‘Tis The Season To Be Thankful

INTRODUCTION

It’s the best time of the year! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry (early) Christmas — we hope your holiday was incredible.

This Thanksgiving season I had the pleasure of spending the day with family and friends, gathered around my family’s dinner table eating the traditional favorites and talking about what we are thankful for. One of the many traditions my family has is that right after the Thanksgiving Day meal, we go outside and play a large game of street hockey. Although I realize that every family probably doesn’t play street hockey, we all have wonderful traditions and reasons to be thankful.

The past month has been incredibly busy in Columbus. We dropped three new bills, voted the Small Business Funding Act (HB 312) out of the house with 92-0 unanimous support, and had our first hearing of the Tax Code Streamlining & Correction Act (HB 197) in the Senate, among other things.

Enjoy reading through this newsletter about bills, policy, and how our office is fighting to be your voice in Columbus. As always, thank you for allowing me to represent you.

— Jena Powell

Crowdfunding Bill Unanimously Passes Ohio House

COLUMBUS – Representative Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) announces the unanimous passing of her Small Business Funding Act, HB 312, which passed 92-0 on Tuesday, November 19th.

Rep. Powell says, “As a business owner and entrepreneur myself, I know the challenges that business owners in our state face. 82% of business failure is due to a lack of capital.”

“When we remove barriers for raising needed capital through crowdfunding, we tell business owners that government will not be an additional barrier to fulfilling their American dream in our communities,” continues Powell.

HB 312 will allow businesses in Ohio to raise up to $5 million per year through intrastate equity crowdfunding. Ohioans will be able to invest in Ohio businesses, and Ohio businesses will have a more efficient option for raising capital through crowdfunding.

License Reciprocity Press Conference

On November 19, we held a press conference with Representative George Lang (R-West Chester), Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), and Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) to unveil companion bills that will implement full occupational licensing reciprocity in Ohio.

Organizations present included The Goldwater Institute from Arizona, The Buckeye Institute, NFIB Ohio, Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, and the Foundation for Government Accountability.

I am on a mission to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation, and this piece of legislation is moving Ohio a step in the right direction by removing barriers to employment.

Part of solving the workforce shortage in Ohio is helping people enter the workforce faster, and encouraging people who already hold licenses in other states to want to move to and/or work in Ohio. After the lengthy process and the financial investment that people have already gone through in another state to receive their license, they don’t want to have to add to that an extensive wait in Ohio. Current law discourages qualified individuals from moving to our state, filling needed jobs, and investing in our communities.

We know that Ohio is an incredible place to live. We want people to be able to move here and invest in our communities. One of the barriers to this happening is the fact that Ohio currently does not recognize out-of-state licenses. If we recognize out-of-state licenses, we will send a bold message to the rest of the country that Ohio is open for business – come and practice your trade in our communities.

I was delighted to have the Franklin Monroe fourth grade class come and visit the Statehouse last week! Remember, you too can join our office at the Statehouse for tours and to watch a House floor session. Reach out to our office to schedule your visit!

WHERE WAS JENA IN NOVEMBER?

November 3 …… Spoke at 40 Days for Life Rally

November 4 ….. Constituent Office Hours

November 5 …… Voted!

November 6 …… Press Conference with Attorney General Yost on Human Trafficking Legislation

November 7 …… Spoke at Human Trafficking Awareness Panel in Troy

November 10 …… Presented Commendations to Veterans at the Covenant at Sugar Grove Church

November 11 …… Veteran’s Day Parade in Darke County

November 13 …… Spoke to Young CPAs

November 19 …… Press Conference on License Reciprocity

November 19 …… HB 312, Small Business Funding Act, passes the House

November 28 …… Celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends!

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read through this newsletter. I hope it has served as a helpful update to you regarding we are doing in Columbus and throughout the district.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions at 614-466-8114 or Rep80@ohiohouse.gov.

Jena Powell

GREAT NEWS: ‘The Small Business Crowdfunding Act’ Passed the House

GREAT NEWS: ‘The Small Business Crowdfunding Act‘ Passed the House on Wednesday.

As a business owner and entrepreneur myself, I know the challenges that business owners in our state face. Inadequate funding is one of the top reasons businesses fail.

As a state, we need to remove excessive regulations and allow small business to thrive.

One in two workers in the private sector either work for or run a small business, and small business employers make up 99.7% of all employers in the United States. In order to foster an environment where small businesses can thrive, we have to remove unnecessary barriers to success. 

HB 312 does that.

This bill will allow Ohioans to raise up to 5 million in intrastate equity crowdfunding that can be used to start , grow, or expand their businesses.

Below is sponsor testimony presented to the Financial Institutions Committee

Good morning Chairman Jordan, Vice Chair Hillyer, Ranking Member Crossman, and members of the Financial Institutions Committee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present sponsor testimony on H.B. 312 – the Small Business Funding Act.

I’m on a mission to make Ohio the most business friendly state in the nation.

The Small Business Crowdfunding Act was passed by both House and Senate in the last General Assembly, when it ran out of time.

H.B. 312 will allow Ohioans to raise up to $5 million in intrastate equity crowdfunding that can be used to start, grow, or expand their businesses.

The Small Business Act accomplishes four main objectives:

  • Helps businesses have a strong start in Ohio by allowing businesses to raise money in the state through crowdfunding
  • Provides Ohio businesses with customers and loyal advocates who want to support and grow businesses and are financially invested in their success
  • It provides Ohio businesses with a more efficient and an alternative option for raising capital through the option of crowdfunding
  • Has safeguards in place to protect Ohio consumers, and provides penalties for those who conduct deceptive acts

If we pass the Small Business Funding Act, we will save small businesses money by allowing them to bypass costly and timely SEC securities filings. This bill will provide Ohioans with another way to raise capital to start, grow, or expand their small businesses in Ohio.

Some of the guidelines are as follows:

  • The business must have 80% of its assets in the state of Ohio.
  • 80% of the money must be spent in Ohio.
  • Only Ohio residents can purchase securities.
  • An investor is limited to $10,000 contribution per year (unless they are a federally accredited investor).
  • All “OhioInvests offerings” must be made through a website operated by a portal operator, who is required to provide disclosures to investors, and records to the Division of Securities.
  • The cap for how much a small business can raise through intrastate crowdfunding per year is $5 million

Ohio, and Ohio small business owners, will benefit from this bill because it provides them with a more efficient way of funding their businesses, lowers Ohio small business costs by providing an alternative to burdensome regulation, encourages investment in Ohio business by Ohioans, and sends a strong message to neighboring states that Ohio is open for business and we want small businesses to find a home in our great state.

Thank you, and I am ready to answer any questions from the committee at this time.

 

PRESS CONFERENCE: Occupational Licensing Reciprocity Reform


Last week Rep. George Lang (R) and Rep. Jena Powell (R) had the pleasure of unveiling legislation to allow reciprocity in Ohio for out-of-state license holders. 

This year, Arizona became the first state to broadly recognize out-of-state licenses. Ohio can become the second state in the nation to do so with this legislation.

Part of solving the workforce shortage in Ohio is helping people enter the workforce faster, and encouraging people who already hold licenses in other states to want to move to and/or work in Ohio.

After the lengthy process and the financial investment that people have already gone through in another state to receive their license, they don’t want to have to add to that an extensive wait in Ohio. Current law discourages qualified individuals from moving to our state, filling needed jobs, and investing in our communities. 

We know that Ohio is an incredible place to live. We want people to be able to move here and invest in our communities. One of the barriers to this happening is the fact that Ohio currently does not recognize out-of-state licenses.  If we recognize out-of-state licenses, we will send a bold message to the rest of the country that Ohio is open for business. Come and practice your trade in our communities.

We can be on the leading edge and solving the workforce shortage in our state by passing this critical legislation.

To read more check the Dayton Daily News article here.

Rep. Powell Sponsor Testimony: Cosmetology Reform Act

Rep. Powell Sponsor Testimony: Cosmetology Reform Act

Below is sponsor testimony given to the House State and Local Government Committee

Chairman Wiggam, Vice Chair Stephens, Ranking Member Kelly, and members of the House State and Local Government Committee, thank you for the opportunity to present sponsor testimony on HB 399.

The Cosmetology Reform Act will comprehensively reform Ohio’s occupational licensures as well as cosmetology and barber laws, and seeks to make Ohio the national model in this area.

This bill seeks to: (1) focus on cosmetology student success in entering the beauty industry with less debt and greater ability to repay student loans; (2) facilitate a continuous workforce development pipeline for salons; (3) reduce the amount of unnecessary regulations placed on members of the cosmetology industry, and make it easier for Ohioans to begin or expand their business in the state. From small business owners to aspiring cosmetologists, mostly women and minorities, this legislation would remove significant barriers to success.

This legislation is written to accomplish the following goals:

  1. License mobility/reciprocity – Ohio is open for business.  The license reciprocity language creates license mobility and facilitates movement between different states for a more mobile workforce.  It strives to minimize the tendency of stylists to drop out of the industry or go underground due to a lengthy license transfer process, and enables multi-state employers to relocate employees, increasing their career opportunities.  Three states, Arizona, Montana, and Pennsylvania, recently passed legislation to remove barriers to work for all active licensees from other states to begin working within days, not months when moving into those states.
  2. Allows on-demand scheduling and working outside a salon – Several beauty industry licensees need to provide on-site cosmetology services for weddings, films and special occasions around the state outside of a bricks and mortar salon.  Our legislation ensures that the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board (OSCBB) can ensure such services can be performed on-site and with reasonable requirements for licensees to ensure public safety.
  3. Lowers state mandated licensure hour requirements. Lower the Ohio requirement for cosmetology licensure hours from 1,500 to 1,000; reduce hair designer licensure hours from 1,200 to 800; and reduces barber hours from 1,800 to 1,000.  Independent research and successful models in New York, Massachusetts, and now Vermont and Texas, show there is no justification for requiring more than 1,000 hours of education for cosmetology or barber licensure.
  4. Provides Licensees with 1,500 hours of training an Intermediate License – This change ensures that all licensees that have completed 1,500 by the effective date of this bill will receive an intermediate license.  It also provides public and private schools the opportunity to establish a higher level of training for future licensees as an elective course without being state required hours.
  5. Creates a cosmetology apprentice process for licensure – Several private schools of cosmetology have closed their doors in the last 4 years.  This is leading to significant concern for small salons across the state to ensure a steady stream of new licensees are becoming licensed in Ohio.  The apprenticeship program in our bill is modeled after more than 20 states, like Wisconsin, Tennessee and Alabama.  This program will provide salon owners the opportunity to become a provider and future cosmetology licensees the ability to work and earn a wage while working toward licensure rather than taking on student loan debt.
  6. Sets schools of cosmetology up for success and consistency across state lines – One area focuses on requiring pre-graduate testing for public and private school students.  Two states, Arizona and Illinois, recently enacted such changes.  This change not only gives students the opportunity to get remedial training if they fail, but allows graduates to be licensed immediately upon graduation, moving into the workforce sooner to earn wages, pay taxes, and begin repaying loans.  In addition, the bill authorizes distance learning to provide maximum flexibility for students to learn when and where convenient and lowers the cost for schools traditional on-site, bricks and mortar classrooms.

As most of you have heard me say, I am on a mission to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation. One of the biggest steps we can take in that direction is to stop overregulating individuals in our state. It is time we move forward to make Ohio a more attractive place for individuals to live, work, play, and raise families in our communities.

Thank you again for the opportunity to present HB 399, the Cosmetology Reform Act, and I am happy to answer any questions from the Committee at this time.

Rep. Powell Introduces Cosmetology Reform Act

Representative Powell (R-Arcanum) Wednesday filed House Bill 399 – Cosmetology Licensing Reform Legislation.

Rep. Powell says, “I am on a mission to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation, and one of the biggest steps we can take in that direction is to stop overregulating individuals in our state.”

“As a state, it is time we move forward from the past policies of overregulation, and move forward to make Ohio a more attractive place for individuals to live, work, play, and raise families in our communities,” continues Powell.

H.B. 399 will lower the state mandated licensure hour requirements from 1,500 to 1,000 for cosmetologists, from 1,200 to 800 for hair designers, and from 1,800 to 1,000 for barbers. It will authorize distance learning for cosmetology school students, and allow on-demand scheduling and working outside a salon to increase flexibility and training experience for students.

As always, if you have any questions about this or any other state government concern, please reach out to our office at 614-466-8114 or Rep80@ohiohouse.gov.

Ohio House Passes the “Tax Code Streamlining and Correction Act”

Ohio House Passes the “Tax Code Streamlining and Correction Act”

COLUMBUS— State Representatives Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) today announced the Ohio House passage of House Bill 197, “Tax Code Streamlining and Corrections Act”; HB 197 makes over 100 changes to update the laws governing taxation. The legislation makes our tax code accurate and clear by fixing errors.

HB 197 updates the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) sections by addressing typographical errors, incorrect cross-references, removing obsolete sections, and rearranging organizational defects.

“The Tax Code Streamlining and Corrections Act is not a flashy bill, but corrects over 100 errors in the tax code,” said Powell. “Today, with a single bill, the Ohio House is fixing decades of accumulated mistakes and errors embedded into our tax laws…mistakes which undermine our legal code.”

“Ohioans and businesses will have a better opportunity to prosper with a clear and accurate tax code,” said Merrin.

This bill has garnered support from the Ohio Society of CPAs, the County Treasurers Association of Ohio, the County Auditors Association of Ohio, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

HB 197 passed the Ohio House unanimously and now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

For more information, contact Rep. Powell’s office at 614-466-8114 or Rep80@ohiohouse.gov or Rep. Merrin’s office at 614-466-1731 or Rep47@ohiohouse.gov

Monthly Constituent Liaison Office Hours

Rep. Jena Powell will again be sending a constituent liaison from her Columbus office to be in-district this upcoming Monday, September 9th. No appointments are necessary – individuals and families can feel free to show up and talk to the liaison about any government questions or concerns you may have.

“I know government can be hard to navigate alone,” says Powell. “Our office’s constituent liaison does a wonderful job of helping you work through specific issues. If you want to meet with me personally, as always call our office and we’ll set up a time.”

Monday, November 4th, a constituent liaison will be at the Troy-Miami Public Library in Troy from 10am-11:30am. Rep. Powell’s constituent liaison will then be at the Arcanum Public Library in Arcanum from 12pm-1:30pm on Monday.

To schedule a personal meeting with Rep. Powell, or if you have any state government concerns you can give our office a call at 614-466-8114 or email Rep80@ohiohouse.gov.

Sponsor Testimony on H.B. 196 – Unjust [501(c)(3)] Fitness Center Tax Act

What is H.B. 196? H.B. 196 corrects a 1992 error that mistakenly added sales tax to non-profit fitness center memberships here in Ohio. This Act will solve this problem by exempting 501(c)(3) fitness center memberships from sales tax, saving Ohioans $10 million dollars.

This Tuesday, Representative Powell gave sponsor testimony in the Ways & Means Committee. Watch her testimony here:

Good Afternoon Chairman Merrin, Vice Chair LaRe, Ranking Member Rogers, and members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide sponsor testimony this afternoon on House Bill 196. This legislation will align Ohio with nearly every other state by removing the sales tax burden from non-profit fitness memberships.
This issue first began in 1992, when these memberships were seemingly accidentally included in a tax code revision. This change increased the tax burden of Ohioans seeking a healthier lifestyle by taxing facilities like the YMCA and Jewish Community Centers for the first time. Ohio became one of only five states in the nation to tax non-profit fitness memberships.
At the time the mistake was discovered, many legislators on both sides of the aisle opposed this new tax. My bill would remove this tax and return Ohio non-profit fitness memberships to full tax exempt status, as they should be as 501(c)(3)s. Taxing memberships is unjust and runs contrary to the YMCAs’ charitable nonprofit purpose. The state exempts other 501(c)(3)s from sales tax, and why should non-profit fitness centers be any different.
Eliminating this mistaken sales tax on non-profits will amount to a tax cut of less than $10 million, which is a small sum for government when compared to the over $23 million in financial assistance to participate in programs that the YMCA provides to all Ohioans.
As a non-profit, YMCAs are not like a for-profit fitness center. YMCAs also provide essential programs to Ohio’s communities, including:
1. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which saves over $2000 per person in healthcare costs;
2. Early childhood education, before and after school care, and summer day camp. The YMCA is Ohio’s and the nation’s largest provider of child care, and our quality programs help children be Kindergarten ready, and prevent the “summer slide.”
Every one of these programs is an investment being made by these community organizations and is an investment that will improve Ohioans lives while saving the state resources. Non-profit organizations operate for the good of the public and provide needed services to more than 750,000 individuals well beyond access to a weight room and treadmills. These organizations provide an incredible array of services and opportunities to our communities.
In Ohio, non-profit gyms play a critical role in helping keep our citizens healthy.
As a state, we do not tax non-profits due to their 501(c)(3) status. It is a mistake that we currently tax memberships to non-profit fitness centers such as the YMCA and Jewish Community Centers. HB 196 will solve this problem by exempting non-profit fitness centers memberships from Ohio sales tax.
Thank you for your support and consideration. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
– Jena Powell

Sponsor & Proponent Testimony for HR 180

On Tuesday, Representative Jena Powell presented sponsor testimony on House Resolution 180 which will declare pornography a public health crisis that perpetuates human trafficking and the abuse of women and minors.
Below please find Representative Powell’s testimony. 11 individuals came to give proponent testimony, and 6 submitted written proponent testimony. For the video of the Health Committee’s 9/17/19 meeting, please start the video at 30 minutes in for Rep. Powell’s testimony.

Chairman Merrin, Vice Chair Manning, Ranking Member Boyd, and Members of the Health Committee, thank you for allowing me to present sponsor testimony today on H.R. 180, a resolution to declare that pornography is creating a public health crisis in relation to the increase in sex trafficking, abuse of women, and minors.
Ohio is the fourth worst state in the United States for human sex trafficking (this is according to statistics compiled by the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the U.S. Marshalls Office).

• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the Trafficking in Persons report, which is created annually by the State Department to document human trafficking in the year prior. He stated, “The United States is the number one consumer of sex worldwide. So we are driving the demand as a society.” At the heart of the human trafficking trade in America is simple economics: Supply and demand.
• Pornography is integral to prostitution and coerced sexual acts, and over half of sex trafficking victims report that they were required to learn and perform according to pornographic media. Please refer if you wish to the study in front of you conducted by psychologist Melissa Farley. There is also a study in front of you from the Northwestern University Law Review discussing how human traffickers force those they have trafficked into pornographic videos as a way to entrap them.
According to a 2016 Barna Group survey, 64% of young people (aged 13-24) proactively seek out pornography weekly.

It is crucial to understand pornography as a form of violence against women. Mainstream pornography consists of socially sanctioned acts of direct violence against women.
• An analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos found that 88% of the scenes contain physical violence against women and in 95% of these scenes, the woman displays a positive or neutral reaction to the violence. You can find the scholarly article which has the results of these analyses in the stack of articles we passed out to you.
UNICEF.org says that pornography increases the demand for commercialized sex, especially with underage girls and boys.

According to the American Psychological Association, the earlier a boy is exposed to pornography the more likely he is to want power over women, and the later a man is exposed to pornography the more likely he is to engage in playboy behavior. Both having negative impact on our community. Pornography shrinks the brain and the brain reacts to pornography similarly to how it reacts to cocaine. You can see the statistics and research found on a University of Nebraska Lincoln chart.
We live in a time of a pornography epidemic, where young children are exposed and addicted to pornography thus causing a myriad of problematic sexual activity (feel free to look at the Times article in the stack which discusses the problems young men are having with ED due to porn), low self-esteem (for both boys and girls as referenced in multiple articles in front of you), negatively impacting brain development (see the Your Brain on Porn article for information on dozens of studies by neuroscientists and scholars about how pornography affects brain development and behavior), etc.
• Men who watch pornography are more likely to believe that women want to be raped, and to include violent acts of aggression and physical violence against women during sex, having been conditioned by pornography to believe these acts are normal and that women like to be choked, raped, etc. Please see the Pornography as a Public Health Issue article we have given you.
• This devaluation of women and children is because of the fact that “when neurologists looked at their brain scans, men’s brains reacted to women as if they were objects, not people.” This is a quote from Dr. Foubert, whose article on the public health harms of pornography is in front of you. His studies, and others, have shown that viewing pornography increases sexual aggression. You may see the article from the Journal of Communication for additional support.

Overall, the factors which compel men and women to enter the pornography industry are the same factors that place individuals at risk for human trafficking. Poverty, abuse, homelessness, and a history of childhood sexual or physical abuse.
• If you go online to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or to view sex trafficking data collected by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, you will see these factors listed as risk factors for trafficking.
• Please also reference the Public Health Harms of Pornography summary of peer-reviewed studies and papers

This resolution will not outlaw pornography – this resolution is bringing awareness to the negative impact that pornography has on society, through its contributions to the demand for trafficked persons, violence against women, men, and minors, and its destruction of the brains as well as families of those individuals who are caught in its addicting web.
We want to promote human flourishing and a health society – we must recognize that this includes pushing against pornography and human trafficking for children and families. This resolution will declare that we in the Ohio House of Representatives, are against human trafficking and the sexual mistreatment of our fellow human beings whether they be women, men, or children. Let us by this resolution encourage families, churches, and businesses on a local level to promote education, prevention, research, and policy changes to confront the proliferation of pornography and human trafficking.

Today is the day to stand up and say enough is enough against the exploitation of women and children in our communities.
I’m happy to take any questions from the committee at this time.

Representative Jena Powell
Ohio’s 80th House District

September: Constituent Liaison In-District Office Hours For State Rep. Jena Powell

Monthly In-District Office Hours

COLUMBUS –
Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) will again be sending a constituent liaison from her Columbus office to be in-district this upcoming Monday, September 9th. No appointments are necessary – individuals and families can feel free to show up and talk to the liaison about any government questions or concerns you may have.

“I know government can be hard to navigate alone,” says Powell. “Our office’s constituent liaison does a wonderful job of helping you work through specific issues. If you want to meet with me personally, as always call our office and we’ll set up a time.”

This Monday, September 9th, a constituent liaison will be at the Troy-Miami Public Library in Troy from 10am-11:30am. Rep. Powell’s constituent liaison will then be at the Arcanum Public Library in Arcanum from 12pm-1:30pm on Monday.

To schedule a personal meeting with Rep. Powell, or if you have any state government concerns you can give our office a call at 614-466-8114 or email Rep80@ohiohouse.gov.