COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) recently participated in a panel discussion on voter registration and election administration hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the former commissioners of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) in Washington, DC.

Senator LaRose discussed his efforts to pass legislation in Ohio to allow the state to join the majority of states that provide their citizens the ability to register to vote online. The discussions also centered on ensuring the integrity and efficiency of ballots cast by overseas military personnel.

"I was delighted to join esteemed election leaders from across the country today to share Ohio's progress in enhancing the election process while at the same time gaining valuable information from individuals who have taken these important steps in other states," said LaRose. "Online voter registration has been a top priority for me and I look forward to Ohio joining 29 other states that give their voters secure and convenient option."

LaRose authored the bill to allow online voter registration in Ohio, passing nearly unanimously in the Ohio Senate last June. The bill is currently being considered by the Government Accountability and Oversight committee in the Ohio House.

"I was pleased that our discussion included finding ways to ensure our military men and women abroad feel confident that their vote counts. "By continuing to improve voting for overseas service members, we can better assure service members can exercise this freedom that they fight for. I would like to thank the BPC and PCEA for organizing such a meaningful event."

The panel discussion was part of an event hosted by the BPC entitled the Voting Experience: Two Years of Progress on Election Administration.

"Online voter registration improves access to and the integrity of the election process while also saving money," said Matthew Masterson, Commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. "I am thrilled to hear, thanks to Senator LaRose and Secretary Husted's leadership, that Ohio is on the brink of bringing this sensible solution to the voters of Ohio."

The panel discussion included election experts from across the country and focused on progress made toward implementation of the PCEA’s recommendations over the past two years including Election Day lines, early and absentee voting , voting technology, voter registration and data sharing.

"Online voter registration would be a significant modernization of voter registration for Ohioans because the electronic process is easy and accessible to voters around the clock daily," said Don Palmer, Senior Advisor on Election Administration for the Bipartisan Policy Center. "In addition, the enhanced security and verifiability of the electronic voter registration process would dramatically increase the overall accuracy and integrity of the voter registration database."

Prior to joining the Bipartisan Policy Center, Mr. Palmer previously served as the Secretary of the Virginia Board of Elections and as the Florida Director of Elections.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was established to identify best practices in election administration and to make recommendations to improve the voting experience. The PCEA issued a report two years ago outlining best practices in election administration, which sought to improve the American voter’s experience and promote confidence in the administration of elections nationwide.

Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit organization that drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue. For more information, visit their website.

Video of the forum can be found here.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) today highlighted new signs pointing to continued improvements in Ohio's business climate as a result of legislative efforts in recent years.

2015 marks the sixth consecutive year Ohio has set a new record for entities filing to do business in the state and a 40-year low in the number of Ohioans filing for unemployment benefits.

“Ohio's hard-working entrepreneurs have helped create these jobs along with our efforts to improve Ohio's business climate by eliminating superfluous red tape and job stifling bureaucracy." said LaRose. "We must continue to focus on effective, not burdensome, regulation while ensuring that entrepreneurs have the capacity to thrive in our state." LaRose said.

In 2015, Senator LaRose cosponsored legislation cutting the state's business filing fees by 21 percent, making Ohio's $99 filing fee the lowest fee in the Midwest, saving businesses an estimated $2 million annually. Following this effort, 9,746 new businesses registered with the Ohio Secretary of State's office in 2015, exceeding the previous year's record-setting number by 3,971 businesses.

In 2013, LaRose authored a regulatory reform measure, Senate Bill 3, to encourage economic growth and job creation by eliminating antiquated and obstructive rules and regulations. The bill added a number of improvements to the current rule-making process by increasing communications between state government and small businesses. These changes were made to ease the burden on Ohio’s entrepreneurs and small business people to ensure a more thoughtful approach to government regulation which considers a cost-benefit analysis before acting.

The rising number of new businesses has contributed to the 385,000 new private sector jobs created since January 2011. Fewer Ohioans filed for unemployment benefits in 2015 than in any year since 1973. Initial unemployment claims have dropped by 63 percent since the recession ended in 2009.

"These numbers and figures further demonstrate that solutions to Ohio’s challenges are found through better, smarter and smaller government," LaRose added.

At 4.5 percent, Ohio continues to outperform the national unemployment rate of 5.2 percent.

Further steps toward improving Ohio’s business climate include cutting income tax rates to the lowest level since 1982 and continuing the state’s 75 percent deduction on the first $250,000 of income for small businesses, which is supplemented by the creation of a 3 percent flat tax for small businesses earning more than $250,000.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) this week was named Legislator of the Year by The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA).

The OACHBA each year names a legislator who has exemplified leadership in regard to the Association's mission who has strived for legislative excellence on related issues. LaRose received the award at the Association’s annual awards ceremony in Columbus.

“I am honored to accept this award from the outstanding professionals who dedicate their lives to helping our fellow Ohioans struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues in our communities,” said LaRose.

The OACBHA is the state association for Ohio’s Community Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Boards. The association works with the Ohio General Assembly, state agencies and the administration to help expand and enhance mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment and support services.

"I am so proud to say that Senator LaRose represents me, our Board, and all of our community. He is accessible, understanding of our issues, responsive and knows how to use the legislative process," said Judy Wortham-Wood, Executive Director of the MHRB of Wayne and Holmes Counties. "He takes the time to meet, understand the issues and manages his office to provide action-oriented responses to an issue."

Jerry Craig, Executive Director of the Summit ADM Board added, "I wholeheartedly endorse the nomination of Senator LaRose as Legislator of the Year. Senator LaRose shares many values with our system. He and his office have been involved in local activities to support veterans, business, school safety and the impact of addiction on our community.’

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today announced the application process to fill the vacancy in Ohio’s 10th Senate District seat, encompassing all of Clark, Greene and Madison counties.

The 23-member Senate Republican Caucus is responsible for appointing a temporary replacement to the seat. The appointee will serve for the remainder of the current term, ending in December. The seat stands for election in November, and the winner of that election will serve a full, four-year term beginning in January of 2017.

Applicants do not need to be filed as a candidate for the seat in the 2016 primary or general elections; however, an appointee who has not already filed as a candidate would not be eligible to serve beyond the remainder of the current term.

The Senate Republican Caucus will accept applications for the vacancy until noon on Friday, February 5, 2016. Applications should be sent or hand-delivered to the following address:

The Honorable Keith Faber
President, Ohio Senate
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square, Room 201
Columbus, OH 43215

Please send an identical copy of the application to the Senate Chief of Staff:

Jason Mauk
Chief of Staff, Ohio Senate
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square, Room 201
Columbus, OH 43215

The applicant screening and selection process will take place the week following the application deadline. Applicants are expected to be available to meet in person with the screening committee.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

today announced the passage of legislation aimed at redirecting public funding away from any entity associated with performing nontherapeutic abortions in Ohio and instead makes those funds available to local health centers and other entities that provide health services for women and children.

"I am proud that the Senate passed this legislation today that focuses on enhancing healthy outcomes for women and children in Ohio," said Faber. "This bill affirms life and provides vital health services, taking another forward step in fighting the crisis of infant mortality in Ohio by designating funding and support to combat the epidemic."

The bill is similar to legislation passed by the Ohio Senate in October. Changes made by the Senate take new steps to advance best practices for addressing Ohio's abysmal infant mortality rate. Ohio is ranked 45th nationally in its infant mortality rate.

Currently, none of the twenty-eight Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio provide prenatal care or mammograms. Abortions account for 94 percent of all services for pregnant women provided by Planned Parenthood, according to the organization’s annual report.

In Ohio, life-affirming alternatives outnumber Planned Parenthood by a ratio of 21:1 including 200 community health clinics, 124 health districts, and 55 free clinics.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Margaret Conditt (R-Liberty Township), passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 22-8.

 
 
  
Dayton area State Senators Peggy Lehner (left) and Bill Beagle (right) join University of Dayton President Dan Curran, recipient of the Dayton Development Coalition's Maureen Patterson Regional Leader Award
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) joined economic development leaders from across the Miami Valley yesterday for the Dayton Development Coalition's annual meeting highlighting the positive economic growth currently taking place in southwest Ohio.

The event featured a keynote address from Major General Thomas Masiello, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

"Collaboration between our regional economic assets has been key to rejuvenating our workforce and bringing jobs back to the area throughout the past several years,” said Lehner.

Following the keynote address, Lehner discussed the increasingly positive economic outlook for the region with Major General Masiello and outgoing University of Dayton President Dr. Daniel J. Curran who was awarded the prestigious Maureen Patterson Regional Leader Award.

"We will continue our commitment to pro-growth, pro-business legislation that properly equips our workforce and reduces the tax burden on Ohio businesses and families," said Lehner.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) joined area leaders yesterday for the Dayton Development Coalition's annual meeting which highlighted the region's economic growth and new efforts to increase collaboration between small businesses and area military installations.

The event featured a keynote address from Major General Thomas Masiello, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) which is headquartered at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. During his remarks, Gen. Masiello emphasized the importance of partnerships with area businesses.

AFRL contributes more than $380 million to the region's economy every year.

“Jobs are returning to our region and businesses are thriving throughout Ohio,” said Beagle. “When I first joined the Senate, our unemployment rate had risen to double digits and headlines of new business closures were a daily occurrence. Through increased collaboration, strategic investments in our workforce and a resolute effort to reduce the tax burden for all Ohioans, we were able to put the state's economy back on track and create new opportunities for Ohio families.”

University of Dayton President Dr. Daniel Curran was awarded the prestigious Maureen Patterson Regional Leaders Award for his work championing economic development in the Dayton region and developing new partnerships with area institution of higher education.

“Collaboration is key,” added Beagle. “Whether it’s strengthening our military, supporting small businesses or enhancing our children's education, fostering an environment of collaboration--not agitation--is the key to effective problem-solving.”

As a member of the Ohio Third Frontier Advisory Board, Senator Beagle has played an important role in helping the state to develop investment strategies that have helped to spur the growth of more than 1,200 companies. Beagle also serves as a member of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) issued the following statement today regarding the retirement of State Senator Chris Widener (R-Springfield):

“The job of leading a legislative body can’t be done by one person. It requires a smart, experienced and loyal team of advisors, who often do a lot of the hard work behind the scenes with very little credit. I rely on that team and their wisdom every day, and they are an indispensable part of our success. For the past three years, Chris Widener has been chief among them.

We’ve relied on his steady hand, deep policy knowledge and nearly two decades of legislative experience to help guide our efforts, and he has played a key role in many of the major policy accomplishments now being heralded as part of Ohio’s comeback.

Chris’s public service legacy has touched every Ohioan. We will miss his dedication and passion for improving education, creating jobs, protecting our military infrastructure and streamlining government, but I know wherever he goes in private life, he will continue to serve the greater good. He has been a tireless leader and statesman in the Senate and an encouraging mentor to our members and staff. His work leaves our state in a better place than he found it. I wish him and his family the very best.

We will decide in the coming days on how to proceed with the vacancy Chris’s retirement creates both in his district and in Senate leadership, but I look forward to working with him in that transition.”

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced the Senate's passage today of legislation providing legal protections for architects, engineers, contractors, surveyors and tradespersons who volunteer their expertise and services during declared emergencies.

"During an emergency, we need people to lend a helping hand without reservation," said Obhof, who co-sponsored the bill. "Existing laws could dissuade professionals from responding during crises, when their services are needed the most. House Bill 17 will help our communities to respond to and rebound from emergencies."

The proposed legislation protects volunteers who are acting within their field of expertise, shielding them in limited circumstances from tort liability for unintentional errors. Current law provides no protections against civil lawsuits for people in those professions who are working in their official capacities, even if they are volunteering their time during a crisis.

Immunity extends throughout the period of a declared emergency and for the 90 days immediately following.

The bill, which previously passed the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote, now heads to the Governor for his signature.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) today announced the passage of legislation paying tribute to the heroic recipients of one of the nation's highest military honors—the Purple Heart—by designating August 7th as "Purple Heart Day."

“I am humbled that my Senate colleagues unanimously supported this legislation with a 33-0 bipartisan vote,” Hughes stated. “I am proud to sponsor a measure to designate a special day for those who have received a Purple Heart, signifying the sacrifice of those who have served this nation selflessly, including countless Ohioans.”

The Purple Heart is the nation's oldest military award originating in 1782 as the "Badge of Military Merit" under then General George Washington. This legislative proposal, if enacted, would mirror the National Purple Heart Day to honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or made the ultimate sacrifice in the United States Armed Forces.

Senate Bill 239 will now be assigned to a standing House committee for further discussion.

 
 
  
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LaRose Joins National Leaders To Discuss Efforts To Enhance Ohio's Elections Process

 
COLUMBUS - 

"I was delighted to join esteemed election leaders from across the country today to share Ohio's progress in enhancing the election process while at the same time gaining valuable information from individuals who have taken these important steps in other states," said LaRose. "Online voter registration has been a top priority for me and I look forward to Ohio joining 29 other states that give their voters secure and convenient option."



 
 

LaRose Applauds Report Showing Record Year For New Businesses Filed With Secretary Of State

 
COLUMBUS - 

“Ohio's hard-working entrepreneurs have helped create these jobs along with our efforts to improve Ohio's business climate by eliminating superfluous red tape and job stifling bureaucracy." said LaRose. "We must continue to focus on effective, not burdensome, regulation while ensuring that entrepreneurs have the capacity to thrive in our state." LaRose said.



 
 

LaRose Honored As Legislator Of The Year By Ohio Association Of County Behavioral Health Authorities

 
COLUMBUS - 

“I am honored to accept this award from the outstanding professionals who dedicate their lives to helping our fellow Ohioans struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues in our communities,” said LaRose.



 
 

Senate President Keith Faber Announces Process To Fill 10th Senate District Vacancy

 
COLUMBUS - 

Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today announced the application process to fill the vacancy in Ohio’s 10th Senate District seat, encompassing all of Clark, Greene and Madison counties.