With the new year upon us, we have a full agenda for the coming months and a chance to look at many legislative opportunities as they unfold. I would like to expand on several bills that I recently introduced and hope will be addressed in the early months of 2016.
First, House Bill (HB) 400 would ban the production and sale of products containing microbeads. Though the federal government recently passed similar legislation, the last component of my HB 400 directs the Ohio Department of Health to offer safe disposal guidelines of those products as they are gradually phased out over the next few years. This bill now waits to be heard in committee.
Second, HB 148 would allow newly consolidated school districts to pursue local levy dollars for new facility construction at a rate not to exceed 50 percent. This bill would directly impact the consolidation efforts of Newbury and Berkshire in Geauga County as they could seek to construct new buildings— including one on the campus of Kent State Geauga. HB 148 has had two hearings in committee and is still being refined with input from interested parties.
Third, HB 332 would permit replica vehicles to be noted as such on automobile registration. This legislation was introduced in response to the federal government recently permitting turn key replicas to be produced by manufacturers. The problem is— according to current Ohio law — the date of manufacture is listed on the vehicle registration. Though manufactured in 2016, for example, a vehicle might actually be a replica of a 1916 Ford — an incongruent reality for law enforcement. HB 332 would permit an owner to insert the term “replica” followed by the model and year that vehicle resembles. HB 332 is scheduled for committee hearings in January.
There are also several pieces of other legislation that I am ready to introduce, such as the long-awaited injection reform bill. It has taken over two years to finalize and has received additional input as a result of concerns voiced by township trustees of Ashtabula and Trumbull counties. Furthermore, a bill creating a school zone for boarding schools is ready for introduction. This bill resulted from increased traffic on College Street in Austinburg and safety concerns for students attending Grand River Academy.
Finally, I am completing work on two more bills; the first will assist Ohio’s college graduates in paying off their student loans if they work in the state, and the second will eliminate sales tax on heating oil, butane and propane used for residential use.
I will continue to keep you posted as these legislative efforts continue through 2016. I remain hard at work representing the interests of our constituents and our District. In the meantime, I wish you a happy and prosperous year ahead.