New speaker gives hints on Ohio GOP’s legislative agenda

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Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger on Monday hinted that his Republican caucus may be open to “reauthorizing” the expanded Medicaid program that extended health care coverage to an additional 431,000 low-income Ohioans.
Rosenberger said he views it as a “reauthorization” of an existing program rather than an expansion. He said he favors cost-cutting reforms so that Medicaid is more stable in the future and wants to study ways for Ohioans to move up the economic ladder so they can eventually get off of Medicaid.
Medicaid is a state and federally funded health care program for the poor and disabled. Currently 2.8 million Ohioans are on Medicaid, which costs $16.9 billion a year.
Gov. John Kasich will unveil his two-year budget plan next week and is expected ask lawmakers to approve the expanded Medicaid program.
Rosenberger, speaking to reporters on Monday, said he expects lawmakers to act quickly on a bill to protect water quality and limit algae blooms like the one that shut off drinking water in Toledo for three days last summer.
The new speaker also said he expects to see reforms for charter schools and changes to the state funding formula for education. He promised to detail the GOP caucus’ priorities on Wednesday.
He also said that a bill to allow cities and townships to create “entertainment districts” where partiers can carry open containers of alcohol will be re-introduced. That bill failed to clear the House last year before the legislative session ended.
Rosenberger said he doesn’t hear a lot of clamor from Republican lawmakers for the fireworks bill that also died last legislative session. That bill would have legalized use of consumer grade fireworks, such as firecrackers, Roman candles and bottle rockets.
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