Columbus -- A new loan program to cover the costs of job training, an effort to better disclose new state rules affecting businesses and a requirement that hospitals screen newborns for heart defects are among the legislative priorities unveiled by the GOP leaders of the Ohio Senate Feb. 12.
Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina, said the first 10 bills introduced in the chamber mostly focus on job creation and work force development, two of the priority themes for the session.
"Republicans believe that good jobs are essential to family stability and economic growth," Faber said. "That's why we are committed to providing job creators the necessary tools they need to sustain their work force."
Senate Bill 1, co-sponsored by Sen. Troy Balderson, a Republican from Zanesville, would create a $25 million revolving loan program to provide funds to Ohioans seeking job training.
The program would be backed by casino license fees, with loans capped at $100,000 for colleges and universities and $10,000 for individual students.
Senate Bill 3 would create a "Rule Watch" system to provide residents with a better means of tracking rules and regulations being reviewed.
Sen. Frank LaRose, a Republican from the Akron area and primary sponsor, said the legislation also includes provisions requiring fines collected by agencies to be directed to the state's general revenue fund, rather than used to bolster offices' spending plans.
"We don't believe that there should be a connection between how many fines you levy against a particular business or industry and how your budget bottom line looks," he said.
Senate Bill 4 would require noninvasive pulse oximetry screening of newborns to identify congenital heart defects sooner.
Two of the Senate's initial bills list Democrats as co-sponsors.
Senate Bill 5 would enable assist law enforcement and investigators in tracking the whereabouts of individuals who have been abducted.
Senate Bill 10 would cover polling place access and other election reform issues, including a guarantee that people in line when polls close on election days are allowed to cast ballots. GOP leaders indicated photo identification and other polarizing issues would not be included.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.