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‘And now the rest of the story’

COLUMBUS –For more than three decades, radio personality named Paul Harvey would begin his broadcast with, “And now the rest of the story.”

Recently, a front page story highlighted the potential unintended impact the use of traffic cameras in our county could have upon the Local Government Fund (LGF). I believe it is vital that the citizens of Columbiana County hear all the facts of this story.

First, this is not a free-standing bill, but a small amendment to a much larger bill called the Transportation Budget (House Bill 62), which was drafted and voted upon every two years.

The bill is 276 pages long and received strong support by both Republican and Democrat members. This bill was also supported by many pro-business groups because of benefits to the local economy.

It will annually provide $865 million in new dollars. That amount is divided with 55 percent going to the state of Ohio and 45 going to local governments for maintenance and repair of our roads.

Second, the projected figures are for FY2021, which allows time for the error in the language to be corrected. Bills are comprised of detailed legal language and although the process is thorough, in my three terms in the Ohio House we have had to correct language in bills on occasions.

This why our laws are called the Ohio Revised Code. The Ohio House reviews and passes hundreds of bills totaling tens of thousands of pages of language. To suggest that any single legislator can possibly identify every error is to reveal an ignorance of the magnitude of the legislature’s work. Former Supreme Court Justice and now Speaker, Bob Cupp, has committed to correcting the mistake and to help with the process.

Finally, I recently voted for House Bill 481 that provided Columbiana County with an additional $3 million to offset lost revenue and expenses due to COVID-19. This money is distributed by the County Commissioners, according to needs meeting certain qualifying conditions.

I have been honored to serve the people of Columbiana County and I have a record of working closely with our local government officials on behalf of our citizens. In a day of increasing factionalism and division, I believe it is important that we as leaders set the example of working together regardless of our party or background. I only wish that the county prosecutor would have contacted me personally so that we could have expedited the necessary changes more quickly.

And now you know “the rest of the story.”

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