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Ohio Politics

Republicans give themselves a pat on the back

By Doug Published: April 12, 2011

Republicans in the Ohio House issued this statement today:

House Republicans Applaud a Job-focused 100 Days
Recognize Additional Work that Lies Ahead

COLUMBUSStarting with House Bill 1'JobsOhio'House Republicans have been on a fast track to improving Ohio's economy and working to foster a more competitive job climate. Tuesday, April 12th marks the 100th day that Speaker William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) has held the gavel and House Republicans have presided over the Ohio House. Today, members of the House Republican Caucus held a press conference to discuss the accomplishments of the House thus far during the 129th General Assembly, recognizing that still more work needs to be done.

Under GOP control, the Ohio House has hit the ground running and introduced 200 bills during the first 100 days of this Legislature. As a caucus, Speaker Batchelder and House Republicans have expeditiously considered and passed legislation that will improve Ohio's business climate, protect vital local services, preserve jobs and small businesses, restore accountability to elections and government spending, improve community safety and reduce damaging mandates on school districts with more pragmatic solutions continuously being drafted and introduced.

'I understood from day one that our caucus would be charged with making some very difficult decisions, and I think that we have risen to the occasion,' Speaker Batchelder said. 'There is still much work to be done, but after a very impressive start I am confident and hopeful about the legislative initiatives continuing to be explored within our caucus.'

The creation of the agile economic development entity JobsOhio and the establishment of a regulatory reform program through the Common Sense Initiative illustrate the House Republicans' commitment to creating jobs and assisting small business development. The House also introduced and passed House Bill 58 to offer tax relief to families and retain businesses that have received offers to relocate to other states.

The House Republicans have also passed the following bills, among others:

H.B. 2 to improve transparency by auditing certain state agencies
H.B. 20 to prohibit intimidation of victims of a crime
H.B. 21 to bring Teach For America to Ohio, improve schools and attract young, educated people to the state
H.B. 30 to repeal costly unfunded school mandates that were included in the Democrats' 'evidence-based' model
H.B. 36 to restore school calamity days from three days back to five days
H.B. 63 to amend judicial consent to an abortion and ensure that minors comprehend possible physical and emotional complications
H.B. 64 to add K2/Spice, a synthetic marijuana, to the list of controlled substances in Ohio
H.B. 66 to create a fraud-reporting system in an effort to save tax dollars and make state spending more accountable
H.B. 93 to crack down on 'pill mills' that have led to rampant prescription drug abuse in Ohio
H.B. 114 is a fiscally responsible transportation budget that eliminates millions of dollars in fee increases and embraces consolidation of services
H.B. 159 to strengthen voter identification laws and ensure that elections are as fair and accurate as possible
S.B. 5 to retain middle-class jobs, reduce costs on local governments and help hold down local tax burdens through collective bargaining reform
S.B. 73 to amend liquor permitting for businesses that use liquor as an ingredient in food, which will lighten the costs on small businesses

In the spirit of bipartisanship, the Republican majority has passed eight bills or resolutions with a Democrat primary sponsor out of committee, with three of these having been passed out of the House. Speaker Batchelder has continued to promote open discussion and collaboration with his colleagues across the aisle, which is just one of the ways he has endeavored to provide more cohesive leadership than his predecessor, Rep. Armond Budish.

In the first 100 days of the respective general assemblies, the House has passed significantly more pieces of legislation under Speaker Batchelder's leadership than under the previous administration, with 29 bills passing during the 129th General Assembly and only five three of which were constitutionally required budgets passing during the 128th.

Continuing their commitment to job creation and business growth, the House Republicans have successfully pursued economic development efforts in the Economic and Small Business Development Committee under the leadership of Chairwoman Nan Baker (R-Westlake). This committee has held 12 hearings in just two months, compared with the formerly Democrat-led committee that held less than five hearings in six months of 2009.

In general, the House Republicans have held a total of 185 committee meetings during the first 100 days, while House Democrats had held just 125. Under Speaker Batchelder's leadership, the House also consolidated committees from 27 standing committees to 17, saving Ohio's taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars. Additionally, in an effort to promote transparency and a better understanding of the possible impact of lost federal stimulus dollars on Ohio schools, the House Republicans unveiled a tool on the General Assembly web site for viewing fiscal information about each school district in the state.

'I am very proud of the House and our caucus for providing leadership for Ohio at a time when effective leadership is needed more than ever,' said Speaker Batchelder. 'We have a group of freshmen who have continued to astound me with their eagerness to serve their communities and introduce high-quality bills. Eighteen of our freshmen are primary sponsors on at least one piece of legislation, nine of which have already passed a bill or resolution from the House. I couldn't be more pleased with the excellence and capability of our caucus as a whole, and we look forward to continuing the work of the people of Ohio over the next 21 months.'

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