COLUMBUS — Efforts on the part of a local legislator to reduce the size of government are closer to fruition.
Ohio House of Representatives
Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima: Earlier this week, the Ohio Senate passed House Bill 31, which was sponsored by Cupp. The measure seeks to eliminate 10 government boards that are now nonoperational or considered obsolete. One example is the Government Contracting Advisory Council, which was created in 2005 to review financial accountability rules for contracting with a state agency. However, no such rules have been adopted for consideration, leaving the council unnecessary. Other boards to be eliminated include the Adult Protective Services Funding Workgroup, the Health Services Price Disclosure Study Committee, the Maritime Port Funding Study Committee, the Nursing Facility Behavioral Health Advisory Workgroup and the Workgroup to Help Individuals to Cease Relying on Public Assistance.
“Littering the statutes with unnecessary government requirements or boards and commissions is wasteful and bad practice. I am pleased the Senate has joined the House in wiping the statute books clear of some of these outdated provisions,” Cupp said.
The bill also reinstates the RECLAIM Advisory Committee, a juvenile justice-centered committee which had expired the end of last year after unintentionally not being renewed.
The bill will now return to the House for concurrence with Senate amendments before going to the governor for signature.
Another bill passed by the Ohio House was House Bill 24, which expands property tax exemptions to 501(c)(4) veterans organizations that are exempt from federal income tax. Property not used for meetings, administration or the provision of programs would be excluded from the exemption. That bill will now be considered by the Ohio Senate.
Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima: On Wednesday, Huffman introduced legislation to reduce unnecessary mandates for Ohio public schools. The Ohio Public School Deregulation Act would address such standards as teacher licensure and aid permits, teacher evaluation systems, state testing and assessment, student management, College Credit Plus and preschool operating standards.
“All too often what sounds like a good idea in Columbus translates instead to burdensome paperwork and tedious tasks that distract teachers and superintendents from their primary role in our schools —educating students,” Huffman said. “These issues take up an absurd amount of teacher and administrator time and labor, which could be used more appropriately to deliver quality education to Ohio’s children.”
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green: During a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing Thursday, Latta spoke with Energy Secretary Rick Perry about that department’s vision for advanced nuclear technology. The question stems from Latta’s introduction of the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act earlier this year.
“As you may know, in January, the House passed my legislation, the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act, by voice vote,” Latta said. “This legislation will help pave the way for American innovators, nuclear engineers, and entrepreneurs, to design, develop, license, and ultimately deploy the next generation of nuclear reactor technologies. The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy plays an important role in supporting these potentially breakthrough technologies, in addition to appropriately coordinating with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assure that those technologies will navigate the NRC’s rigorous regulatory approval process.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: The Senate passed a bipartisan water infrastructure bill introduced by Brown and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, this week.
The Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act aims to provide local communities with increased flexibility in complying with Clean Water Act requirements in updating sewer systems. It also encourages green infrastructure measures and gives local communities more autonomy in determining priorities in wastewater and storm water investments.
“Red tape shouldn’t force communities to spread their resources thin just to meet an arbitrary timeline set by a Washington bureaucrat,” Brown said. “Let’s work with communities so they can make sewer system updates and investments at their own pace. This will help support jobs and protect local drinking water.”
The bill will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: The House of Representatives passed the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, a bill introduced by Portman and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, which reauthorizes research and seeks to improve public health programs for hearing loss detection, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss in infants and young children.
“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills,” Portman said. “This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children. I am pleased my House colleagues acted quickly on this important legislation, and I urge the president to sign it into law.”