Statehouse News

Ohio House Health Committee approves legislation reducing flow of opioids, expanding treatment options

COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) today announced that the Ohio House Health Committee has passed legislation he sponsored that originally addresses prescriptions for opioids and alternative treatments.

Substitute House Bill 167 changed from the original legislation as a result of new rules from the Administration that were in line with portions of the bill, mainly surrounding the number of pills per prescription for acute pain. However, the bill will now also address gaps in patient access to medication-assisted treatment, better helping those in care for addiction. Specifically, House Bill 167 allows pharmacists to provide short-term doses of certain treatments to patients if their prescriber is unavailable or in emergencies.

“This is one of many steps that I have taken to fight the opioid epidemic and save lives” Edwards said. “This bill would have saved Daniel’s life and we cannot allow more lives to be lost. It is a such a small window for those in treatment to get them the help they desire. We need to focus on the barriers they face, that lead some of them back into addiction. Also, trained professionals are scared to provide much needed medication, because under current law, administering this live-saving drug in an emergency situation could lead to legal repercussions; this has to change!”

The legislation is also known as Daniel’s Law, named for Daniel Weidle of Germantown, who tragically died of an overdose in 2015 after battling addiction for years. Daniel’s father, Scott, has made it his mission to share Daniel’s story in the hopes of educating others about addiction.

Substitute House Bill 167 now awaits consideration to be heard on the House floor.

Rep. Edwards announces passage of legislation offering tax exemption for spouses of deceased public servants

COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation that would grant surviving spouses of public service officers killed in the line of duty an extension of Ohio’s homestead exemption.

House Bill 513 would give a widow or widower of a peace officer, firefighter, EMT, or paramedic a $50,000 homestead exemption. Ohio’s homestead exemption helps certain homeowners to reduce their property tax bills by shielding some of the market value of their homes from taxation.

“Peace officers, firefighters, EMT’s, and paramedics are the backbone of our community” Edwards said. “Their families deserve assistance if the worst were to happen. I am proud to support our first responders”.

Currently, Ohio’s homestead exemption applies to military veterans who are disabled and low-income senior citizens. Under House Bill 513, the surviving spouse must apply to the county auditor with a letter of verification from the department or state pension fund confirming the death of the officer in the line of duty.

House Bill 513 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

House passes legislation providing protections for Ohio’s companion animals, humane options for dog wardens

COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) announced the passage of House Bill 552, legislation that makes changes to Ohio law related to companion animals.

House Bill 552 would allow dog wardens to use a tranquilizer gun to capture animals without having a veterinarian present. Safeguards are included in the legislation that require certified officers to obtain a classification from the State Board of Pharmacy prior to practicing chemical capture outside of the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

The bill would also prohibit animal shelters from using gas chambers to euthanize domestic animals, a practice not commonly used but is still in place in a small number of facilities.

“I’ve always thought it was important to protect animals” Edwards Said. “This bill will ensure that animals are treated more humanely. The fact that we are in living in 2018 and still using gas chambers to kill animals absolutely disgusts me. I am very happy this bill will change these gruesome practices.”

Under the bill, the mandate for dog wardens to sell unclaimed dogs to teaching or research institutions would be eliminated. Currently, after a three-day impound period, a dog seized by the county dog warden must be turned over to research or teaching facilities for $3, if such facilities request the dog. By eliminating this mandate, the county dog warden has the option to sell such dogs to research and teaching facilities, but is no longer obligated to do so.

Additionally, the dog warden may set the fee at which they turn over these dogs.

This legislation would allow dog wardens to perform their duties more safety, efficiently, and humanely, as well as ensure animals are euthanized in an ethical and compassionate manner.

House Bill 552 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

House passes legislation reforming Ohio’s hunting, fishing laws

COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) announced that the Ohio House approved Senate Bill 257, legislation that makes the process for applying for hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses more consumer friendly.

Senate Bill 257 is a bipartisan bill that expands licensure options for hunters, fishers, and trappers by allowing the Chief of the Division of Wildlife within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ONDR) to issue multi-year and lifetime licenses. Funds acquired from the purchase of these licenses will go into the newly created Multi-year and Lifetime License Fund.

“It shouldn’t be difficult or burdensome to get these licenses” Edwards said. “I think it is important to us in Southeast Ohio and across our great state that we allow more of our youth and families to get into hunting and fishing and the values it can bring to people’s lives.”

The legislation has a number of other provisions reforming this licensing process including: making licenses valid starting on the date of purchase, offering discounts for the purchase of multiple licenses at once, and legalizing hunting from all-terrain vehicles. The goal of the bill is to make it easier for Ohioans to purchase and maintain licenses, better enabling them to enjoy Ohio’s public waters.

Senate Bill 257 now heads to the Governor for his consideration.

Information provided by the office of State Rep. Jay Edwards.