New Speaker Talks Priorities, And A Slowdown In Bringing Broadband To All Of Ohio

The House was back at work this week, tackling two dozen of the more than 120 bills that were still piled up even after last week’s first day of voting following the election of the new Speaker. Before Wednesday’s session, new Speaker Ryan Smith sat down with Statehouse reporters for the first time since taking that position, and talked about his plans and priorities before summer break, before the fall election, and before the end of the year. And right off the top, Smith was asked about the FBI inquiry into former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, which reportedly involves his travel with payday lenders.

A surprise guest stopped by House session this week – former US House Speaker John Boehner.  And Gov. John Kasich celebrated what he says is a huge win with JobsOhio, but warns that while Ohio's job growth this year is outpacing the nation, this trend will be short-lived if leaders take their eye off the ball.

For millions of Ohioans, going online is not just part of life, it’s become a necessity. But for some people, it’s impossible to surf the web because they can’t even get into the virtual water. There are an estimated 300,000 households in rural Ohio with no access to broadband – that’s almost a third of people living in those areas, compared to 2% of urban residents. And 2.1 million Ohio households are served by only one provider. This can be more than just an inconvenience – it can be costly both in terms of money and with lost opportunities in education and economic development. Two representatives from different parties have two complimentary bills that they hope can put some money toward the problem.

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