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Lawmakers push through bills on taxes, tolls, education and more


In a mad-dash before summer break, Ohio lawmakers voted on dozens of bills in the past week that will impact newborns, high school students, business owners, military veterans and Ohioans who pay taxes.

Lawmakers sent bills to Gov. John Kasich dealing with bridge tolls, prescription pain pills, tanning beds and more. Here is a quick rundown of legislation that saw action this week and what the next step is for each bill:

* Human trafficking: HB130 would increase the penalties for ‘johns’ soliciting sex from boys or girls younger than 16 and ease prosecution requirements. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Tanning salons: Under HB131, teens ages 16 or 17 would need written parental consent before using tanning services. Children under 16 would need written parental consent signed at the salon and a parent would have to accompany them at each session. Next step: Senate considers the bill.

* Religious instruction: HB171 would allow public school students to attend religious instruction off campus during school hours and receive credit. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Opiate prescriptions for minors: HB314 would require prescribers to obtain informed parental consent for a minor to receive prescription opiates. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Opiate drugs in hospice: HB336 would require hospice programs to have a plan to retrieve unused pain killers after a patient dies. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Opiate prescriptions: HB341 would require prescribers to check the state pharmacy board’s prescription tracking database before prescribing certain pain killers. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Veterans: Some veterans, their spouses and their dependents applying to public colleges and universities would be given in-state status, under HB449. Next step: Senate considers the bill.

* Taxes: HB483 would accelerate an already approved 10 percent personal income tax cut to take effect in 2014 and would allow small businesses to deduct 75 percent of their income from state taxes, up from 50 percent, for one year. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Education: HB487 would expand high school students’ access to college courses and replace the Ohio Graduation Test with end of course exams for the incoming freshman class. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Bridge tolling: HB533 would authorize electronic tolling to pay for the rebuilding and expansion of the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. Cameras would photograph license plates and bills for the toll would be mailed. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Commitments of mentally ill people: SB43 would expand the criteria for hospitalizing a mentally ill person by court order. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Poetry: SB84 would authorize the Ohio Arts Council to establish the position of Ohio Poet Laureate. Next step: House considers the bill.

* Cancer drugs: SB99 would lower the cost of chemotherapy pills by prohibiting insurance companies from charging more for cancer drugs taken orally rather than intravenously. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Criminal records: SB143 would change when certain juvenile records can be released and modify how and when juvenile and adult records may be sealed. It also expands eligibility for pregnant inmates to participate in the prison nursery program. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Rape victims: SB207 would allow rape victims to request that a court terminate their attacker’s parental rights after he has admitted or been convicted of the crime. Next step: House considers the bill.

* Insurance: SB255 would allow Ohio drivers to present proof of insurance via an electronic wireless device such as a smart phone. Thirty-one other states allow this. Next step: House considers the bill.

* Overpaid taxes: SB263 would require the state to notify businesses when they overpay their state taxes and provide automatic refunds or credits toward future taxes. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Infant mortality: SB278 would start a “safe sleep” program to promote putting infants in cribs, alone and on their backs and require hospitals and birthing centers make sure parents have a safe sleeping location for newborns upon discharge. Next step: governor’s signature.

* Rape kits: SB316: would require all law enforcement agencies to clear any backlog of testing rape kits within a year by submitting collected evidence to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and begin processing future kits within 20 days. Next step: House considers the bill.



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