Over the past few years, the Ohio House has used the summer months as a time to delve further into the issues facing our state by holding committee hearings around Ohio. This gives us a better opportunity to take these issues to the people, so to speak, and to hear their input, as opposed to having them travel to the Statehouse.
Two years ago, I had the privilege of leading the Higher Education Study Committee, which looked at the long-term viability of Ohio’s education system and economy, as well as trying to find ways to make college more affordable for Ohioans. The cost of higher education continues to be among the top issues for the legislature, but I believe the work done on that committee back in 2013 provided a lot of the groundwork for future reform.
This year, we are continuing the trend of traveling around the state to hold these committee hearings. The House has organized three committees that will meet over the next several weeks. Two of them are standing committees that already hold official hearings at the Statehouse when the House is in session, and this will simply provide them a better handling of the issues important to people all across the state.
For example, the House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Hill of Muskingum County, will be looking at ways to continue moving Ohio’s number-one industry forward, as agriculture is the lifeblood of so many families and small towns throughout our state.
Second, the House Community & Family Advancement Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Derickson of Butler County, will maintain its work of finding and sharing ideas for lifting struggling Ohioans out of poverty. This summer committee met for the first time last week in Cleveland, and it will also hold hearings in Cincinnati and in East Liverpool on the eastern side of the state.
Finally, the House Healthcare Efficiencies Summer Study Committee is a little different from the other two in that it is not an official committee, but rather one organized only for summer hearings to listen to some of Ohio’s leading healthcare experts. It is chaired by Dr. Stephen Huffman of Miami County.
Whether it be handling our own medical expenses or perhaps taking care of an elderly family member, health care truly is an issue that impacts everyone. It is also one of the pillars of the House Republican caucus’s “Ohio 2020” plan, which is committed to finding ways to decrease costs and increase transparency in our healthcare system.
Members on these committees will have the opportunity to be out in the communities, talking with real Ohioans about issues important to them. I encourage anyone who is interested to attend, since the hearings are open to the public, or to check our website for more information at www.ohiohouse.gov.
Continuing our work over the summer in the form of these committees will be helpful to the legislature and allow us to gather our findings and issue a report, which will provide legislators with evidence-based ideas for improving in these very important policy areas.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.