With 2020 coming to an end, now-former Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof has left a conservative legacy on a broad section of issues, from education, and criminal justice, to tax and regulatory policy.

Sen. Obhof led on regulatory reform that would prevent the growth of the regulatory state, and eliminate 30% of state regulations currently in place. Late last session, the final plank of that plan passed the House in Ohio Sb1.

Senator Obhof stated “This is perhaps the most sweeping regulatory reform in modern Ohio history…Now, we all know that some regulations are necessary for health and safety and the environment, but many of these restrictions create unnecessary hurdles for Ohio’s small businesses. We don’t need 100,000 more regulations than other states.”

On school choice, Senate bill 89 will expand the ability for parents to put their children in the best school possible through voucher programs. This bill offers low income scholarships to underserved communities. Obhof championed the bill and was a key player in ensuring it passed.

Under Obhof’s leadership, the Senate enacted multiple occupational licensing reforms. Ohio in 2019 had over 18 percent of their work force licensed in order to operate. SB 255 reduced this number dramatically, allowing fewer barriers to entry in competition across many industries. This served as a blessing particularly for low income residents as licensing fees and costs of education can keep those eager to compete out of the game entirely. According to a report from the Institute for Justice in 2019, Ohio Was losing almost 68,000 and $6 billion in inefficiency due to these burdensome licensing hurdles.

Obhof has also helped protect Ohio taxpayers from aggressive tax increases, and found ways to trim burdens. “Let me save you some time on this. There is 0% chance @OhioSenateGOP will raise income taxes,” Obhof tweeted last year in response to progressive groups.

On criminal justice reform, the Obhof-led Senate saw passage of a significant drug sentencing reform bill, SB3. The Senate put in the hard work of adjusting the bill over nearly two years, which led to its overwhelming passage. Unfortunately, despite the House likely having the votes to pass the bill as well, leadership ducked holding a floor vote.

With a House chamber in turmoil following an FBI investigation of one speaker, and forcing his resignation, which only gave way to Larry Householder and his ensuing mass bribery scandal, the Ohio Senate has had to often stand alone in putting taxpayers first.

Senator Obhof’s leadership and accomplishments have kept hard-earned dollars in the pockets of Ohio families, and made the state a leader on licensing and regulatory reform, so it is now easier to work and do business in the state. There is more to be done, and if both chambers follow this example, more conservative reform will get done.