Making student-athletes safer: Butler County legislator’s bill moves closer to governor signature

Lakota West High School trainer Carlee Shafer tends to a player during last fall’s football season. The school’s athletic training program has won national recognition from an athletic trainers’ association. PROVIDED/JENNY WALTERS
Lakota West High School trainer Carlee Shafer tends to a player during last fall’s football season. The school’s athletic training program has won national recognition from an athletic trainers’ association. PROVIDED/JENNY WALTERS

Officials say Ohio made its student-athletes safer on Wednesday when the General Assembly passed a bill that allows athletic trainers to do more on the sidelines of games and practices.

The bill jointly introduced by Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., is the second to be enrolled from the desk of a Butler County lawmaker. Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., had Senate Bill 13, which reforms contract laws in Ohio and was signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in February. It was the first piece of legislation signed by the governor during this General Assembly.

The governor has since signed dozens of bills this calendar year, and Hall expects House Bill 176 to be one of the next. Hall has introduced 10 bills so far (he has three more he intends to introduce soon), and HB 176 is his first to go to DeWine.

“To get a bill done in 10 months is something I need to really appreciate and reflect on, especially under these times that we are in, with vaccines mandates and mask mandates being the topic of conversation, to get another piece of legislation through the process, through both chambers is really special,” Hall said. “I’m very excited to have the governor sign it.”

House Bill 176 received near-unanimous support by state lawmakers ― Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg was the lone lawmaker to vote against the bill ― that would “modernizes the practice act for Ohio’s athletic trainers in order to better reflect current practice and changes in athletic training education and training.”

The bill, which was jointly sponsored by Hall and Rep. Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Twp., allows licensed athletic trainers the option to enter into a collaboration agreement with a physician or podiatrist. The athletic trainer can provide an “athletic training diagnosis,” meaning he or she would be able to examine or assess symptoms by a student-athlete to establish a cause and nature of the issue and establish a plan of care for that issue “within the scope of athletic training,” according to the bill.

An “athletic training diagnosis” does not equate to or include a medical diagnosis, according to the bill.

Hall, a freshman lawmaker, said House Bill 230, a data privacy bill, could be his next legislative win. He anticipates being voted out of the House Technology and Innovation Committee in the next couple of weeks.

Hall also has three other bill ideas ready to be introduced, “but we’ve really been working behind the scenes to try to get them ready.”

Lang has matched Hall in the number of bills introduced and has a second, Senate Bill 134, headed for consideration in the House. That bill, called the Business Fairness Act, allows businesses that are required to limit or cease operations health or executive orders due to a pandemic, epidemic or bioterrorism event to remain open as long as they observe imposed safety requirements.

Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, has introduced seven bills this General Assembly, several of which are bipartisan efforts.

“I have more legislation than ever because there are more problems than ever,” said Carruthers.

She introduced House Bill 3, the domestic violence bill with Rep. Janine Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, known as Aisha’s Law, and recently introduced a second bill with Boyd to establish patient or resident protection advisory boards at hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“I have always reached out to my constituents to get a feel for what their issues have been but in the last few months, it has been an excellent dialogue both ways,” she said. “Luckily, I don’t need much sleep.”

Some of the bills introduced by Butler County lawmakers have been controversial. Rep. Jennifer Gross, R-West Chester Twp., introduce the controversial House Bill 248, which among other things prohibits mandatory vaccinations and vaccine status disclosures. It’s received six Health Committee hearings and hundreds of people in support and against the bill.

Hall has introduced a couple of bills that’s received mixed reviews, including House Bill 99 which would allow armed school personnel. He said they have been working from a substitute bill and hopes to have that go from the Criminal Justice Committee for a House floor vote in the next couple of weeks.


Here are the bills local lawmakers have been working on in the 134th General Assembly:

Rep. Sara Caurrthers, R-Hamilton:

H. B. No. 3: Enact Aisha’s Law (domestic violence reform bill); Joint sponsor with Rep. Janine Boyd, D

H. B. No. 46: Exempt certain liquor permit holders from 2021 renewal; Joint sponsor with Rep. Adam Miller, D

H. B. No. 109: Increase penalties-certain criminal offenses; allow peace officer to file lawsuits; Joint sponsor Rep. Cindy Abrams, R

H. B. No. 153: Prohibits health insurers from increasing cost, reducing coverage, and removing drugs from plan; Joint sponsor Rep. Beth Liston, D

H. B. No. 196: Regulate the practice of surgical assistants; Joint sponsor Rep. Brigid Kelly, D

H. B. No. 394: Creates a Stephen T. Badin High School license plate

H. B. No. 409: Require patient or resident protection advisory boards at hospitals, long-term care facilities; Joint sponsor Boyd

Rep. Jennifer Gross, R-West Chester Twp.:

H. B. No. 221: Enact Better Access, Better Care Act regarding nursing; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Thomas Brinkman, R

H. B. No. 234: Repeal the commercial activity tax; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Riordan McClain, R

H. B. No. 248: Vaccine Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act

H. B. No. 407: Establish the Safe Shelter Initiative Program for Ohio veterans; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Adam Miller, D

H. B. No. 421: Revise the abortion informed consent law

H. B. No. 433: Provider of Boutique Services Opportunity Act

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp.:

H. B. No. 99: Allow authorized persons to go armed within school safety zone

H. B. No. 144: Authorize a county to implement motor fuel quality testing; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Brigid Kelly, D

H. B. No. 176*: Revise the Athletic Training Law; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Rick Carfagna, R

H. B. No. 225; Grant tax credits to volunteer peace officers, firefighters, EMS; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards, R

H. B. No. 230: Data privacy improvement bill; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Sharon Ray, R

H. B. No. 361: Increase fines to railroad company unlawfully blocking a crossing; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Jessica Miranda, D

H. B. No. 376: Provides consumers the right to know what personal data a business collects, access and receive personal data a company has regarding that consumer; request personal data be deleted; request personal data not be sold; Jointly sponsored by Carfagna

H. B. No. 377: Regards coronavirus local fiscal recovery appropriation; Jointly sponsored by Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R

H. B. No. 414: Enact the Not On My Walk Act; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Gary Click, R

H. B. No. 425: Prohibit certain actions regarding COVID-19, genetic technologies; Jointly sponsored by Rep. Scott Wiggam, R

Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp.:

S. B. No. 13*: Regards certain statutes of limitation and repose

S. B. No. 64: Regulate and register roofing contractors; Jointly sponsored by Sen. ??? Hottinger

S. B. No. 71: Allow county establish motor fuel quality testing program; Jointly sponsored by Sen. Cecil Thomas

S. B. No. 127: Prevent local governments from limiting use of natural gas; Jointly sponsored by Sen. Michael Rulli

S. B. No. 134: Allows non-essential businesses to operate during health emergencies as long as they follow protocols

S. B. No. 139: Regards multiple employer welfare arrangements

S. B. No. 175: Enact the Fair and Open Competition Act

S. B. No. 184: Regards transparency by online large-volume third-party sellers; Jointly sponsored by Sen. Michael Rulli

S. B. No. 186: Regards constitutionality of federal actions; Jointly sponsored by Sen. Rob McColley

S. B. No. 189: Change venue for appeal from an agency order; Jointly sponsored by Sen. Rob McColley

* Denotes bill approved by House and Senate, sent to governor’s office.