State Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) announced the Senate's passage of legislation Wednesday aimed at increasing efficiency within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

"This legislation eliminates departmental redundancies and ensures efficient use of taxpayer dollars," said Balderson. "I applaud Director Zehringer for working with the legislature to identify areas of potential consolidation. This makes resources available for the purpose of improving outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans."

Senate Bill 293, sponsored by Senator Balderson, seeks to make the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) more efficient, cost effective and accessible for Ohioans. Two major changes with the proposed legislation include a merger of the Division of Parks with the Division of Watercraft as well as provide for the cross-training of the Department's law enforcement personnel. 

"By increasing efficiency and reducing costs, ODNR is able to free up resources to reinvest in our parks," said Balderson.

Senator Balderson's common sense proposal would result in $1.3 million in savings which will be redirected to improve boat ramps, docks and other park facilities across Ohio. 

If passed, Senate Bill 293 would also combine law enforcement training and eliminate restrictive patrol boundaries that differentiated park officers from watercraft officers. These provisions will reduce costs associated with duplicative training programs and better prepare officers to respond to situations regardless of whether they occur on land or water in state parks. 

Senate Bill 293 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

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