This was a relatively slow week at the General Assembly, although there were quite a few people here on Wednesday for a hearing on House Bill 512 (story below). That day, the Ohio House also nearly unanimously cleared the $2.63 billion capital appropriations bill which spends the taxpayer’s money on various projects throughout the state. On Tuesday, members were largely focused on the Governor’s State of the State speech.
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK:
IS HB 512 A POWER GRAB?
On Wednesday, the Ohio Government Oversight and Accountability Committee heard testimony on House Bill 512, which would consolidate the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Board of Regents (which oversees college education), and the office of Workforce Transformation. The Governor would be able to appoint the Director of the agency, who would have most of the powers the current elected Ohio State Board of Education currently has.
Testimony on Wednesday was intense on both sides. Proponents say the bill would streamline the various state education agencies, allowing them to coordinate their efforts. They say an appointed administrator can be more effective than an elected Board.
However, CCV is opposed to this bill because we believe that having an elected State Board of Education is important. Although we have not been exactly thrilled with the Board’s decisions on multiple issues, dealing with elected representatives is still preferable to dealing appointed bureaucrats. The elected members of the General Assembly are not sufficient to play this role, as they control Ohio’s statutory law, not the administration of this state agency and its administrative rules.
Generally speaking, the solution to our education problems is to empower local communities and families, not large bureaucracies. House Bill 512 seems to take the latter approach. The major school administration associations and the Ohio teacher’s union oppose the bill as well. So it is fair to say that this is a major shift of power from the elected Board to the Governor, and we have yet to hear a satisfactory justification for it.
- Governor Kasich’s State of the State speech was Tuesday evening in Westerville, Ohio. Kasich referenced principles of faith and love that we at CCV greatly encourage, but we were disappointed the Governor largely neglected to tie those views to specific policy priorities.
- CCV is also working hard with members to offer a legislative solution to the Hamilton County Juvenile Court opinion that took a child away from her parents because the parents refused to allow the administration of hormone altering drugs. Stay tuned for more on this soon.
- Ohio Department of Commerce Director Jacqueline Williams said of Ohio’s illegal marijuana program, “Don’t pay attention to what you read in the media.” She was apparently referring to calls from multiple institutions (such as CCV) for an audit, given the multiple problems with the rollout of the program.
- A report issued this week by the Ohio Department of Pharmacy found that opioid prescriptions are way down. This is a positive trend in the fight to end abuse of these drugs.
- We are grateful that a federal district court judge issued a permanent injunction this week, which will protect Christian organizations from having to provide contraception drugs against their deeply held religious beliefs. This is a big victory for religious freedom. See here for more details.
- Voter registration for the May 8th primary election is due by April 9th. Click here to register or update your registration.
- Over the next several months, the Ohio Board of Education will hold 11 stakeholder meetings throughout the state for the purpose of developing a strategic K-12 plan for the state and we want to make sure your voice is heard in this process. Click here for more information on how to get involved.
- CCV will be holding our annual banquets soon. First, on Friday, April 20, Congressman Jim Jordan will be our keynote speaker in Columbus. Then on Friday, April 27, Chris Scalia (son of Justice Antonin Scalia) will be our keynote speaker in Cincinnati. Click here for more information and registration.
LAWMAKER PRAYER FOCUS:
Each week, we ask that you take a little time to get to know one of Ohio’s legislators and pray for them to have wisdom, moral guidance, and courage. Today, I want to mention Senator Bill Beagle of the 5th Ohio Senate District. He is from Tipp City and is a professional Financial Analysis and Operations Manager. He has won several awards for his work, including with the Ohio Liberty Council and American Conservative Union. My fondest memory of him, was a moment when he gave quite a speech about his support for a bill that would combat cruelty to dogs. Senator Lou Terhar (R-Green Township) asked him if his name had anything to do with his position on the bill, to which Sen. Beagle said that it did not.
Please reach out to your member of the General Assembly to speak your mind about these bills and others that you care about. You can find your member here.