COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced the unanimous passage of legislation in the Ohio Senate that would give greater authority and flexibility to county treasurers to invest county funds. Co-sponsored by Obhof, Senate Bill 163 would increase opportunities for higher yields, diversification of investments and better equip the elected county treasurers to protect taxpayer money.

"This legislation eliminates burdensome restrictions and provides county treasurers with greater flexibility and authority to make investment decisions that best fit their needs," said Obhof.

Treasurers who take advantage of this increased flexibility will have the potential to generate additional revenue using a new category of investments. Under current law, county treasurers are only permitted to invest in corporate bonds with the two highest credit ratings: AAA or AA ratings. Issuance of corporate paper within these categories is limited, and consequently county investment portfolios have been forced into concentrated positions and their effectiveness of having corporate debt securities available has been limited.

Senate Bill 163 seeks to alleviate restrictions by providing county treasurers with the option to invest in bonds that are rated in the top three credit categories, adding A rated corporate bonds as an investment option for counties. This legislation would also expand the allowable maturity of securities from two to three years. The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

In other news from the Senate floor this week:

Pioneering 21st Century Hyperloop Infrastructure

The Senate passed a resolution, co-sponsored by Obhof, that would encourage efforts to develop a state-of-the-art hyperloop transportation system across Ohio. Columbus, Ohio, which was named the winner of the national Smart City Challenge last year, is also now one of 10 locations being considered for investment in a hyperloop technology transport system across the state between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Moses Fleetwood Walker

The Senate also on Wednesday unanimously approved House Bill 59, which designates October 7 as "Moses Fleetwood Walker Day" to honor the nation's first African-American professional baseball player. Born in Ohio and a graduate of Oberlin College, Walker earned his place in history in 1883 when he was signed by the Toledo Blue Stockings. It was recently announced that he will also be inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame next month.