State Rep. Terry Boose spoke to the Seneca County Republican Party about a wide range of topics including pending legislation in Columbus and his gratitude toward the county.
Boose represented the six eastern townships of the county, but due to redistricting he will be serving in District 57, which covers mostly Lorain and Huron counties.
"Seneca County was great to me," he said. "I wanted more Seneca County, not less. I'm really going to miss Seneca County."
Boose, who grew up on a farm and has advocated for rural Ohio, now will be working for Cleveland suburbs such as Avon and North Ridgeville.
"I feel that I represent rural Ohio," Boose said. "People don't realize how important it is to represent rural Ohio because we're a minority. Even though agriculture is the No. 1 industry, when you come to numbers, we're a minority."
Boose spoke very highly of Seneca County elected officials including State Rep. Rex Damschroder, State Sen. Dave Burke and county commissioner Jeff Wagner.
One of the main topics Boose covered at the meeting was Ohio House Bill 298, which he called "a pretty controversial bill."
"Most of the people consider it defunding Planned Parenthood, which is not at all what it is," Boose said. "The way I look at it is it puts down different layers of who gets money first."
The bill would take about $1.7 million from Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, and according to Planned Parenthood Ohio CEO Stephanie Knight, nearly 100,000 Ohio women who depend on the organization for health care.
Boose said there are 10-15 Planned Parenthood programs in Ohio, and they are mostly located in the state's largest cities. He said the bill is to give more money to local health departments.
"Planned Parenthoods are all in the urban areas, whereas the health departments and health agencies that we're going to fund more heavily are in the rural areas," he said. "Finally we're going to get some bills that are going to serve the rural area. I think that's the heart of Ohio. I'm always going to fight for rural Ohio."
He said the bill is likely to be voted on this week.
Boose also talked about House Bill 601, which would redefine income for cities and municipalities. He said there are 300 ways to define income and what can be taxed in cities and municipalities.
"We are the worst state in the United States as far as how we allow cities to apply an income tax," he said.
He said the bill is trying to simplify the way taxes are collected, but it's going to cost local governments money.
Councilman Jim Roberts said the bill "will be a nightmare for local government."
Boose also talked about House Bill 605, which he called a "rather complicated bill" that would put internet and sweepstakes cafes out of business.
He said the bill would allow the state lottery system to set the rules regarding the cafes, and because they're in competition, the lottery would make it difficult for cafes to stay in business.
"The problem with internet cafes right now is they're kind of falling into some loop holes," he said.
Last year the state put on a moratorium that is supposed to not allow the cafes to open until June 2013, but they are still opening daily, he said. Ohio has more than 800 internet and sweepstakes cafes.
He said the cafes call themselves sweepstakes cafes because sweepstakes are legal in Ohio. He said many fast-food chains use sweepstakes games, and used McDonald's Monopoly sweepstakes as an example.
Boose also addressed a question about the state's Rainy Day Fund.
He said there is $400 million to $500 million in the fund, which is about 0.3 percent of the state's budget. The fund comes from carryover.
In other business at the meeting, Board of Elections Director Janet Leahy announced she is retiring, effective Dec. 31.
Seneca County Republican party is to vote Dec. 4 on its recommendation for Leahy's successor. The four board members are to vote on who will be her replacement.
Leahy said her recommendation for the position is Donna Theis, who has worked at the board for 15 months.
"I feel like I'm a good asset to the office, and I'm a team player," Theis said.