This fall, the Ohio Legislature moves into “lame duck session”: the period between the election of our new legislators and the beginning of the next General Assembly, when they will be sworn into office. However, there is still plenty of work to be done for the people of Ohio between now and then. We must continue to fight the opioid epidemic, reform our unemployment compensation system, create sound energy policy, and maintain our growing economy.
The Ohio Department of Health has been fighting hard to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths, but it is clear that additional measures must be taken. Senate Bill 319 is a comprehensive opioid reform bill that clamps down on dangerous drugs being sold in our pharmacies, provides for resources to help struggling addicts recover, and increases the availability and accessibility of Naloxone, a common antidote for drug overdoses. The opioid epidemic is constantly changing, and Senate Bill 319 will enable Ohio to keep up.
Unemployment compensation will be another area of interest within the coming months. It is important that we keep our system not only functional and comprehensive, but sustainable for the future. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Keith Faber have recently announced the formation of a joint legislative committee to review the current state of our unemployment compensation laws and make commonsense reforms to keep the system solvent for years to come, with emphasis on Ohio’s labor community, workforce, and businesses.
In addition, all members of the House of Representatives will be continuing to work alongside local leaders, businesses, and community organizations to break down barriers that may hinder economic growth. Our top priorities continue to be to maintain a healthy economy, to develop the workforce, and provide good jobs for all Ohioans. We will also be in talks with Ohio’s energy industry, the Senate, and the Governor regarding energy mandates, and whether the energy mandate freeze will continue.
As my final year in the State Legislature begins to wind down, I cannot help but be proud of the tremendous progress we have made in our state. Through good times and bad, Ohio has remained resilient, making great strides because of the millions of people who take pride in their state every single day. We should be proud of how far we have come, but we should not forget that the job is never done, and there is always more progress to be made.
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The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.