Ohio lawmakers are taking the rest of the year off before coming back to the Statehouse in 2020. Some of the top leaders in the House and Senate say they have some New Year's resolutions when they return.
Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) says criminal drug sentencing reform is one of the most important pieces of legislation they'll work on next year. But he also says the state could do a better job at deregulating the process of getting licenses for certain occupations.
"Too much red tape, too much regulation and isn't as market friendly and as people friendly as it could be and I think it's important that over the next 12 months we put people over paperwork," says Obhof.
He notes there are bills in the Senate and House that would recognize occupational licenses from other states.
More than 400 bills currently sit in the House for 2020 and more than 200 are in the Senate.
House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says her broad approach to the new year is to make sure their caucus is more aware of the impact their agenda has on the people of Ohio.
House Democrats held town halls around the state to gather more input from constituents. Sykes says a major message they received from voters was a discontent with state government, with the perception that state legislators are there to push their own agenda.
"If you're a legislator who do you actually work for? And so we heard very specific ideas, we've heard global ideas but I think there's some trust building that needs to happen between elected representatives in state government and the people that we serve.," Sykes says.
Sykes said one specific issue is an increase gun regulations, which she says many Ohioans want, but Republican leaders for the most part have not supported.
House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) ended the final House session of 2019 touting the amount of bipartisan bills they passed out of their chamber. He says they plan to continue looking at pieces of legislation that have support from lawmakers across the aisle.