COLUMBUS—Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse this week to discuss various bills aimed at making Ohio a safer and healthier place, including three bills sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay).

Preventing Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Student Athletes

This week, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 252, also known as "Lindsay's Law," named after former Miss Ohio Lindsay Davis, a national heart health advocate, who suffers from a heart problem and has dedicated her career to raising awareness about heart conditions.

Last year, Senator Hite enlisted the help of the former Miss Ohio to help champion his bill in the Ohio Statehouse to equip Ohio coaches and athletic staff with the necessary training to identify and address the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest among student athletes. 

Nationally, sudden cardiac arrest is the number one killer of student athletes. Studies estimate that one out of every 100 children is living with an undetected heart condition. 

“This bill equips coaches to recognize the symptoms that often lead to sudden cardiac arrest," said Hite. "Coaches will be prepared if students show certain symptoms, and quickly get them the potentially life-saving screening and treatment they need."

Hite, a former educator and high school football coach, knows firsthand that awareness has the potential to save lives.

"I’m so thankful that Darren Sudman from Simon’s Fund and former Miss Ohio Lindsay Davis brought this important issue to my attention," added Hite.

Amendments made to the bill in the House of Representatives were approved by the Senate earlier this week, and the bill now goes to the governor to be signed into law. 

Click here for coverage of Senator Hite and Lindsay Davis as they discuss the importance of recognizing the signs leading to sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes.

Supporting Local Police Chiefs

Senate Bill 322, also sponsored by Senator Hite and approved in the Senate this week, provides additional training opportunities to help equip local police chiefs as effective leaders in their departments and in their communities. 

The legislation would establish a 40-hour police chief training program designed for newly appointed local police chiefs. Course content would include diversity training with an emphasis on historical perspectives and community-police relations. 

"I’d like to thank Chief Michael Harnishfeger of Ada, Ohio for bringing this idea to my attention," said Hite. "We’ve worked on this for 3 years, with the help of a number of different organizations including the Attorney General’s office and the Ohio Police Chief’s Association.”

Senate Bill 322 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

Developing Impactful Strategies to Address Ohio's Diabetes Problem

Members of the Ohio Senate Health and Human Services Committee decided to merge Senator Hite's legislation to establish a statewide Diabetes Action Plan into House Bill 216, a larger bill encompassing various healthcare-related reforms earlier this week. 

“I’m thrilled that we found a legislative vehicle for our Diabetes Action Plan. Diabetes is something that has become close to an epidemic in this state and we need to be more vigilant about helping people that have Type I or Type II diabetes."

Senator Hite's plan seeks to more efficiently combat diabetes, which currently affects more than 1.3 million Ohioans and nearly 3 million who are considered pre-diabetic. The proposal, passed unanimously in the Senate in May, improves Ohio's diabetes prevention and management efforts by assessing incidence rates as well as forming a statewide plan to address the disease and its complications.

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in Ohio. The legislation requires certain state agencies to asses the incidence of diabetes, along with establishing goals to reduce its prevalence. The Diabetes Action Plan will help legislators, policy makers and medical professionals to work together to take strategic steps toward increasing diabetes care, reducing associated risks and controlling complications.

The modified version of House Bill 216 must be approved in the Ohio Senate before it returns to the House for further consideration. 


COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today announced the passage of legislation which he sponsored to ensure that Ohio's drug abuse laws appropriately reflect the potency of fentanyl-related substances and address their growing prevalence in overdose deaths.
"The alarming number of recent fentanyl related deaths is a serious concern," said LaRose. "This legislation was crafted to punish traffickers while ensuring treatment for addicts."
Fentanyl, a drug typically prescribed in clinical settings, is used as a powerful synthetic opiate to treat or manage pain after surgery. In some instances, the drug is prescribed to treat patients with chronic pain who are tolerant of other opiates. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
The number of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased again in 2015, driven by a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, according to a recent report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio have skyrocketed from 84 in 2013, to 503 in 2014 and rose to 1,155 in 2015.

“Fentanyl and carfentanil are killing Ohioans in record numbers. It’s not an overstatement to call it an epidemic. This stuff is lethal, deadly, and our constituents want us to address this scourge on our communities," LaRose added. 
Senator LaRose's legislation targets individuals trafficking fentanyl related substances. Individuals selling fentanyl will face tougher punishments. This legislation would lower the amount of fentanyl needed to receive higher-level felony convictions that carry longer sentences. It also provides a balance by not imprisoning those suffering from drug addiction.

Offenders charged with the possession of smaller amounts of the lethal substance will have the option to undergo drug treatment at the time of sentencing. These changes specify that when a fentanyl related drug conviction is connected to a homicide conviction, the prison time for each conviction will be consecutive, adding the amount of prison time for offenders who cause death involving fentanyl.
The bill also harmonizes state law with federal law by adding lisdexamfetamine to the Ohio schedule of controlled substances. Lisdexamfetamine is used to treat ADHD and hyperactivity and presents a high risk of abuse, especially in juveniles.

Click here to see Senator Frank LaRose deliver remarks urging his colleagues' support for the bill on the floor of the Ohio Senate.
Senate Bill 237 now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.


COLUMBUS - On Wednesday, lawmakers on the Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee approved legislation, sponsored by State Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), aimed at reforming statutes on nuisance, dangerous and vicious dogs.

"The Senate Agriculture Committee’s approval of the Klonda Richey Act is encouraging news for Ohioans living in fear for their family's safety because of dangerous animals in their neighborhoods," said Beagle. "I am hopeful that this legislation will receive favorable support from my colleagues on the floor of the Ohio Senate."

Following a string of tragic incidents in the Dayton area and across Ohio involving vicious dogs, Senator Bill Beagle introduced legislation seeking to close loopholes in existing law that prevent the owners of dangerous animals from being held accountable.

Named after a Dayton woman who was tragically mauled by her neighbor's dog in February 2014, the "Klonda Richey Act" seeks to prevent future attacks and to hold animal owners accountable. 

Before she was attacked outside her home in February 2014, Klonda Richey made more than a dozen phone calls to local authorities over several months about the threatening behaviors of her neighbor's dogs and the lack of care the animals were receiving. 
“The system failed Klonda Richey,” said Beagle. “We all agree that there are ways to improve the law and hold owners of dangerous dogs accountable."
The proposed legislation was drafted in collaboration with the city of Dayton, county officials, local prosecutors, dog wardens, sheriffs and others. 
Existing penalties do not correspond with the severity of offenses. Animal control experts describe the current law as “one free growl, one free bite, and one free kill." Senator Beagle's bill equips local authorities to address problem dogs and their owners without punishing those that are not a serious threat.

Provisions in the Klonda Richey Act include: 

  • Creating an overall penalty structure for nuisance, dangerous and vicious dogs including clear penalties for seriously injuring or killing a person or companion animal. Includes the permission for dogs to be humanely destroyed when they kill a person, companion animal or seriously injure a person
  • Extending the amount of time felons cannot own dogs from 3 to 5 years.
  • Clarifying that dog wardens have arresting authority
  • Requiring an investigation or follow up on every call to a dog warden
  • Requiring owners to respond to warnings or postings on the dwelling about their dogs within a defined amount of time.
  • Allowing witnesses to provide notarized affidavits (current codes do not allow a dog warden to cite owners unless they’re a witness to the incident)
  • Changing ‘provocation’ to an affirmative defense, instead of being an element of the offense
  • Creating a penalty for noncompliance on requirements for transferring a dangerous dog
  • Requiring each dog designated as "dangerous" be registered, with their information filed in a database that is updated annually 

The legislation now goes to the Senate Rules and Reference Committee before going to the Senate floor for a vote. 

Senate President Keith Faber honors the 2016 state champion Jackson Center girls volleyball team

COLUMBUS - Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today honored the Division IV state champion Jackson Center High School girls volleyball team on the floor of the Ohio Senate. The team earned the state title November 12 in a 3-game victory over New Philadelphia's Tuscarawas Central Catholic.

Jackson Center head coach Kim Metz was also named the Division IV Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Tigers to a perfect 30-0 record this season, the only team in Ohio to finish unbeaten.

"It's my honor to host the champion Jackson Center volleyball team and Coach Metz at the Statehouse," said Faber. "These young women are champions on and off the court, and they've made their community and school proud."

The 2016 state title marks the second in a row for the Lady Tigers.


COLUMBUS—State Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 237 in the Ohio Senate, which would dedicate a portion of Interstate 270 in Blendon Township as the “The Sean R. Johnson Memorial Highway.”

Officer Johnson was killed in the line of duty during a joint training exercise on May 19. A 16-year veteran of the Hilliard Division of Police, Officer Johnson was a part of the department's newly established traffic-safety unit, launched in April 2015. 

“The Hilliard community lost a devoted father and a courageous public servant with the death of Officer Sean Johnson in the line of duty. Today, we again pause and give thanks for the law enforcement officers who encounter danger on a regular basis to keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Senator Hughes, the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 237. “I am humbled to sponsor this measure in honor of Officer Sean Johnson."

Johnson was the first Hilliard officer to die in the line of duty in the division's 56-year history. Before joining Hilliard Police, Johnson had served with the attorney general’s Ohio Investigative Unit and was a Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputy. He also served six years in the U.S. Air Force and is survived by his two children, ages 14 and 11, and his mother.

Senate Bill 237 passed with unanimous, bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senator Bacon extends his hand in gratitude to the family of Sergeant First Class Zachary Bannister who died Oct. 17 during a training deployment with U.S. Army Special Forces in Kenya

COLUMBUS - On Tuesday, members of the Ohio Senate honored Army Green Beret, Sergeant First Class Zachary Bannister who died during a training deployment with his Special Forces unit in Kenya. 

"Sergeant First Class Zachary Bannister was a hero in every sense of the word," said Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville). "Our state and nation owes a debt of gratitude to Zachary and to the loving family this patriot leaves behind."

Bannister, a graduate of Reynoldsburg High School, was on his third deployment with U.S. Special Forces when he died on October 17. He previously served two tours of duty with his Green Beret Unit in Afghanistan where he earned three Bronze Stars. Before joining the Special Forces, Bannister served as an air-rescue firefighter in the Marines, serving two tours of duty in Iraq. 


COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today announced the passage of 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, authored by LaRose, 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 law requires 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 held an uncontested election to nominate the Democratic challenger for Speaker Boehner's former seat in September," said LaRose. "The state of Ohio was forced to spend more than $340,000 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."

The legislation has the support of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the Ohio Association of Election Officials. Senate Bill 347 passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and now proceeds to the Ohio House for further consideration.


COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) issued the following statement in response to the attack this morning on Ohio State University's campus:

"We're all Buckeyes today. Our prayers are with all of those affected by this tragedy, and we're grateful for the first responders who stepped in quickly to protect the public.

"We have great faith that law enforcement will help bring justice to the people responsible for this cowardly attack."

L to R: Senate Majority Whip-elect Gayle Manning, Senate President Pro Tempore-elect Bob Peterson, Senate President-elect Larry Obhof and Senate Majority Floor Leader-elect Randy Gardner.

COLUMBUS—Members of the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus today unanimously elected Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) to serve as President of the Ohio Senate for the 132nd General Assembly.

President-elect Obhof will be the first Senator from Medina County to lead the chamber since Senator Samuel Humphreyville, who served as the Senate's leader in the 1860s.

Senator Obhof was appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2011 and was elected by the voters in 2012 and again this year. He has served in leadership since 2013, first as Majority Whip and most recently as President Pro Tempore—the chamber's number two position. 

"I am honored that my colleagues have selected me to lead the Senate in the upcoming General Assembly,” said Obhof. “I look forward to continuing our efforts to improve Ohio’s economy and making sure our state is responsive to the people of Ohio." 

Senator Obhof will officially assume his role as Senate President on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 along with Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) as President Pro Tempore, Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) as Majority Floor Leader and Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) reelected as Majority Whip. 

Senator Obhof represents the 22nd Ohio Senate District, which encompasses all of Medina, Ashland and Richland counties as well as portions of Holmes County.

Senator Obhof has sponsored legislation covering a wide range of issues, including education, civil and criminal law, election administration and taxation. He has been named Watchdog of the Treasury by United Conservatives of Ohio and a friend of Agriculture by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. In 2013, Obhof was named Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business in recognition of his efforts to improve Ohio's economy. Obhof resides in Montville Township with his wife Nicole and their three daughters. 

Senator Peterson has served in the Ohio Senate since 2012. He currently chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which oversees legislation that affects state and local government revenues as well as tax collection. Before coming to the Ohio Senate, Senator Peterson served a term in the House of Representatives and 14 years as a Fayette County Commissioner. A lifelong farmer, Senator Peterson and his wife, Lisa, continue to operate their family farm in Fayette County where they live with their three children, Sarah, Hannah and Todd.

Senator Gardner has served in various leadership posts in the General Assembly including Senate Majority Leader, Senate President Pro Tempore, House Majority Leader and House Speaker Pro Tempore. As current Chairman of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, Senator Gardner puts his experience as a former educator to work, ensuring Ohio's schools have the necessary resources to prepare the next generation for success. He is also a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee as well as several panels addressing issues such as health care, agriculture and natural resources. Senator Gardner and his wife, Sandy, reside in Bowling Green and are the parents of three children, Brooks, Christina and Austin.

Senator Gayle Manning has been chosen to continue serving in her role as Senate Majority Whip. Before being sworn in as State Senator in 2011, Manning spent 37 years as an elementary school teacher. She has sponsored and co-sponsored various pieces of life-saving legislation aimed at combating the problem of heroin addiction. As Chair of the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Labor Committee, she oversaw the passage of a $7.06 billion investment in the construction, maintenance and safety of the state's job-sustaining highway system. She resides in North Ridgeville where she and her late husband, former State Representative Jeff Manning, raised their two children, Allison and Nathan. 

Honoring The Service And Sacrifices Of Ohio's Veterans
A Guest Column by State Senator John Eklund
November 10, 2016

Veteran’s Day is a time to express our gratitude for the current and former members of our Armed Forces. Originally established as Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the end of the First World War, the day was later changed to Veterans Day to honor all American service members.  

Home to nearly 850,000 veterans, Ohio has the sixth largest veteran population in the country. Each year, an additional 10,000 service members identify Ohio as home when transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce. The primary mission of the Ohio Department of Veteran Services is to help connect these men and women with job opportunities, education, and the benefits they have earned by virtue of their service.

As employers search for qualified workers to fill good-paying jobs all across the state, veterans are in high demand for their exceptional character and skills. I am proud to have co-sponsored legislation in the Ohio Senate requiring our state institutions of higher education to translate military training and coursework into meaningful credit toward degree completion. This common sense legislation helps our veterans complete their degree and accreditation programs in less time, allowing them to begin their careers and provide for their families.

Ohio is also helping veterans determine eligibility for the benefits they have rightfully earned. The Ohio Department of Veterans Services, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Medicaid, is required to assist veterans in determining which federal healthcare benefits they are eligible to receive and to aid them with program enrollment. These steps help our veterans make informed decisions and ensure necessary treatment is received.

Stringent red-tape, combined with lengthy wait times, has made it difficult for many veterans to easily provide proof of their veteran status, which is often needed for employment applications, hospital services, and retail and dining discounts. Earlier this year, Ohio passed legislation to help veterans obtain standardized state-issued identification cards recognizing their military service. Making these cards readily available is one simple way we can make life a little easier for our veterans.

In the state’s most recent budget, we cut income taxes for all Ohioans to the lowest levels since 1982. Adding to this tax relief, I supported legislation increasing the homestead tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for veterans with severe and permanent service-related disabilities. The same legislation also exempts disabled veterans from burdensome income restrictions in place for the homestead exemption. For many disabled veterans, this exemption can provide the assistance necessary for them to continue to afford living in their own homes.

In times of war and in times of peace, our military men and women put themselves in harm’s way to defend our country and the principles it represents. Our reverence for these patriots, and respect for the flag they have fought to protect, demonstrates our gratitude for their incredible sacrifices.

My colleagues and I in the Ohio Senate will continue to find new ways to make Ohio a better place for our veterans to live, work and raise a family. I hope you will join us this Veterans Day, and every day, in honoring Ohio's military veterans. To these men and women, we owe our deepest gratitude.

<< Older Posts
Featured Posts

Hite Praises Senate Passage Of Bills Creating A Safer, Healthier Ohio


Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse this week to discuss various bills aimed at making Ohio a safer and healthier place, including three bills sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay).


LaRose Announces Passage Of Legislation To Update Ohio's Drug Abuse Laws


"The alarming number of recent fentanyl related deaths is a serious concern," said LaRose. "This legislation was crafted to punish traffickers while ensuring treatment for addicts."


Senate Agriculture Committee Approves Bill Named After Dayton Woman Killed By Neighbors' Vicious Dog


"The Senate Agriculture Committee’s approval of the Klonda Richey Act is encouraging news for Ohioans living in fear for their family's safety because of dangerous animals in their neighborhoods," said Beagle. "I am hopeful that this legislation will receive favorable support from my colleagues on the floor of the Ohio Senate."


Faber Honors Jackson Center Volleyball Champs At Statehouse


"It's my honor to host the champion Jackson Center volleyball team and Coach Metz at the Statehouse," said Faber. "These young women are champions on and off the court, and they've made their community and school proud."