Republican and Democratic leaders in the Ohio House are coming together to sponsor priority legislation for this General Assembly. That’s a departure from previous sessions, when each caucus announced their priorities separately.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says his fellow Republican members will collaborate with minority Democrats on bills to improve foster care, to create a kinship navigation program, work on the new H2Ohio clean water fund, and improve job training opportunities.
“We’re going to try to get it done, and I think that’s a far cry from what our friends in Washington, D.C. are doing," Householder says.
Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says there are a lot of big picture issues on which both parties can agree.
“Much like the people of our great nation and the state of Ohio, we are more alike than different," Sykes says.
One bill announced Monday would ensure that potential foster parents are trained, licensed and approved more effectively. Another creates a program to help the growing number of relatives such as grandparents caring for the children of parents experiencing drug addiction.
The proposed legislation follows record spending for foster care provided in the House version of Ohio's $69 billion budget, which was approved last week with bipartisan support.
In January, an even number of Democrats voted for Householder as Speaker as Republicans, saying he promised to be more bipartisan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.