Tuesday, September 29, 2009

REELASE: St. Rep. Combs on House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee Vacancy

Columbus – State Representative Courtney Combs (R- Hamilton) today expressed in a letter to Speaker Armond Budish (D- Beachwood) the need to appoint a chair to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, which has been vacant since April. The previous Chairman Eugene Miller resigned to become a Cleveland city councilman.

“For almost six months, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee has been without a chair and I find this greatly disheartening,” Combs said in the letter. “There are currently 21 bills assigned to the committee, yet the committee has only met twice and not once since April 2nd… The result of this committee’s inaction is putting our most vulnerable citizens at risk.”

Combs introduced House Bill 98 in March to add a new provision to the sexual offender registration law to ensure that management of long-term care facilities notify residents and sponsors when a sexual offender is taken as a resident of a facility. Recently, due to an analysis by the Columbus Dispatch, the bill has received attention from Governor Ted Strickland and State Attorney General Richard Cordray, saying they would support such legislation.

“These citizens are the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled, and those who could not otherwise take care of themselves,” Combs said. “In the state of Ohio these citizens could be housed with sexual offenders just released from prison and they would never know it – leaving them exposed to unspeakable dangers.”

The lack of action from state Democratic leaders has been a major source of weakness, according to House Republicans. Only recently has the governor appointed a director for the Department of Development, after going without for nearly seven months.