COLUMBUS -- Improvements to offices that help out-of-work Ohioans find jobs, regulations of so-called Internet Cafes and procedures for removing fiscal officers are among the first law changes proposed by Republicans in the Ohio House.
The bills were among more than 20 offered during the Jan. 30 session. The first 10 are often considered as priorities among the chamber's majority caucus, though Speaker Bill Batchelder downplayed that symbolic significance.
"While these 10 bills are not part of an official House Republican 'priorities list,' they reflect some of the bigger issues we will face in the first six months," the Medina Republican said in a released statement. "These are the first in a series of many important bills that we will be introducing over the course of this General Assembly as we work to boost workforce development efforts, improve our tax climate, enhance local government operation, improve health care, and create a better quality of life for all Ohioans."
House Bills 1 and 2 both relate to state work force offices, generally referred to as "One Stops."
The former would rename the centers as "Ohio Means Jobs" offices, streamline their operations and require the use of a state-sponsored website that lists openings.
HB 2 would require anyone applying for unemployment insurance to register with the state jobs website and work with local Ohio Means Jobs offices during their jobs search.
Another bill, HB 5, attempts to make the state's municipal income tax system more uniform in terms of filing requirements and residency requirements.
House Bill 7, meanwhile, is the chamber's latest attempt to regulate sweepstakes parlors, gaming storefronts that offer patrons slots-like gambling options but that operate outside of state law. Among other changes, the new bill includes a waiver to protect businesses with customer rewards programs.
Other bills introduced by House Republicans Jan. 30 included:
• House Bill 3: Relates to licensing of insurance agents and oversight of health insurance plans.
• House Bill 4: A grant program that would provide funding for local governments working to make their operations more efficient.
• House Bill 8: A placeholder bill related to school safety that could include firearms provisions.
• House Bill 10: Legislation that would penalize wrong-doing among local fiscal officers, creating a procedure for removing them from their posts. Rep. Christina Hagan, a Republican from Alliance, offered the bill last year and again this session.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.