COLUMBUS — Two area state senators will serve on an influential senate committee.
Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima: Huffman, along with Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, were appointed to the senate’s Rules and Reference Committee this past week by Senate President Larry Obhof. The committee assigns legislation to the Senate’s various subject-matter committees, a vital role in setting the legislative agenda for the Senate. The committee would also determine if and when a bill would be brought up for consideration by the full senate.
“I am honored to have been selected to serve on this critically important committee,” Huffman said. “As a member, I will continue to push for a commonsense policy agenda that will create new opportunities for Ohio families.”
“I’m honored to have been chosen to serve on this committee, which plays such a vital role in the legislative process,” Hite said. “Together, we will put forward a policy agenda that creates opportunities and makes Ohio a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green: On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act, authored by Latta and Jerry McNerney, D-California. The legislation requires collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on a regulatory framework and licensing parameters that, according to a release from Latta’s office, would “provide certainty for the development of advanced nuclear technology.”
“Advanced nuclear technology will play an important role in helping the U.S. maintain its role as a global energy leader,” Latta said. “However, regulatory ambiguity and uncertainty threaten the continued development of this source of clean, reliable power. Providing guidance and a licensing framework for the nuclear industry will aid the efforts of the private sector to implement cutting-edge technology that is safe and effective.”
On Tuesday, both Latta and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, voted to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would make the Hyde Amendment permanent, prohibiting all federal funding for the provision of abortions.
“One of the most basic ways we can protect innocent life is ensuring that taxpayer money is not being used to fund abortions,” Latta said. “Not only is this policy supported by a large majority of Americans, it’s the moral and right thing to do. Hardworking Ohioans have an expectation that their tax dollars will not be used to fund a practice that they abhor.”
“This bill is a nationally popular piece of legislation that ensures no taxpayer dollars are used to pay for the taking of innocent life,” Jordan said. “The vast majority of Americans support this commonsense policy, and it’s time for Congress to recognize that fact by sending this bill to President [Donald] Trump’s desk.”
Both bills must go to the Senate for ratification.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: Brown took exception to two of Trump’s executive orders this week.
In regards to Trump’s actions to freeze federal hiring, Brown called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to be exempted from this order, saying such a freeze could hinder programs to help veterans find employment or cope with disabilities.
“Ohio’s veterans can’t get the high-quality care and services they’ve been promised if the White House stops our local VA centers from hiring the workers they need,” Brown said.
On Saturday, Brown also voiced opposition to Trump’s executive order blocking refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
“Keeping America safe must be our top priority, and we do that by aggressively going after terrorism wherever it exists, not by turning our backs on children and families just like ours, whose only goal is to escape violence and persecution,” Brown said. “We must continue to use every tool at our disposal to make sure our screening system is tough and effective, and I have and will continue to support meaningful efforts to ensure our vetting process works to keep terrorists out. But targeting women, children and families who are fleeing the very same terrorists we are fighting against is wrong, will not make America safer, and may actually undermine our long-term security.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: On Wednesday, Portman, along with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act, which aims to close a skills gap leaving 5.5 million jobs across the country unfilled. If passed, this bill would expand Pell Grant eligibility to cover certain short-term job training programs for high-demand jobs.
“We must do a better job of ensuring that more Americans have the skills that match the jobs that are available today, and part of that is making sure our students are job-ready after graduation,” Portman said. “We’ve got a lot of great Career and Technical Education programs in Ohio, but some kids need help getting access to them. By expanding Pell Grant eligibility, the JOBS Act will help kids from low-income families get the job training they need for careers that will give them economic security and help them join the middle class. We will all benefit from that.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.