Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ohio House Passes House Bill 487, MBR Omnibus Legislation

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today voted to pass House Bill 487, which is a component of the mid-biennium review that provides authorization and conditions for the operation of state programs. Goals of the bill include, among other things, streamlining state government, reducing state spending, and improving services for the mentally and physically disabled. “House Bill 487 is an all-encompassing piece of good policy that makes adjustments to specific areas of our state government and invests in our communities,” said Chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster). “Through several weeks of constructive committee hearings in which members from both sides of the aisle engaged in thoughtful discussions, I believe we’ve passed a bill today that best serves all Ohioans.” Major provisions passed as part of House Bill 487 include: Streamlining state government and saving taxpayer dollars: Maintains our commitment to consolidating state government and spending tax dollars wisely by taking the unprecedented step of reviewing all appropriation line-items in a non-budget year, leading to the consolidation, merging, renaming or repurposing of more than 135 individual appropriation line items, which rendered nearly $69 million in savings over this biennium. · Safeguarding the Elderly: Creates the Aging in Place Pilot Program, a pilot program for 180 households in southwest Ohio to receive health services and home repairs to attempt to allow more elderly people to stay at home longer. · Protecting the Environment: Creates the Healthy Lake Erie Fund and provides a $3 million appropriation to reduce algae blooms on Lake Erie. · Ensuring healthcare in underserved areas: Protects state funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers. Working to eliminate drug addiction in major affected areas: Directs the Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction services to create pilot project in Franklin and Scioto counties for the use of a non-addictive opiate treatment with the voluntary cooperation of individuals in the criminal justice system. Protecting all Ohioans: Enacts the recommendations of the Criminal Sentencing Work Group that continues the reform efforts contained in HB 153 to ensure that individuals in the criminal justice system are serving their sentences in the most cost effective manner for Ohio taxpayers while maintaining public safety. Improving services for the developmentally disabled: Improves the state and local developmental disabled agencies and provides more decision-making authority for disabled individuals. “Today, the House has reaffirmed its commitment to a steady course to budget recovery as we approve a wide range of program and process improvements for the citizens of Ohio,” Chairman Amstutz said. “I would like to thank Governor Kasich and his administration for proposing these improvement measures.” House Bill 487 received bipartisan support and will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.