Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today in the Ohio Senate

Session Schedule:
At today's session (1:30 p.m.), the Senate will consider the following legislation:
  • Regulatory Reform: House Bill 95, sponsored by State Representative Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Township), modernizes the regulatory process for Ohio's natural gas industry.  The legislation updates antiquated statutes in the Ohio Revised Code and facilitates investments in the natural gas infrastructure that contributes to Ohio's economic vitality.  The bill preserves all of the Public Utility Commission's authority to review utility rate requests, while at the same time helping to reduce overall costs to ratepayers.
  • Military Child Custody:  House Bill 121, sponsored by State Representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) with companion legislation in the Senate sponsored by Senator Frank LaRose (R-Akron), is specifically designed to help Ohio's military service members who are faced with losing custody of a child due to active duty obligations.  The bill prohibits a parent's absence due to past, present or possible future military service from being the sole determining factor in awarding custody of a child, and it allows a parent who has court-ordered visitation rights to apply for a temporary order delegating those rights to a relative or person with a substantial relationship with the child.  It also gives military parents the option of participating in child custody and visitation rights proceedings via electronic means, such as videoconferencing or telephone.  Senator LaRose testified in committee, "This bill will help to ensure that parental responsibilities are not diminished as a result of military service, while keeping the child's emotional and physical well-being at the forefront of custody and visitation decisions."