Being a state representative, I have a lot of responsibilities as I serve as your voice in Columbus. Ashtabula and Trumbull counties, like much of the state, have seen difficult times the past few years. The Ohio House has worked hard to pass measures that will create jobs, grow business and reduce government waste. At the same time that we’ve worked on legislation to aide our economy, we’ve also been looking at issues that just make common sense, such as the recently passed bill I introduced that restores our schools’ calamity days.

Taking a close look at bill after bill—with spirited debate and a lot of time-consuming work—I’ve continually sought out ways of meshing together the many pressing needs of those in the 99th House District. It’s my goal to take whatever bill lands on my desk and ensure that it will benefit the people I represent, like you.

While much of our focus at the Ohio House of Representatives is now shifting to the Ohio operating budget with a structural imbalance of $8 billion, I want to point out another budget that we have just finished our work on—Ohio’s transportation budget. The House made many changes to this budget that outlines appropriations of $7 billion, and I think the people in our communities will have a great appreciation for the final product.

With the many places we go in our day-to-day lives, we all benefit from the construction and maintenance of Ohio’s roadways. The transportation budget, which was House Bill 114, allocates more than $2 billion annually for this purpose. Furthermore, this budget appropriates money for the Public Works Commission, including $150 million for the state capital improvement program and $49 million for the revolving loan fund. Not only does this appropriation increase the amount provided to our local governments, but it’s expected to retain and protect as many as 30,000 jobs in Ohio.

As we looked at the budget, we aimed for measures that would focus on jobs and help our local businesses. One of the ways we accomplished this is by creating an online titling program for commercial motor vehicles. This will streamline the registration process and help to make Ohio more competitive with states that have already implemented similar programs. It will especially help our area trucking businesses.

There are also many other great aspects of the transportation budget. For instance, the late fees for drivers’ license will be entirely eliminated. This is in addition to the elimination of the late registration fee on seasonal and farm vehicles, ensuring Ohioans do not have to pay extra for their renewals because of an innocent mistake.

Another aspect of the bill that I’m proud of is that it will ensure the voluntary next-of-kin form at the BMV be extended to all license renewals. Should something happen to you or a loved one, it’s very important that the next of kin can be contacted easily. Our lives could depend on it. This measure ensures that Ohioans will be more easily capable of benefitting from this precautionary system that is available to us.

I’m very pleased that the House of Representatives was able to make such a difference with this budget, and I’m even more pleased that the changes we made will improve the lives of those in the 99th House District. I want to continue searching for ways you can benefit from the legislation being considered at the Statehouse, so please don’t hesitate to contact me. Making the necessary changes in Ohio is best done with your guidance.


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