Gentile pushing bill for water access

COLUMBUS – State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, announced Wednesday that his Water Access to Every Residence bill has been introduced in the Senate.

“Senate Bill 37 is a bi-partisan effort with state Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, that will create a task force to identify areas of Ohio in which clean drinking water is not readily available. We serve together as the top members on Senate Agriculture Committee. When I was a member of the Ohio House, I was able to pass the legislation unanimously but the bill died in the state Senate in the last General Assembly.

“Water quality and access problems continue to be a major challenge in Appalachia Ohio. It’s time the Legislature take action on this issue. This is an important issue that I remain committed to working on. I think this is something we can all agree on – regardless of party, or where in the state you live. Ohioans deserve affordable access to clean drinking water,” said Gentile.

In a February newsletter, the Ohio Municipal League cited that Gentile’s Water Access bill was of interest to them because it addressed a problem affecting municipalities. The Ohio Municipal League is an Ohio nonprofit statewide association of city and village officials serving the interests of Ohio municipal government.

“Community agencies all across the state are working hard with the resources they have to provide clean drinking water to their residents. We have an obligation as state leaders to support the efforts of our local communities and this legislation is a good first step,” according to Municipal League officials.

Prior to joining the Ohio Legislature, Gentile served as the Assistance Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia where he worked closely with rural communities across Appalachian Ohio helping them to develop their infrastructure and investing in job growth initiatives.

Senate Bill 37 requires the task force to develop strategies for providing access to potable drinking water, including strategies for financing drinking water projects.

The task force will operate at no financial cost to the state, said Gentile.