LIMA — As 2020 approaches, those in Ohio’s General Assembly are looking to the new year to fulfill their legislative agendas.
Lima’s state legislators, Rep. Bob Cupp and Sen. Matt Huffman, both named three priorities on the tops of their lists, with a number of goals set around the need for education reform.
For Cupp, school funding reform tops his agenda. As one of the representatives leading the charge on such policy efforts, Cupp said he expects the bill to get through both Ohio’s House and Senate in time for Ohio’s 2020 biennium budget so new rules can be put in the place as education allocations are decided.
“I think we’re making good progress on (the bill). We have a lot of support for it. We just need to get across the finish line,” Cupp said.
Huffman named two educational reform bills among the three he would like to push forward over the next few months. The first — a career center deregulation bill — streamlines some efficiencies for schools like Apollo Career Center, and Huffman visited Apollo earlier in the year to highlight what the bill can do for such institutions. The bill, S.B. 89, has been passed by the state Senate and currently awaits discussion in the House.
The second education reform bill on Huffman’s agenda would act in a similar manner but for public schools. Huffman said he’s working with local school superintendents, such as Waynesfield Goshen Superintendent Chris Pfister, to develop the bill and change some of the more burdensome Ohio Department of Education regulations.
Other items discussed by Cupp include the incorporation of some local projects — such as Lima’s downtown Rotary amphitheater project — into the state’s capital funding bill and approving the legislation associated with the Marsy’s Law referendum, which was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2017.
Huffman named his sponsored anti-SLAPP bill as the third bill he foresees being able to push forward in the next few months. Huffman introduced the bill, meant to provide legal frameworks to better dismiss SLAPPs, or strategic lawsuits against public participation, this past October after an earlier anti-SLAPP bill sponsored in an earlier General Assembly failed to gain traction.
Secondary upcoming legislative reforms expected by Cupp and Huffman include updates to the school’s report card system, changes in the qualifications of those schools on voucher lists and criminal justice reform.
“It takes quite a bit of time,” Cupp said about drafting policy. “There are little things that need to be altered a bit to work properly. If you find those things, you want to fix them in advance.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.