Rep. Stinziano Announces December Community Hours

Rep. Michael Stinziano will hold community hours this month across the district to hear the issues and concerns of constituents.

The meetings offer the opportunity for citizens to tell Rep. Stinziano directly what is important to them and how he can help in his work at the statehouse.

“Significant issues confront this diverse community every day. I want to hear in person from my constituents about concerns them as we work together to make our neighborhoods the best places to live, work and raise a family in Ohio.”

Friday, December 4th at the Hilltop Library
511 S Hague Avenue
10:00 AM—11:00 AM

Monday, December 7th at the Franklinton Library
1061 W Town Street
10:00 AM—11:00 AM

Monday, December 14th at the German Village Stauf’s
627 S 3rd Street
9:00 AM—10:00 AM

Thursday, December 17th at the Grandview Library
1685 W. 1st Avenue
4:30 PM—6:00 PM

Monday, December 21st at the Bexley Starbucks
2450 E. Main Street
5:00 PM—6:30 PM

Thursday, December 10th at Spinelli Deli in the Short North
767 Neil Avenue
9:00 AM—10:00 AM

Lawmakers seek to protect drinking water

The Columbus Dispatch Editorial

Tuesday November 24, 2015 5:34 AM

Good luck to state Reps. David Leland and Michael Stinziano, who have introduced a bill to restore municipal control of the buffer zones around public water sources such as reservoirs.

The shores of municipal water supplies are municipal property, and often city officials allow a band of vegetation to grow up along the shoreline to reduce the amount of lawn and farm fertilizer that makes its way into the water. This helps reduce levels of nitrates and toxic algae in public water supplies.

But waterfront homeowners in Columbus complained that these strips inhibit their views and access to the water; they said they were being hounded for mowing the grass, building docks and making other alterations to the shoreline.

“People were being harassed by city of Columbus Division of Water folks,” said Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Ostrander, who was among the lawmakers who successfully added a provision to the most recent state budget that allows homeowners to mow and make other changes along the shoreline.

That is a mistake. Cities around the state, including Columbus, are experiencing repeated problems with unsafe nitrate levels and toxic algae. They have gone to court to try to undo the budget provision.

Rather than wait for the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to fix this mistake, Leland and Stinziano, both Democrats, would restore municipal control of the buffer zones.

At a committee hearing, Stinziano said Columbus officials have assured him that the situation with the “off-putting” Columbus employee has been dealt with.

Affordable Housing Development Programs Get State Funds

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two Franklin County programs will have nearly $750,000 in additional resources to help create and encourage affordable housing thanks to state assistance, state Rep. Michael Stinziano says.

Without comment, the State Controlling Board approved Monday releasing $376,000 to the Ohio CDC Association to help create AmeriCorps VISTA positions to work on low-and moderate-income housing solutions.

The board also approved releasing $365,000 to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) to be used in tenant outreach and youth housing and other programs.

“I’m pleased that these organizations will have the funding that they need to perform their vital services,” said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat. “Decent, affordable housing is important to families and communities. It fulfills a basic human need for shelter but also contributes to the well-being of families and children and bolsters the economic vibrancy of neighborhoods and communities.”

According to state records, Columbus-based OCDCA will use $130,000 to secure placements for 10 full-time AmeriCorps/VISTA members to serve Community Development Corporations throughout the state with activities that include housing development, education and counseling, emergency home repair and supportive housing programs. The organization will endeavor to help with creating 300 affordable housing units and provide counseling to 625 people.

About $96,300 will be used for programs that provide low-income households with down payment assistance match and education services, according to state records.                       

State documents say that the Columbus-based COHHIO, a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness, will use about $165,000 for tenant outreach and housing advocacy programs that will benefit 1,835 people.

COHHIO will use $200,000 of the award for training and technical assistance to various organizations that work with homeless around the state. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, state documents say, will provide $165,000 in matching funds for this purpose.

Made up of six state lawmakers and a representative of the governor’s office, the State Controlling Board has the final say over some of the state’s larger spending projects.

How state lawmakers put city water systems at risk

Akron Beacon Journal Editorial

Published: November 22, 2015 - 09:46 PM

This past week, two state representatives started to shine welcome light on a dark, hidden crevice in the massive state budget bill passed in the summer. Their worthy goal is to repeal a last-minute provision that would endanger the safety of drinking water for millions across the state, including those who use the city of Akron’s water system. As they point out, recent water crises, among them the shutdown of Toledo’s water supply due to toxic algae, should lead the legislature toward more protection for municipal water resources, not less.

State Reps. David Leland and Michael Stinziano, both Columbus Democrats, would end what amounts to a special exemption for homeowners who live next to municipally owned buffer zones surrounding water reservoirs. The provision inserted into the budget bill allows such homeowners access to the protective zones, permitting them to cut down trees, mow, create paths and remove vegetation. Leland and Stinziano propose repeal of the exemption, restoring the right of cities to guard vigorously their water supplies, making arrests and issuing fines if needed.

The current budget language amounts to yet another attack on municipal home rule by Republican majorities in the Ohio House and Senate. What’s worse is that the misguided budget language brings with it the potential to degrade the ability of natural buffers to absorb runoff, filtering out substances such as nitrates, phosphorous (which can cause toxic algal blooms), herbicides, pesticides and other contaminants. At worst, the budget provision opens the door to deliberate acts of terrorism.

Telling is that no Republican lawmakers have stepped forward to claim sponsorship of the budget language affecting municipal water supplies. The provision was crafted after a dispute between the city of Columbus and wealthy homeowners living near a city reservoir reached the highest levels of state government.

Leland and Stinziano hope that hearings will expose the potential dangers, never discussed during budget hearings, spurring action to repeal the language.

Fortunately, five cities, including Columbus, Akron, Barberton, Lima and Westerville, have gone into court to block temporarily the budget provision on buffer zones, which would have gone into effect in September. But as recent events have shown, delays in protecting water supplies are no longer tolerable. Rather than wait for the uncertain outcome of lengthy court proceedings, the legislature should quickly act to correct its mistake.

In Akron, the important objective is to protect Lake Rockwell, the city’s primary reservoir, from harm.

Last-minute tweaks to budget bills are nothing new at the Statehouse, doling out special favors in the dead of night. What the Republican-run legislature did in this instance goes far beyond a tweak by giving a small group of wealthy property owners special treatment that could lead to public health problems.

By calling attention to the problem, David Leland and Michael Stinziano are doing the Republican majorities a favor, allowing them to repair their mistake before an entire municipal water supply has to be shut down.

Dispatch Editorial: Good Luck to New Bipartisan Caucus

The Columbus Dispatch

Monday - November 23, 2015 5:00am

A group of the youngest members of the Ohio legislature (along with at least one graying, young-at-heart representative) have formed the Ohio Future Caucus. Members aim to “rise above partisan politics and find common ground to advance beneficial public policy,” Gongwer News Service reports.

Apparently, the millennials are taking a page from the Greatest Generation. Longtime politicians often reminisce about the days when Republicans and Democrats had civil disagreements about public policy while staying friends and working together productively.

Focusing on issues of benefit to all Ohioans, such as jobs and education, would be a nice change from the partisan brawls and rancor over social issues.

Rep. Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, and Rep. Sarah LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, are leading the House branch of the Future Caucus. Senate caucus leaders are Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, and Frank LaRose, R-Copley Township.

Stinziano is moving to the Columbus City Council in January, but helping set up this caucus is a fitting end to a Statehouse tenure during which — and this says a lot about the need for the new caucus — he stood out for his common sense and collegiality.

He said nearly a quarter of Ohioans are millennials, and they are the next generation of leadership. “They clearly want to get past the rhetoric and pursue common-sense policies and goals,” he told the news service.

LaRose noted that “partisanship has become tribal,” and some politicians appear to believe that “if it’s bad for the other party, it’s good for me.”

Lost in that attitude is “what’s good for Ohioans?” Kudos to this group of young lawmakers. We wish them a long and successful effort.

Rep. Stinziano Receives 2015 Legislator of the Year Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representative Michael Stinziano has received a 2015 Legislator of The Year Award from the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities.

The recognition, signed by Governor John Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, commends Rep. Stinziano’s “dedication and commitment to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout your district and our state.  We thank you for your leadership and for the work you do to make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

"I thank Governor Kasich, Lieutenant Governor Taylor, and the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities for honoring me with this award," said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat. "We can and must do more to promote the values of diversity, dignity and the quality of life for people with disabilities. Each of us must commit ourselves to be a catalyst to create systemic change to promote awareness of disability related issues that will ultimately benefit all citizens of Ohio.”

The Governor's Council on People with Disabilities consists of 21 members, the majority of whom must be people with disabilities. The members are appointed by the Governor and advise the Governor and General Assembly on statewide disability issues as well as educate and advocate for partnerships at the local, state and national level to promote equality, access, independence, and employment opportunities for the disabled.

The Council also named Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) a Legislator of the Year.

Ohio State to Get $6 Million for Library Access to Resources

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State University will get $6 million in state funding to pay for access to electronic journals and citations that are important for the university's library thanks to state Controlling Board approval, state Rep. Michael Stinziano said. 

"These funds will help to continue to provide Ohio State students access to cutting-edge library resources, an important prospect for students at the state's premier research university as well as students elsewhere," said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat. 

According to state records, the electronic journals and citations will become permanent state assets and will be stored in the Ohio Link Electronic Journal Center. The EJC is accessible not only by Ohio State students but also to students at 90 colleges and universities as well as to the State Library of Ohio. 

Without comment, the State Controlling Board approved Monday releasing the funds to the university. 

Made up six state lawmakers and a representative of the Governor's office, the State Controlling Board has the final say over some of the state's larger spending projects.

Rep. Stinziano Celebrates Student Trustee Voting Rights at Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- State Rep. Michael Stinziano joined The Ohio State University Trustees Friday as Ohio State celebrated the ability of student Trustees on OSU’s board to be able to vote in board decisions.

Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat, also noted that more work was needed to allow student Trustees at other universities that same opportunity.

"I am very proud that student trustees at Ohio's flagship university have the ability to represent the views of fellow student on important matters facing the university and also to help decide them," Stinziano said. "I hope that my colleagues in the Ohio General Assembly continue the important work of providing student trustees at other public universities the opportunity to vote."

Stinziano, whose House district contains several colleges and universities including Ohio State, championed state law changes done through the state budget process that gave public universities the option of allowing student trustees to participate in board decisions and Ohio State has.

For the last three sessions of the General Assembly, Stinziano and Rep Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) have introduced bipartisan legislation to extend voting opportunity to student trustees serving on public university boards of trustees.

"With the myriad of decisions facing university boards on important issues such as tuition, I have always believed that student trustees need the same standing as other university trustees and the ability to participate in board decisions," Stinziano said.

Stinziano's father, former state Rep. Mike Stinziano, originally championed legislation when he was in the House of Representatives. The elder Stinziano worked for 18 years to pass legislation that put student trustees in public university boards in 1988.

According to a survey of U.S. public universities by the Association of Governing Boards, slightly more than half of all students on boards of those universities can vote in board decisions.

Rep. Stinziano Announces November Community Hours

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rep. Michael Stinziano will hold community hours next month across the district to hear the issues and concerns of constituents.

The meetings offer the opportunity for citizens to tell Rep. Stinziano directly what is important to them and how he can help in his work at the statehouse.

“Significant issues confront this diverse community every day. I want to hear in person from my constituents about what concerns them as we work together to make our neighborhoods the best places to live, work and raise a family in Ohio.”

Thursday, November 5th at Spinelli Deli in the Short North
767 Neil Avenue
9:00 AM—10:00 AM

Thursday, November 12th at the Parsons Library
845 Parsons Avenue
10:00 AM—11:00 AM

Thursday, November 19th at the Grandview Library
1685 W. 1st Avenue
4:30 PM—6:00 PM

Tuesday, November 24th at the Bexley Starbucks
2450 E. Main Street
5:00 PM—6:30 PM

Monday, November 30th at the Hilltop Library
511 S. Hague Avenue
10:00 AM—11:00 AM

Bill to Protect Underage Samaritans Who Seek Medical Help to Receive Medical Help this Week

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A bill that provides limited immunity to underage Samaritans who seek medical help for dangerously intoxicated persons will be the subject of testimony this week in the Ohio House.

House Bill 201, co-sponsored by state Rep. Michael Stinziano, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee which is hearing the bill, aims to save lives by providing an underage Samaritan who seeks medical help for someone overdosing on alcohol limited immunity from prosecution. It would also apply if the underage person is asking for emergency medical help for themselves.  

The Samaritan would have to use his or her real name in seeking help and would only be protected if authorities find the intoxicated individual solely because of the Samaritan’s efforts.

“People shouldn’t have to be concerned about getting into legal trouble if all they want to do is find medical help for someone who has drunk too much alcohol. This bill will save lives,” said Stinziano, whose district includes several universities and colleges, including The Ohio State University.

Currently, 11 states, including New Mexico, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Maryland and Utah, have statutes that give limited immunity to people under the age of 21 who seek medical help for a person who is dangerously intoxicated.  Several Ohio universities have similar policies, but they do not extend into state law.

Studies have shown that when good Samaritan policies are passed, emergency requests for help increase.

Stinziano Pushes Bills to Improve Home Accessibility and to Expemt Textbooks from State Sales Tax

COLUMBUS, Ohio State grants would be offered to improve accessibility in their homes for senior citizens and the disabled, under bipartisan legislation promoted in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, college textbooks would be exempted from the state's sales and use tax, under separate legislation getting discussion in the Ohio House.

"I encourage my colleagues to support these common sense measures," state Rep. Michael Stinziano, the Columbus a Democrat who sponsored both measures.

Home renovation investments are needed to promote independent living because older Americans often occupy homes that were constructed in earlier decades when physical accessibility was not a priority for homebuilders or homeowners, said Stinziano, one of the sponsors of the proposed Home Accessibility Grant Program.

The legislation, offered by state Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City, and Stinziano, would provide state grants up to $5,000 for building, purchasing or remodeling homes to incorporate accessibility and universal design features.

"Homes that incorporate universal designs allow more senior citizens and disabled Ohioans to live longer, more safely and comfortably in their homes," Stinziano said. "Our proposal creates an incentive for homeowners and contractors to incorporate the universal designs that will make Ohio homes more livable, comfortable and safer for independent living."

The bill is pending before the House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee where Rep. Stinziano offered sponsor testimony.

Regarding the proposed sales tax exemption for college textbooks, 27 states currently exempt textbooks from their sales taxes in order to make higher education more affordable for students.

The prices of tuition, fees, and course materials for college students have increased in the United States during the past several decades much faster than inflation. The College Board estimates that the average college student spends nearly $1,200 a year on books and supplies for class, Stinziano said. 

My proposal, by exempting a costly required purchase from the sales tax, would help to make college more affordable for students and families across Ohio. To be eligible for a sales tax exemption, students must be enrolled in an Ohio college or university and the textbook purchased must be required by a course the student in enrolled in.

Students can meet these requirements by simply showing a vendor a student ID and a list of required materials for their courses.

The legislation is pending before the House Ways and Means Committee where Rep. Stinziano and Rep. Duffey, the joint sponsor of the bill, will offer sponsor testimony on Wednesday.

Stinziano: Columbus State to Get Tech Funds

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus State Community College will receive $440,498 in state funds for technology upgrades thanks to final approval by a state board, according to state Rep. Michael Stinziano.

Without comment, the State Controlling Board on Monday voted to release the funds that will benefit Columbus State and its students and faculty.

“Community colleges – like Columbus State Community College – lead the nation in serving nontraditional students and helping them achieve a quality and low-cost college education as well as helping students to be prepared for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat.

“These much needed funds will go a long way towards helping Columbus State fulfill its mission,” Stinziano said.

According to state records, the technology upgrade project will allow Columbus State to improve its existing information technology system by replacing outdated, no longer supported infrastructure and equipment. 

These upgrades will permit the College to develop a robust IT system that can offer our students the technologically advanced experience they expect from a Higher Education Institution representing the State of Ohio, according to state records.

In order to achieve this goal Columbus State must upgrade its wireless infrastructure, network infrastructure, server environment, lab and staff computers, audiovisual equipment, and regional telephony infrastructure, according to state records.

Made up of six state lawmakers and a representative of the governor’s office, the Controlling Board has the final say over some of the state’s larger spending requests.

Stinziano to be Honored at Screening of Dog by Dog

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- State Rep. Michael Stinziano is being honored by Ohio Voters for Companion Animals for his work against "puppy mills" and against animal cruelty.

Ohio Voters for Companion Animals is partnering with Rescue Me Ohio and 5414 Productions to host a screening of "Dog by Dog," a documentary about "puppy mills," this Wednesday, October 14, at the Drexel Theatre, 2254 East Main Street, in Bexley, OH.

The Columbus screening will be proceeded by a VIP Reception from 6:30-7:30 PM to honor individuals and groups who have made an impact in the fight against puppy mills and animal cruelty in Ohio, followed by the film's screening from 7:30-9:00 PM.  A Question and Answer with special guests will take place immediately following the screening.

100% of proceeds will benefit educational and advocacy efforts of Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Rescue Me Ohio, and the 5414 Productions DBD Educational Fund!

Premiers of the film around the countryhave been met with high reviews in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Raleigh, Hollywood, Fort Collins, Colo., Denver, and Ames, Iowa. The Ames premiere made history, drawing the largest theater attendance in the country this year for an independent documentary premiere.  Here is a link to a trailer for the film: http://dogbydogdocumentary.com.

“We must do all we can to fight puppy mills in Ohio where profit many times is given priority over the well being of animals,” said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat, whose family lives with two rescue pugs. “Dogs have long been considered ‘man’s best friend’ and deserve to be treated with care and respect.”

At the Statehouse, Stinziano has also worked to recognize service dogs and has sponsored legislation to designate a week in July as "Service Dog Awareness Week," in recognition of the important role that service dogs play in enhancing the lives of citizens with disabilities.

Advisory: Stinziano to Lead Columbus Day Italian Parade

WHO: State Representative Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus)

WHAT: Stinziano has been selected as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Columbus Day Italian Parade. The parade will feature competing high school marching bands, Italian dancers, Santa Maria replicas, and classic cars. This year’s theme is “Friends, Family and Faith.”

Stinziano was chosen to lead the parade because of his family’s “long history in the Italian Catholic faith stretching from Columbus, Ohio back to Old World Italy,” according to parade organizers.

Information about the 2015 Columbus Italian Festival and Parade can be found at http://www.columbusitalianfestival.com/parade orhttps://www.facebook.com/CDIP2015.

WHERE: The parade steps off at Buttles Avenue in the Short North

WHEN: Sunday, October 11, 1:00 p.m.

Reps. LaTourette and Stinziano Announce Formation of Ohio Future Caucus

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- State Representatives Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) have today announced the formation of the Ohio Future Caucus. Working with the Millennial Action Project (MAP), the Ohio Future Caucus will seek to create a bipartisan coalition of political contemporaries in order to bridge the political divide and find common-sense solutions to the state’s biggest issues. 

Reps. LaTourette and Stinziano will co-chair the new caucus and hope to recruit their Millennial Generation colleagues to join them. Both lawmakers have noted the importance of finding common ground and working together across the aisle to put an end to the partisan gridlock that can often stall debate in the Ohio House. 

“I ran for office because, like many of my generation, I am tired of the hyper-partisan atmosphere that dominates our politics and derails important legislation. That is why I am excited to form the Ohio Future Caucus and provide younger members a venue to openly, honestly, and thoughtfully address the issues facing Ohioans without partisan grandstanding. Working together, we can foster an environment of respectful debate that can only improve our legislative efforts,” said Rep. LaTourette. 

“The Ohio Future Caucus offers the General Assembly an opportunity to open new lines of dialogue to find answers to some of Ohioans greatest concerns,” said Stinziano. “The residents of Ohio deserve a legislative body that is willing to set politics aside and work together to find common-sense solutions, and the Ohio Future Caucus presents us the opportunity to do just that.” 

The Ohio Future Caucus will be partnered with MAP, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization activating young legislators across the country and in Congress to foster cooperative, future-focused leadership. In addition to the bipartisan Congressional Future Caucus, the first caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives for younger members, eight other states have formed or are in the process of forming their own Future Caucuses. California, Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Texas have already created Future Caucuses. 

"A new generation of policymakers at the state level are moving beyond partisanship and forging solutions to the nation's most important challenges," said MAP President and Co-Founder, Steven Olikara. "We are thrilled to welcome the Ohio Future Caucus to our growing movement. Their fresh leadership represents the future of our country." 

With the 131st General Assembly well underway, Reps. LaTourette and Stinziano will be seeking out their peers in the Ohio House to join the caucus and begin formulating their legislative agenda.

Join Rep. Stinziano During October Community Hours

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rep. Michael Stinziano will hold community hours next month across the district to hear the issues and concerns of constituents. '

The meetings offer the opportunity for citizens to tell Rep. Stinziano directly what is important to them and how he can help in his work at the statehouse.

“Significant issues confront this diverse community every day. I want to hear in person from my constituents about what concerns them as we work together to make our neighborhoods the best places to live, work and raise a family in Ohio.”

Friday, October 9th at the Parsons Library

845 Parsons Avenue

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Wednesday, October 14th at Spinelli Deli in the Short North

767 Neil Avenue

9:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Monday, October 19th at the Grandview Library

1685 W 1st Avenue

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Friday, October 23rd at the Franklinton Library

1061 W Town Street

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Monday, October 26th at the Bexley Starbucks

2450 E. Main Street

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Statement of Rep. Stinziano on the Report of the Energy Mandates Study Commmittee

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The following statement may be attributed in full or in part to Representative Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus), a member of the Energy Mandates Study Committee (EMSC), on the report issued today by the committee.

“Today’s report issued by the Energy Mandates Study Committee presents recommendations that ignore benefits to electric consumers, Ohio’s environment and economy, and the public’s health and well-being resulting from the passage of S.B. 310.”

“By suggesting that Ohio indefinitely continue S.B. 310’s freeze on Ohio’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, and peak demand reduction standards, the majority members of the EMSC have looked past expert testimony from witnesses such as the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, and the American Wind Energy Association who attested to the positive impacts these standards had on the state until frozen by S.B. 310.”

“In contrast, Representative Jack Cera and I, the House Democratic members of the EMSC, suggested recommendations to the committee on September 3 which included the reinstatement of the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and peak demand reduction standards, the creation of new Ohio jobs in the energy sector, and the protection of Ohio families from run-away “riders” applied to utility bills.”

“The General Assembly should enact a common-sense solution that restores the economic and environmental benefits Ohioans received prior to the implementation of S.B. 310.”

Stinziano: Ohio State University to Receive State Funds for Research

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State University will get $141,000 in state funds to help support university research on computers thanks to State Controlling Board approval Monday, state Rep. Michael Stinziano said.

 "I am very pleased that The Ohio State University will receive this critical funding that will enable it to continue to do cutting-edge research," said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat. 

The state award is part of the so-called Action Fund, which allows Ohio's universities to compete more effectively for federal or other peer-reviewed research support by providing matching funds for university research proposals that include capital equipment or facilities. 

According to state records, the OSU Action Fund project is titled "Infrastructure for Energy-Aware High Performance Computing (HPC) and Data Analytics on Heterogeneous Systems."  

The project will acquire equipment that will help Ohio stay competitive in the field of information technology. The total cost of the project is $1,181,481.00 which will take a combination of state funds, local funds and $899,481.00 in a National Science Foundation award to acquire the equipment. The equipment will be housed in the Campus Chemical Instrument Center (CCIC) at OSU. The HPC equipment will increase collaboration between Department of Computer Science and Engineering, according to state records. 

Made up of six state lawmakers and a representative of the governor's office, the State Controlling Board has the final say on some of the state's large spending projects.

Dispatch Editorial - Elect to Start Tough Task Early

Ohio’s aging voting machines soon will need replacing

Friday September 18, 2015 1:47 AM

With the 2016 presidential election more than a year away, Ohio officials are starting to plan for 2018 and beyond. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle are undertaking the initiative in a responsible manner, assuring Ohioans that the state’s voting machines are in shape to handle next year’s election but acknowledging that this equipment will need to be replaced relatively soon after that.

Planning for how to select and pay for that equipment needs to start now.

Ohio’s voting machines are 11 years old, which means they’re within their last few years of what’s considered their generally accepted lifespan. This does not mean they are in danger of breaking down; they are regularly put through rigorous tests. But it does mean that, recognizing the often time-consuming process of making such decisions and given the microscope that the voting process in Ohio is under, the process needs to get underway.

That already is happening to some degree.

The Ohio Association of Election Officials and county commissioners have been working in a joint committee for more than a year to explore new voting-machine options. Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s top official overseeing elections, has talked of securing federal funding to help pay for the machines’ replacement. But there is no guaranteed, dedicated funding source at this point for a project that will cost millions of dollars.

So the legislature needs to discuss potential funding, as it recently did in providing $13 million in state money to replace paper voter ledgers with electronic pollbooks across the state. That move will speed check-in at polls and pay for itself in reduced paper and personnel costs.

Rep. Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, a former director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, has called on House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Keith Faber to study options to update Ohio’s voting equipment. This would be in addition to the continuing work being done by the joint committee of elections officials and county commissioners.

Stinziano correctly notes that whenever the subject of elections and voting rules comes up, it can turn into a partisan battle. Stinziano, who has a history of working in a bipartisan fashion in the Republican-controlled legislature, is careful to steer away from that. He agrees with Husted that Ohio’s voting machines are aging but should be fine through at least the 2016 election.

This is a welcome levelheadedness compared with an alarmist report released on Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. The organization, which has previously stoked liberal fears of “voter suppression” with questionable statistics, suggested that aging machines in swing states such as Ohio are at risk of failures and crashes leading to “long lines and lost votes” simply because they are more than 10 years old.

Unfortunately, this kind of scare talk is likely to increase both from within and outside of Ohio as next year’s election draws closer. State officials should do everything they can to ensure that the selection process for the state’s next generation of voting systems is open, bipartisan and free of conflicts of interest.

Dispatch Editorial - Troubled Waters: Cities Right to Sue

State law endangers their ability to prevent tainted reservoirs

Thursday September 17, 2015 5:39 AM

As five Ohio cities sue to overturn a hastily passed state law that threatens the safety of drinking water for millions, the legislature should fix its mistake rather than risk a legal rebuke.

A provision slipped into the new state budget — at the 11th hour and without proper debate — essentially allows neighbors along rivers and reservoirs to trespass, mow and alter publicly owned lands. This ill-considered permission could justify about any change on these buffer strips, some as wide as 400 feet.

Trees blocking a waterfront view? Chop ’em down. Tall grasses ruining a manicured lawn? Mow. Want easier access to the waterfront? Build steps.

Cities aren’t being unreasonable in blocking such intrusions. These dense vegetation strips filter pollutants from runoff and prevent erosion.

The strips “are integral to plaintiff’s ability to provide safe, clean, healthy and potable drinking water from drinking-water reservoirs that they own,” says a lawsuit filed last week in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Columbus, Westerville, Akron, Barberton and Lima ask the court to block the law from taking effect on Sept. 29.

It’s disappointing that the legislature opted to pander to homeowners who resent that their view or access to the water is blocked. They paid for waterfront property because they want to see water.

But here’s the catch: They don’t own that property. The public does. And they aren’t entitled to alter property they don’t own.

Columbus has, in fact, won a dozen lawsuits against owners who infringed on public lands.

If this law stands, what’s to stop neighbors from “fixing” other public properties?

Imagine a neighbor whose backyard faces the Whetstone Park of Roses deciding to remove park trees blocking his view of the roses, or yanking out plants drawing bees.

It’s hard to imagine how such a bad idea made its way into law, especially since barely a month had passed since Columbus had warned pregnant women and babies to avoid drinking water that, at the time, was tainted with nitrates from lawn and field runoff.

Less than a year earlier, 500,000 residents in Toledo were forced to find bottled water after a toxic algae bloom formed over its water intake pipe from Lake Erie.

Cutting down a single tree or clearing a spot of land might not seem to create a public hazard. But it becomes the proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” when hundreds clear land, allowing yard treatments and urban runoff to seep into the water supply.

Without these buffer zones, residents can look forward to more stinky water and higher bills: It is costly to test and treat affected water, and those costs are passed onto ratepayers.

This ill-thought provision is objectionable on a number of other fronts: It violates the state constitution’s single-subject rule. It is vague. And, as the lawsuit notes, it calls for an “ unconstitutional taking” of property by private landowners without a “legitimate government purpose.”

Two Columbus Democratic state representatives, David Leland and Michael Stinziano, have introduced House Bill 304 to undo this unfortunate provision. The General Assembly should quickly embrace this opportunity to protect Ohioans and spare taxpayers of five cities the cost of appealing lawmakers’ misstep.