery As State Lifts Restrictions On Ohio's Brewers

 
COLUMBUS - 

"Ohio is home to countless breweries and brewpubs, and it's important that we equip these innovators and small businesses with the tools they need to compete," said Faber. "We are committed to making Ohio a top state to open and operate a business and by lifting this restriction, small businesses like Hoppin' Frog and many others will have room to grow or begin brewing in our state."



 
 

Taking A Stand Against Opiate Abuse

 

As the new school year begins, teachers and community leaders must bring the message of drug prevention into the classroom.



 
 

Safe Driving Awareness Month

 

This September, I invite you to join me in promoting safe driving practices in our local community. Let's commit to making our vehicles an escape from distractions, not a place to catch up on work or text messages. The lives of our family members, friends and neighbors are too precious to take the risk.