One of the joys of being a state legislator is that, as time progresses, you see the effects of legislation that you have voted in favor of play out in the everyday lives of Ohioans. The reason that the House has 17 different standing committees is because there are such a broad range of issues that we must consider addressing during each two-year General Assembly. These committees allow a select group to look in-depth at each issue.

During the 129th General Assembly, I have been privileged to serve on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Education Committee, and the Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. I’m proud of how my committees have operated and all of the work we have been able to get done since taking office in January 2011.

One of the bills recently passed by the House that I followed in committee was House Bill 458. This bill has an important role in ensuring safety and saving money, because it updates the laws Ohio has to protect underground utilities.

I’m sure that many of you are aware of the Call-Before-You-Dig Law. With so many lines, tubes, and wires buried beneath our feet to provide important services such as gas and electricity, this law helps to make sure nothing goes awry. Through the new legislation, a consumer or excavator can call 8-1-1 to have all the utilities at an excavation site marked within 48 hours—all through a more seamless one-call system.

This legislation is useful in making sure that conflicts between existing underground utilities and a proposed excavation site are taken care of before a problem occurs. It is always smart to prepare for problems ahead of time, and we also did this through another bill recently passed by the House.

House Bill 278 increases the minimum amounts required for valid proof of financial responsibility and makes changes to the law dealing with auto insurance policies. The minimum requirements have not been updated since 1969, and raising the coverage limits will better protect responsible drivers in contemporary times. I believe that this legislation adequately updates our laws concerning the industry, and I’m glad that the House finally took action and did something about it.

Being a driver and having a car comes with important responsibilities this day and age in order for our citizens to be safe—both physically and financially. As legislation dealing with this and other issues comes across the desks of Ohio legislators, I believe it is important to seek the viewpoints and advice of those we are representing.

My hope is that throughout my time as your state representative, the changes we have made at the Statehouse have made a positive impact on the lives of you and your family. I’m continually honored to be serving Ashtabula and northern Trumbull counties.


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