While the House and Senate have been busy with the Medicaid debate this summer, the House also has used the time to send multiple members to various locations around the state to hear from Ohioans on tax reform, higher education and prescription drug addiction health care reform. Representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) is overseeing the higher education reform committee, Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) is chairing the prescription drug addiction and health care reform committee, and Representative Gary Scherer is leading the tax reform committee. House Speaker Batchelder (R-Medina) undertook similar efforts in the previous General Assembly, appointing legislative study committees on Ohio’s tax structure, workforce development and use of technology in state government. “One of the most important responsibilities of the Legislature is to provide review and oversight on state policies, programs and initiatives to ensure they are being utilized efficiently and effectively,” Batchelder said in a statement. “The committees present an opportunity to hear from experts and others impacted by these policies to learn more and help us make well-informed policy decisions.”

The hearings have been open to the public — with the panels hearing testimony from both invited participants and the general public. It remains to be seen if any legislation will develop from these hearings, but they were all hot topics of debate during the recent budget process and it would not be surprising to see the House unveil new legislation in these areas this fall.

The higher education and tax reform committees each have one final hearing scheduled this month. The higher education committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, September 19, at Kaplan College in Dayton from 1 to 3 p.m. on the topic of “Serving Non-Traditional Students.” The tax reform committee, which has focused on all taxes but the municipal income tax thus far, will switch gears to focus only on the municipal income tax at its last meeting in Columbus in Statehouse Room 313 on Tuesday, September 17, starting at 1 p.m.