Impact Ohio is known for bringing together Republicans and Democrats to discuss paths forward on issues facing all Ohioans. Each conference is co-sponsored with the Ohio Democratic and Republican Parties, allowing for a bipartisan look into the future of policy making.
Recently, the Republican and Democratic members of the Ohio House of Representatives united on several key pieces of legislation in an unprecedented show of bipartisanship. The effort comes on the heels of recent bipartisanship amongst leadership in the legislative chamber. Typically, the two caucuses would roll out their priority bills separately. This joint roll out symbolizes heightened efforts on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans to work with one another in advancing bipartisan legislation quickly and efficiently.
Democratic and Republican House members unveiled the priority bipartisan legislation in a news conference on May 13th. Speaker Larry Householder and Minority Leader Emilia Sykes spoke to the bills, which they hope to pass before the end of summer. The bills cover relatively uncontroversial topics and represent a commitment on behalf of both parties to expand bipartisan efforts in the House.
House Bill 7 aims to revive Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio fund which was previously removed from the state budget. This bill gives authority to an advisory board to borrow money for water-quality improvement efforts.
House Bill 14 would create a “kinship navigator” program which offers aid to those caring for extended family members. This would be a statewide program aimed at connecting these families with support services.
House Bill 8 was introduced in efforts to more efficiently train and license foster parents. Ohio’s opioid crisis has created a massive drought in foster families across the state. The newly proposed bill would give the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services more flexibility when outlining requirements for foster parent licensure.
House Bill 2 would create a program which offers grants to businesses willing to provide training for jobs in high demand.
Speaker Householder and Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs reconvened later in the week to announce another group of bipartisan bills aimed at improving prenatal care, establishing an office on drug policy, reducing domestic violence, and providing job training. While these are promising measures, when it comes to several other contentious issues moving through the legislature such as firearms, clean energy, and abortion, there is a continued lack of common ground among Democrats and Republicans.
Several of the bipartisan priority bills are set to have their preliminary hearings in legislative committee this week.