So far in 2018, the Ohio Senate has been hard at work for the people of Ohio. I am committed to focusing on the issues that matter most to the people of the 22nd Senate District, and over the past six months the Senate has passed major legislation ranging from the multi-billion dollar Capital Budget to criminal justice reforms to efforts to protect and preserve Lake Erie. As we approach the mid-point of the year, I wanted to share a quick update about the progress we have made on your behalf in Columbus.
Among the dozens of bills that the Senate has passed so far this year, there are some that stick out for their significance to the people of Ohio. In March, the legislature passed the state Capital Budget, which makes a $2.6 billion investment in Ohio's infrastructure and local community projects. The bill funds improvements to public services and facilities across the state, including schools, roads and bridges, waterways and parks. I co-sponsored this bill, which also increases the state’s capital investment in opioid, mental health and addiction services facilities across Ohio.
The Senate has passed a number of bills designed to keep our families and our communities safe. Among these were sentencing reforms that will give low-level, non-violent offenders a better chance at rehabilitating themselves and reintegrating back into society. These changes received broad support from across the political spectrum for their reasonable, "smart on crime" approach to reducing recidivism. We also strengthened penalties for violent offenders, passing a bill to ensure that prisoners who behave violently while incarcerated serve longer terms than inmates who are genuinely trying to rehabilitate.
Just this month, the Senate passed House Bill 318, which will improve school safety and help better protect Ohio’s schoolchildren. I co-sponsored this bill, which establishes qualifications and training requirements for school resource officers and funds school safety grants for both public and private schools. House Bill 318 builds on numerous school safety measures that have been adopted in recent years.
Finally, in the Senate we are proposing new and bold ideas that will help our economy continue to grow. Ohio has added more than 500,000 new jobs since I joined the Senate in 2011, in part because of pro-growth policies like tax cuts and regulatory reform. But as Ohio’s economy continues to improve, it is important that we build off the progress we have made in recent years. My colleagues and I have proposed getting rid of the unnecessary red tape and regulation that harms small businesses and slows economic growth. That is why I am co-sponsoring Senate Bill 293, which will cut the regulatory burdens on Ohioans by 30 percent over three years.
I am proud of the work that the Senate has completed so far this year. We are finding bipartisan solutions to Ohio’s problems. Make no mistake about it — we are committed to the core conservative principles of limited government, lower taxes, and less regulation. In fact, a recent analysis of the voting records of state legislatures found that Ohio’s Senate Majority (which I lead) was among the most conservative in the nation. But since the beginning of 2017, more than 90 percent of the bills that have passed the Senate received a bipartisan vote. We stand up for our principles, but we also continue to work with people from both parties to move Ohio forward.
I hope to hear your ideas about how to improve our great state. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about any issue facing Ohio, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling me at 614-466-7505. You may also reach me by mail at State Senator Larry Obhof, 1 Capitol Square, 2nd Floor, Columbus 43215.