INDIAN LAKE — A local lawmaker was honored for his work to safeguard the state’s natural resources.
Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded Faber the department’s Cardinal Award at a ceremony Friday at Indian Lake State Park. The award was given for Faber’s “commitment to maintaining and preserving Ohio’s natural resources,” according to a statement from Faber’s office.
In 2014, Faber worked with Gov. John Kasich to secure $88.5 million for the state park system, the largest investment in 30 years. In the current General Assembly, Faber was able to secure an additional $38.5 million in capital funds.
“I’m grateful to Director Jim Zehringer and ODNR for this honor,” Faber said. “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.”
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana: On Tuesday, Jordan expressed his frustration with employees of Platte River Networks invoking their Fifth Amendment right rather than answering questions regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server.
“No regular American can get away with the kind of behavior Secretary Clinton gets away with,” he said. “Two standards now in the country, and this is what is so wrong and this is why the hearings you’re having and the investigation we’re doing is entirely appropriate.”
Rep. Robert Latta, R-Bowling Green: On Tuesday, the House passed the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act, a Latta-authored legislation that would establish a framework for issuing licenses for nuclear reactor technology.
“Nuclear power must play a significant role in American energy policy for our nation to become truly energy secure, and the future of the nuclear industry needs to start now,” Latta said. “It is imperative that we develop the right regulatory framework so advanced nuclear technologies can be developed, licensed, and constructed here in the United States.”
Latta also helped pass the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act on Tuesday, aimed at rolling back a middle-class tax increase imposed by the Affordable Care Act and preventing a tax increase on seniors set for 2017.
Whereas taxpayers used to be able to deduct a major medical expense if it exceeded 7.5 percent of their annual income, since 2014, Americans under 65 have seen that rate increased to 10 percent, with a similar hike set to hit seniors the beginning of next year.
“Collapsing exchanges, higher premiums, and less access to health care — President [Barack] Obama’s flagship legislation is looking worse and worse by the day,” Latta said. “To the detriment of countless Americans, Obamacare is still managing to get even worse. Making it more difficult for patients who have suffered major medical expenses to deduct it on their tax bills is counterproductive and callous.”
The bill will now go the Senate.
Both Jordan and Latta were also honored with the National Federation of Independent Business’ Guardian of Small Business Award, honoring what they saw as strong voting records aimed at protecting small businesses throughout the nation.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: On Tuesday, Brown applauded a ruling by the International Trade Commission finding that the U.S. steel industry has been hurt by hot-rolled steel imports from Australia, Brazil, Japan and other nations.
“Ohio’s steel communities have felt the impact of unfair trade practices that have put their families and neighbors out of work and shut down our steel mills,” Brown said. “Today’s decision builds on a series of positive news from ITC that will provide relief for our steel industry.”
Brown also hailed the decision of the U.S. Department of Education to provide additional oversight to Ohio’s charter school system.
“Too many Ohio charter schools have a record of waste, fraud, and abuse — they take in taxpayer money and shortchange our students,” Brown said. “The safeguards the U.S. Department of Education has put in place to monitor how Ohio spends this grant will greatly increase oversight, accountability, and transparency, so students receive the education they deserve.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from Backpage.com’s request to stay a contempt action against the website headed by Portman and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri. As a result, the website, implicated in online sex trafficking, must turn over all documents under subpoena to the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
“Instead of working with us to help protect the innocent victims of sex trafficking all across the United States, Backpage has instead fought our efforts at every step of the way while the problem of online sex trafficking gets worse, not better,” Portman said.
On Wednesday, Portman joined seven senators in introducing emergency, one-year legislation to give Americans more health insurance options next year, giving those receiving Affordable Care Act subsidies the chance to purchase insurance not available on ACA exchanges.
“Ohioans need immediate relief from the skyrocketing cost of Obamacare,” Portman said. “Premiums have increased in Ohio more than 90 percent since the president’s health care law went into place. This bill would provide individuals who have suffered under the high costs and fewer choices of Obamacare more options to receive coverage — which means more competition which in turn brings down costs.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.