COLUMBUS – Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 329, the State Agency Sunset Review Act, which assures Ohio taxpayers that government agencies aren’t just bureaucracies with a blank check. 
 
Ohio is home to 25 state agencies or cabinet-level departments.  From the Department of Corrections to the Department of Natural Resources, these agencies exist to serve taxpayers. In order to make sure each is effectively using its multi-million dollar budget, Faber along with Senator Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) sponsored the bill which will allow the General Assembly to review an agency’s mission and practices with an eye to improve accountability, transparency, efficiency, and in some cases, even the ongoing operations of the agency all together. The legislation will serve to affirm or align agency policies, practices and mission with the current needs of Ohio and Ohioans.
 
“We’ve needed this process for some time,” said Faber.  “It’s often easy for bureaucracy to quietly grow and lose efficiency.  A periodic review will go a long way in not only building transparency and trust in government, but also making sure we don’t create barriers for Ohioans needing services or seeking employment and business opportunities in our state.”
 
“It is the tendency of government to grow, restrict liberty and reduce opportunities for its citizens,” added Jordan. "This review process will be an effective tool to combat growth and keep state agencies from overstepping their authority."
 
The review process will start with the 132nd General Assembly in 2017. Agencies will be required to undergo a review on a rotating year basis so that each agency is examined every four years. Cabinet directors will be required to testify before respective Senate and or House committees, outlining the dollars spent and how these offices serve Ohioans. Should there be questions about an agency’s effectiveness, it can be recommended to sunset at a certain date, with its role being absorbed, merged or changed in an effort to better serve taxpayers.

Ohio is a national leader in this type of state government reform effort, and the passage of SB 329 builds on President Faber’s efforts to make government more efficient and transparent for Ohioans.

The bill passed the Senate 22-8 and now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), Chair of the Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee, today announced the passage of legislation that advances efforts to help more Ohio babies reach their milestone first birthday.  Ohio’s infant mortality rate, defined by the number of babies who die during their first year of life, ranks 45th in the nation, and the Ohio Senate, led by Jones, has tirelessly fought for policies aimed at improving the health of Ohio’s mothers and babies.
 
Senate Bill 332 reflects recommendations of the Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality, which focus on aiming Ohio's fight against infant mortality at implementing best practices and scaling proven interventions into targeted neighborhoods.
 
“I’m incredibly grateful for the partnership between the legislature, Ohio’s medical and clinical experts and our local community leaders to address a complex and devastating, yet often preventable problem,” said Jones. “Enormous effort has gone into learning how to best support our most vulnerable moms and babies, and I am confident that this legislation is one more step forward to better health outcomes and more first birthdays in Ohio.”
 
“Ohio is blessed with some of the best clinical healthcare facilities, programs and experts in the world, but this is a public health crisis that needs an accountable system designed to improve the health of our mothers and infants,” added Senator Keith Faber, President of the Ohio Senate. “I greatly appreciate Shannon’s perseverance and leadership to bring together a diverse and bipartisan group of stakeholders who have developed tested, results-based solutions for us to implement in Ohio.”
 
Highlights of Senate Bill 332

  • Making Data Timely, Transparent and Actionable: The Commission on Infant Mortality recognized the importance of improving access to timely data for the purpose of enhanced analysis and creating standardized scorecards to easily track progress. Access to accurate and timely data is critical for stakeholder groups to make informed decisions. Senate Bill 332 requires the Ohio Department of Health to report on the state’s performance on infant mortality, preterm birth weight rate and low birth weight rate delineated by race, ethnic group, and geography, as well as other information as it is available to those entities on the ground working tirelessly to save babies.
  • Building on Best Practices: Senate Bill 332 contains many system improvements to the implementation of best practices around safe sleep, smoking and birth spacing. For example, sleep related deaths account for 15% of all infant deaths in Ohio. In fact, we lose 3 babies each week in our state due to unsafe sleep environments. Senate Bill 332 increases the accountability for hospitals and birthing centers on safe sleep education, including the facilitation of a crib if necessary. 
  • Focusing on and Paying for Outcomes: Senate Bill 332 places emphasis on implementing the best practices of evidenced-based home visiting programs. The bill requires the Ohio Department of Health to prioritize families living in geocoded infant mortality hot spots to receive Help Me Grow home visiting services to reach our most at-risk moms and babies. Senate Bill 332 also seeks to expand the Pathways Community HUB model in infant mortality “hot-spots.” This nationally certified model is designed to specifically target the most at-risk communities by working collaboratively with preexisting community resources to more efficiently and effectively improve health outcomes. As an example, it’s credited with successfully reducing the low birth weight rate of a group of at-risk women in Richland County to 6.1% while similar women from the same community who did not receive the same interventions had a low birth weight rate of 13%. Based on geocoded infant mortality hot spot data, Senate Bill 332 will provide the opportunity for hot-spot communities to establish a qualified community HUB to reach the most vulnerable citizens in each corner of the state.
  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Social determinants play a major role in identifying at risk women and babies, and Senate Bill 332 requires the creation of a community stakeholder group tasked with reviewing state policies and programs that are intended to improve educational attainment, public transportation options, housing and access to employment through the lens of infant mortality. This will aid in the state’s ability to identify and address the social determinants that contribute to Ohio’s high racial disparity of infant death. Further, Senate Bill 332 will require the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to include the reduction of infant mortality as a priority housing need in their annual plan. OHFA may also establish a rental assistance pilot program to assist pregnant women in infant mortality hot spots.

History of the Ohio Senate’s Work on Infant Mortality
By way of background, a state’s infant mortality rate (IMR) is defined by the number of babies who die during their first year of life per 1,000 live births. In 2014 alone, 955 Ohio babies died before their first birthday, ranking us 45th in the nation. Ohio, like the nation as a whole, experiences significant disparities in birth outcomes between whites and African Americans and addressing this challenge has been a major priority.

  • 2009: The Ohio Department of Health launches the Ohio Infant Mortality Task Force
  • 2010: The Task Force evolves into the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality representing a wide range of organizations including government, public health, education, medicine, business, insurance and advocacy groups.
  • 2013: Senators Jones and Tavares conduct a series of traveling hearings across the state meeting with local leaders and medical experts about Ohio’s infant mortality crisis.
  • April 2014: Senate passes SB 278 (Jones) to require the use of the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Reporting Form to help better understand and document the state’s SIDS rate. The bill passes both chambers and is signed into law.
  • December 2014: Senate passes SB 276 (Jones) creating the Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality and directing it to create an inventory of state interventions and prepare recommendations for the Governor and General Assembly. The bill also includes measures to improve Safe Sleep Education. The bill passes both chambers and is signed into law.
  • 2015: The Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality holds several public hearings over a 6-month time period and delivers a report to the Governor and General Assembly. 
  • May 2016: Senator Jones introduces SB 332 to implement recommendations of the Commission.
  • June 2016: The state budget (HB 64) allocated $13.4 million in funding for initiatives around the state focused on infant mortality reduction efforts.
  • September 28, 2016: The Senate passes SB 332 implementing recommendations of the Commission. It now moves to the Ohio House for further consideration.

Watch these interviews with Senators Faber and Jones along with mothers, health experts, and community leaders to learn more about the work being done to address this health crisis.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today announced the Senate unanimously passed legislation to encourage Ohioans to register to vote and participate in the democratic process.
 
Senate Bill 169 emphasizes to all Ohioans the importance of registering to vote and ensures that Ohio recognizes Voter Registration Awareness Day on the same day established as National Voter Registration Day by the National Association of Secretaries of State. 
 
National Voter Registration Day occurred yesterday. In 2008, it was estimated that six million Americans did not vote because they missed the registration deadline or were not familiar with the process of registering to vote. LaRose wants that statistic to change starting now and has been working to ensure that every citizen is aware of how to register and how to vote in Ohio. On this day, each year, volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from across the United States "hit the streets" for National Voter Registration Day. The purpose of this day is to coordinate field, technology and media efforts to create awareness of voter registration opportunities and reach unregistered voters with information. 

 “Thousands of Ohioans need to register each year or update their registration address to assure that their voice is heard on election day.” said LaRose. “By working to commemorate this day at the state level, we are encouraging Ohioans to exercise their right to vote and to play a pivotal role in the democratic process. I appreciate the group of community leaders who brought this proposal to my attention as a way to encourage voter participation across Ohio.”

This legislation serves as a complement to Senate Bill 63, a law which LaRose authored providing Ohioans the option of registering to vote online beginning in 2017.  The deadline to register to vote for this November's election is October 11, 2016. Ohioans can get the forms they need to register by visiting MyOhioVote.com or by visiting their county board of elections. They can also update their address at MyOhioVote.com. Ohioans can find events like voter registration drives coordinated through this national effort at http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/.

This legislation will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives.
 
 
 
  
Columbus - 

The Senate will consider the following in today's session at 1:30 p.m.

  • Helping More Ohio Babies Live to See Their First Birthday: Sponsored by Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), Senate Bill 332 implements many of the recommendations made by the Commission on Infant Mortality to help the most vulnerable moms and infants in our state survive and thrive during that important first year of life. The bill focuses Ohio's fight against infant mortality on efforts aimed specifically at achieving positive health outcomes in our most at-need communities. To watch a live press conference at 1 p.m. today with Senators Faber and Jones, click here.
  • Ensuring Government Works for the People: Sponsored by Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Senator Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander), Senate Bill 329 establishes a process by which all state agencies must be re-authorized every four years. The bill requires that each cabinet-level department must make the case for its existence before the legislature by proving that they are operating as intended, acting within established boundaries, seeking efficiencies wherever possible and creating opportunities for Ohioans.
  • Encouraging Voting Registration and Participation: Sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), Senate Bill 169 will designate the fourth Tuesday in September as "Voter Registration Awareness Day" in coordination with the national awareness day.
  • Keeping Our Roadways Safe: Sponsored by Representatives Nan Baker (R-Westlake) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), House Bill 300 specifies that driver's license suspensions for persons that have been found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide because they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs begin at the time a prison sentence has ended. The bill does allow for purposes in which limited driving privileges may be allowed, such as for employment or education.
  • Raising Awareness for Crohn's and Colitis: House Bill 260 designates the first week in December as "Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week" and May 23 as "Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Day."
 
The Senate will also recognize the following during today's session:
  • Moment of Silence for State Trooper Kenneth Velez who was killed in the line of duty on September 15, 2016.
  • Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) will recognize the Zanesville Junior Pioneers Baseball team on its first national championship title won last month during the 73rd All American Amateur Baseball Association tournament.
Click here to view live coverage of today's session provided by The Ohio Channel. 
 
 
  
 
Ohio's August 2016 New Business Filings Outpace Last Year's Record
8,495 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during August 2016
September 20, 2016
 
 
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today highlighted a recent report by Secretary of State Jon Husted showing that 8,495 new entities filed to do business in the state of Ohio last month, an increase of more than 900 new businesses compared to August 2015.

The report demonstrates the continued positive trend of new business filings in Ohio. More than 3,500 more entities have filed to do business in the state during 2016 than at the same point in 2015.

"We are on track to set a record for the most new business formations in state history," said Obhof. "This is good news for Ohio's economy, but we must build on this momentum by continuing to improve the state's business climate."

In 2015, Senator Obhof sponsored Senate Bill 26 and co-sponsored House Bill 3, which cut the filing fees for starting a new business or non-profit entity by more than 20 percent.

Ohio is now the least expensive state to start and maintain a business in the Midwest.

 
 
  
Faber Receives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Cardinal Award from Director Jim Zehringer

COLUMBUS - Today at the Indian Lake State Park Campground, Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) received the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' prestigious Cardinal Award in recognition of his commitment to maintaining and preserving Ohio's natural resources.

"I'm grateful to Director Jim Zehringer and ODNR for this honor," said Faber. "Ohio's vast natural resources are vital to our state's economy and tourism industry, and they provide educational and recreational opportunities for every Ohioan. The Senate will continue to partner with Governor Kasich's administration to ensure that we preserve and enhance our natural treasures for future generations."

President Faber has played a influential role in securing major investments for Ohio's state park system. In 2014, President Faber worked with Governor John Kasich to secure $88.5 million in capital budget funds for Ohio's state parks, the largest investment in thirty years. In this General Assembly, he successfully secured $38.5 million in additional capital funds.

Faber has also played an instrumental role in securing state of the art dredges for Ohio lakes, including Grand Lake St. Mary's in his district. Today at Indian Lake, plans for a second dredge were announced.
"Senator Faber has been an outstanding advocate for Ohio State Parks, helping provide Ohioans with great outdoor spaces all across the state," said ODNR Director Jim Zehringer. "His efforts have helped launch a renovation and rejuvenation project at state park properties that is unprecedented."

Since 1971, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has presented the Cardinal Award to volunteers, writer, naturalists, farmers, biologists, educators, public officials and other individuals who support ODNR's mission to strike a balance between preservation and wise use of Ohio's natural resources.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

Dayton-area business and community leaders gathered Thursday evening to honor the women named to the Dayton Business Journal's '2016 BizWomen Power 50.' Again this year, State Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) earned their spot on the list of the region's most influential women.

Selected by the Dayton Business Journal's editorial board, the 2016 BizWomen Power 50 features women who have made important contributions to the region through their leadership in a variety of industries, including health care, education, government and defense.

Honorees were chosen based on the important contributions they have made in their respective fields to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in the Dayton region.

Senator Shannon Jones

"I am honored to receive this distinction and humbled to be included on this list with so many incredible women," said Senator Jones. “Our efforts to combat serious problems such as the abysmal infant mortality rate are making a difference. As a result, Ohio is a healthier place to raise a family, but we still have more work to do."

Senator Shannon Jones represents the 7th Senate District, encompassing all of Warren County and portions of Butler and Hamilton counties. Throughout her time in the legislature, Senator Jones has been named to key leadership posts and has earned recognition for driving innovation and change in Ohio's complex systems of health care and public utilities.

Jones serves as the chairwoman of the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee as well as the vice chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Senator Peggy Lehner

"Receiving this award is truly an honor," said Senator Lehner. "We have made great strides to ensure that Ohio's children receive quality educational opportunities and we will continue to hold schools accountable for meeting the high standards that our students and families deserve."

Peggy Lehner represents the 6th Ohio Senate District, which includes portions of Montgomery County. Lehner is no stranger to public service, having served a term in the Ohio House of Representatives after 10 years on the Kettering City Council. Senator Lehner has also served on the Ohio Ethics Commission, including two terms as chairwoman.

Lehner serves as the chairwoman of the Senate's Education Committee and vice chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Click here for a full list of honorees named to the 2016 Dayton Business Journal BizWomen Power 50.

 
 
  
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today applauded the progress of state forensic investigators with the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative whose efforts are helping to deliver justice for the victims of sexual assault. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine launched the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative in 2011 because law enforcement agencies across the state faced a backlog (in some cases decades old) of untested rape kits. 

Under Attorney General DeWine's initiative, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations has tested 11,705 rape kits. According to statistics released by DeWine's office this week, a total of 4,221 matches have already been obtained based on DNA profiles already in the state's database

“Because of the kit testing initiative, prosecutors are finally able to go after offenders,” said Obhof. “There have been hundreds of indictments as a result of these efforts.” 

In order to prevent such backlogs in the future, Senator Obhof co-sponsored Senate Bill 316, requiring Ohio law enforcement agencies to eliminate the existing backlog of rape kits by submitting any previously untested kits to BCI for testing.

Senate Bill 316 also set a strict 30-day timeline for future submissions. 

 
 
  
Bacon (far right) joins family of Lance Corporal Ryan E. Miller to remember fallen soldier with memorial highway naming

COLUMBUS - State Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) today joined the family members of fallen Gahanna soldier Lance Corporal Ryan Miller to unveil the sign that will designate a portion of Interstate 270 North as the "Lance Corporal Ryan E. Miller Memorial Highway."

The road naming honors the Gahanna native who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 3, 2006 while serving with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines in Anbar Province, Iraq. Miller enlisted in the Marines in 2003 and deployed to Iraq in 2004 and again in 2006. Two months into his second tour, he died of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb.

"This highway naming is only a small token of our appreciation," said Bacon. "We hope that it serves as a constant reminder to everyone driving on Interstate 270 that Ryan Miller lived a life bigger than himself, a life defined by bravery and sacrifice. His life was much too short, but his memory will live on."

Ed Miller, the father of Lance Corporal Miller, accepted a Senate resolution commemorating the new highway naming on behalf of his family, saying, "We still miss him every day. To have this sign out on 270 is so special not just for Ryan but for all of the fallen."

In honor of his memory, Miller's family established the Ryan E. Miller Memorial Highway Fund at St. Francis DeSales High School, where he played baseball. The annual LCPL Ryan E. Miller Memorial Scramble funds a $4,000 scholarship granted to one girl and one boy every year. This year's scramble will take place on Saturday, September 10.

 
 
  
 
Find It Here
Celebrating Ohio Tourism
September 05, 2016
 
 

Happy Labor Day! We hope you enjoy the extra time with your family and friends on this beautiful weekend.

This summer your state senators have been busy in their districts hearing from you on how to make Ohio the best place in the nation to live, work and raise our families. They've also enjoyed showcasing tourism opportunities around Ohio.

Check out Discover Ohio to plan your next adventure in our great state. The video above highlights a few of these gems:

  • Cleveland's Museum of Natural History opened its new Wildlife Museum this weekend thanks in part to state investment through the Ohio legislature's capital bill.

  • A new lodge is underway at southern Ohio's Cave Lake. Because of Ohio's strong fiscal health, the state can make investments like these in our communities.

  • Akron's Hoppin' Frog Brewery and craft brewers across the state are celebrating recent legislation that removed the state 12% alcohol by volume limit, allowing them to expand their offerings and increase Ohio's competitiveness in the brewing industry.

Connect with us @OhioSenateGOP on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for daily updates.

 
 
  
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Faber Leads Effort To Hold Government Accountable

 

COLUMBUS – Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 329, the State Agency Sunset Review Act, which assures Ohio taxpayers that government agencies aren’t just bureaucracies with a blank check.



 
 

Faber And Jones Announce Passage Of Bill To Help More Ohio Babies Reach Their First Birthdays

 
COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), Chair of the Senate’s Health & Human Services Committee, today announced the passage of legislation that advances efforts to help more Ohio babies reach their milestone first birthday.  Ohio’s infant mortality rate, defined by the number of babies who die during their first year of life, ranks 45th in the nation, and the Ohio Senate, led by Jones, has tirelessly fought for policies aimed at improving the health of Ohio’s mothers and babies.



 
 

LaRose Announces Passage Of Bill To Encourage Ohioans To Register To Vote

 

COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today announced the Senate unanimously passed legislation to encourage Ohioans to register to vote and participate in the democratic process.



 
 

Today In The Ohio Senate - September 28, 2016

 
Columbus - 

The Senate will consider the following in today's session at 1:30 p.m.