- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The new leader of the state House wants to address high school graduation rates, workforce development and other issues as part of a six-year plan announced Monday as the General Assembly began its next session.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger said he plans to work with members of his Republican majority to solidify specifics for his Ohio 2020 proposal. He said the idea was to encourage representatives to think beyond the two-year session.

“As we look forward, we need to plan for the future more than just quickly legislating,” Rosenberger told reporters. “It has to have buy-in from the entire caucus to work.”

Rosenberger, of Clarksville in southwest Ohio, replaced longtime Rep. William Batchelder, who retired last month due to term limits. At 33, Rosenberger is one of the state’s youngest House speakers and the chamber’s first Asian-American leader. He was first elected to the House in 2010.

Rosenberger presides over a GOP caucus that deepened its majority this past fall, winning a record 65 seats in the 99-member House. Republicans continue to hold 23 of 33 seats in the Senate, led by Sen. Keith Faber, of Celina.

The two-year state budget will top lawmakers’ to-do lists.

Republican Gov. John Kasich will lay out his spending proposal next month. He is expected to push for continued support of an expansion of Medicaid, the safety net health care program for low-income residents. In 2013, Kasich moved forward with extending Medicaid eligibility under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. But he will need legislative approval to continue to fund it.

Obama’s law calls for Washington to pay the full cost of the Medicaid expansion through 2016, gradually phasing down to 90 percent.

The continuance of Medicaid expansion faces uncertainty in the Republican-dominated Legislature, which balked when the governor sought approval in his last two-year spending plan. The state’s Controlling Board appropriated the funds, not the full Legislature.

Rosenberger said he remained opposed to the Medicaid expansion. Asked whether he would allow the issue to come to the House floor, he told reporters he would discuss the issue with his caucus.

Kasich said Monday that he looked forwarded to working with legislative leaders this session.

“We’ve made great progress together in the past four years and now it’s time to build on that momentum and take it to the next level by helping more Ohioans share in our state’s growing prosperity and opportunity,” Kasich said in a written statement.

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Online: https://www.legislature.state.oh.us

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