Here in the Statehouse, my colleagues and I recently spent a lot of time passing the mid-biennium review. The MBR is a multi-bill project, reexamining the state budget to improve policies and update certain laws. Ohio’s operating budget was signed into law last summer, and since then, there has been ample time to consider what reforms could increase the effectiveness of our state government. These important reforms are now spread out between 10 issue-specific bills.

Within this bundle of legislation, House Bill 487 stands out as the central component of the MBR. H.B. 487 initiates a number of different improvements in Ohio’s government, including removal of statutory barriers and consolidation of public services. The legislation also contains provisions that help to prioritize the dispersal of state funding.

It is essential that the state legislature continually search for ways to increase service quality, save tax dollars, and generally improve the welfare of our citizens. House Bill 487 is a direct product of such efforts, and I am proud of the initiatives that it puts forth. As the mantelpiece of the MBR, H.B. 487 is broad in scope, but all of its provisions are well researched and highly targeted.

For instance, the legislation instructs the Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction to start a new pilot project in Franklin and Scioto counties. This project will administer a non-addictive opiate treatment to volunteers in the criminal justice system. Opiate abuse has become a major problem in our state, so it is key that we find ways to help individuals overcome their addictions. Another pilot project also will be launched in some southern counties. This initiative will form the Biometric Enrollment and Verification System to crack down on doctor shopping and drug diversion.

To tackle the task of government streamlining in House Bill 487, the legislature reviewed all appropriation line-items. Through this process, we were able to consolidate, merge or reform more than 135 of these line-items. This work translates into $13 million of savings throughout this biennium. It is the job of the government to not only provide high-caliber services to its citizens, but also to fund these services in a responsible manner. The bottom line here is tax dollar savings and more efficient government operations.

House Bill 487 includes many more components in its review process, each benefiting Ohioans through increased government efficiency. There is always room for improvement in state government, and it is important that we take advantage of any opportunity to make Ohio a better place to live.


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