The new year has been quiet so far at the Statehouse. Lawmakers won't be back till next week. But Republicans and Democrats will soon be meeting with their party leadership to go over their priority items for this election year.
The year is beginning with some "dirty" business - the transfer of soil and water conservation and storm water issues from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture. This may sound like a very fine detail of government operations, but it comes under the umbrella of protecting water resources and stopping huge and disturbing toxic algae blooms like the one that shut down Toledo's drinking water when Lake Erie turned bright green in 2014 and has stopped recreational activity at Grand Lake St. Mary's in western Ohio. The heads of the two agencies - David Daniels, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Jim Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources - talk about why the move is important.
But as is often the case, there is a different perspective on this issue. It comes from Adam Rissien, the director of Agricultural & Water Policy with the Ohio Environmental Council.