Ohio House Republicans will focus on workforce development and a new system for funding Ohio’s schools, with House Speaker William Batchelder saying this legislative year will be much less controversial than last. In 2011, House battles featured numerous partisan fights, including issues over the state budget and collective bargaining, the Columbus Dispatch
Republican Rep. Barbara Sears said the House will discuss several changes to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, but won’t address agency privatization. Instead, the bureau’s changes could include encouraging better medical care practices; employer incentives for protecting workers; giving the bureau authority to take action on underperforming providers; and streamlining the administration process for injured workers.
“It is about getting people back to work, measuring outcomes and being proactive, not reactive,” Sears said.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Ron Amstutz said the House will also tackle a new system for school funding and student achievement. The efforts will be bipartisan, Amstutz stressed, and will include outside interests and run parallel with the governor’s efforts for a new funding system.
“How do we do more with less?” Amstutz asked. “The goal is a sustainable model for achieving and establishing accountability for our students.”
Congress this year also expects to work on more regulations for Ohio’s casinos and racetracks. Casinos are expected to open in Cleveland and Toledo in May or June.
House Republicans also expect to work on a Great Lakes Compact, which will legislate how much water can be taken from Lake Erie; exotic animal regulations, following the release of several large animals and the suicide of their owner; a health care exchange mandate from the federal government; and more restructuring for JobsOhio, which is taking over state economic development.
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