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Hoops reviews recent state legislation

The Ohio legislature is working to address many issues, but more and more of them are due to the federal government, according to one local legislator.

Rep. James Hoops, R-Napoleon, of the 81st District, spoke Friday at the Bryan Rotary Club.

“As a legislator, never did I think I’d be dealing with some of the issues that are currently down there (in Columbus) that we’re dealing with, not only on a state level, but also on the federal level,” Hoops told club members.

He added state legislators are being encouraged more and more by constituents to address problems that are being caused from action taken by the federal government.

Hoops pointed to legislation that is currently being discussed at the state level for Ohio to become a part of a convention of states that could be called to amend the U.S. constitution. He said 34 states are required to pass legislation calling for the convention, with nearly 20 already having done so.

“Basically, the concern out there is how the federal budget is running away,” Hoops said. “I mean, we’re up to like $35 trillion right now in debt.”

He explained if such a convention is called, each state would send a delegate to discuss issues decided on ahead of time. One of those likely would be a balanced federal budget.

Other issues that might be addressed by a convention would be term limits for federal legislators as well as federal regulations that have a negative impact on states.

Hoops also talked about accomplishments of the state legislature recently, including tax cuts, a fair funding plan for schools and school choice.

Future energy needs and a diversified portfolio are among ongoing issues that need addressed.

“The concern out there is whether or not we have enough energy for the future,” Hoops said.

Housing is another issue that needs addressed, and Hoops commended the Williams County Port Authority for its efforts to increase housing in the county.

“They’re doing a great job, they’re very involved in with what’s happening up here,” Hoops said. “They see the need up here, and this is a need all over the state.”

He added a study has estimated Ohio needs 400,000 new housing units to meet the need.

Hoops said property taxes are also being looked at by the state legislature, adding the recent spike in home values has helped increase valuation prices of property in the state, leading to higher property taxes.

“We don’t want to see people being taxed out of their homes,” Hoops said, adding a committee has been created to study the issue.

There are two bills in the state legislature dealing with the death penalty, one to eliminate it and the other to allow Ohio to use a particular gas to execute death row inmates. Hoops said this is an emotional issue for both sides.

“I think it’s something that we have to have as a tool, but we need to make sure that if that individual is in that type of situation that that person actually did it,” Hoops said.

He also said the state continues to work on legislation to handle recreational marijuana which was passed by state issue at the end of last year.

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