Rep. Fedor: Ohio's Children In Jeopardy
Report shows state drops to 26th in nation for overall child well-being
June 24, 2016
 
 

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to data found in the 2016 Kids Count Data Book, which shows that Ohio’s rank for overall child well-being has dropped from 23rd to 26th in the nation:


“Unfortunately, it should come as little surprise that nearly one in four kids are living in poverty and young adults cannot afford to pay the rising tuition to attend college. Instead of passing policies to benefit working families and their children, the legislature has repeatedly shifted taxes to benefit the wealthiest Ohioans and steered hard-earned taxpayer money to failing, for-profit charters schools.


“I believe Ohio should focus on the future and paving a path to the middle class for future generations of Ohioans by enacting legislation to provide paid family leave, ensure equal access to quality education and raise the minimum wage. Our kids cannot afford another day without a hot meal, a place to sleep or clean clothes. They cannot afford another year in a failing school that does not prepare them for success. The time to act is now.” 

 
 
  
 
Lawmakers Push Bills Guaranteeing Equal Opportunity In The Buckeye State
Say Ohio can be beacon of equality, opportunity and freedom
June 24, 2016
 
 

Democratic state lawmakers today called for the state legislature to consider three bills they say will guarantee equal opportunity for gay, lesbian and transgender Ohioans. The renewed push for consideration comes in the wake of the tragic Orlando massacre that targeted the LGBT community and in advance of the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to guarantee marriage equality in America.


“Our state and our country have taken great strides toward true equality over the past several years, but there is still much work to do to ensure LGBTQ members of our community have an equal opportunity to work, have a safe place to call their home and – most importantly – be who they are without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence,” said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Ohio has an opportunity to create a more inclusive society that promotes freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”  


The lawmakers called on majority Republicans to allow full consideration for three bills:


-House Bill 389 – Reps. Antonio, Driehaus – Also known as the Ohio Fairness Act, to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. 


-House Bill 247 – Reps. Driehaus, Phillips – Ban on conversion therapy on minors.


-House Bill 569 – Rep. Antonio – To include sexual orientation and gender identity under “biased-motivated crime.”


“Ohioans know our state is a great place to live, work, and raise a family – and that should be true for all families, gay and straight alike,” said Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati). “No Ohioan should fear losing their job or being kicked out of their home just because of who they are or who they love. As national headlines have taken a darker tenor recently, we have an opportunity to be a beacon of equality, opportunity and freedom in Ohio.”


The lawmakers also announced that they will be hosting regional public forums during the summer months to raise awareness on the three bills and other important LGBTQ issues.


Whether it’s discrimination in housing and employment, lack of legal protection against hate crimes, or falsely portraying sexual orientation and gender identity as a mental illness, members of the LGBTQ community face many challenges to which we as legislators can and should respond,” Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). “Getting out in the community to engage on these important issues will allow us to hear directly from LGBTQ Ohioans on how we can make our state a more inclusive and welcoming place.”  

 
 
  
 
Cincinnati Lawmaker Joins National Call For Restoring Civility To American Politics
Says political agenda overshadows combating key issues citizens face
June 23, 2016
 
 

State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) today joined elected officials and advocates at a press conference to call for a restoration of civility to American politics and public discourse.


“It pains me to see that some of our nation’s political leaders are more focused on advancing a partisan agenda and trading insults instead of working to resolve the real challenges facing American families,” said Driehaus. “We hope to help reengage the public by encouraging a more productive and constructive dialogue based on mutual respect and cooperation.”


This morning’s press conference follows the launch of the Revive Civility Campaign by the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), which outlines standards of conduct for civil discourse, including clear guidelines for candidates, media and citizens to follow.

Based at the University of Arizona, NICD is a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting healthy and civil political debate. NICD is supported by bipartisan National Advisory Board, which includes former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and others.

 
 
  

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today applauded ridesharing company Uber’s decision to offer its services in the Youngstown area. The expansion allows the Valley to join other Ohio population hubs like Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron that all already have access to the service. 


“Having Uber in Youngstown can mean a lot to various people in our community. Ride sharing for professional, personal or economic use makes sense,” Rep. Boccieri said. “I’ve used Uber to travel in other parts of the U.S. and I think this service could mean that we see fewer drunk driving incidents and a lot more seniors being able to get to community functions and doctor’s appointments.”


The application, available for all smartphones, will officially come online at 5 PM tomorrow. Uber’s Youngstown launch comes after the company announced plans to recruit 10,000 new drivers by the end of this year.


In December, the General Assembly passed HB 237, legislation that established initial regulatory guidelines on insurance requirements, fare calculations and other issues for the ridesharing industry. Rep. Boccieri voted in support of the bill. 

 
 
  
 
Johnson Hails Anticipated Passage Of Columbus Buffer Zone Ordinance
Says Ohio women deserve freedom from violence, threats when seeking medical care
June 20, 2016
 
 
State Rep. Greta Johnson

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today applauded Columbus City Council’s anticipated passage of a local ordinance to establish a 15-foot “buffer zone” around reproductive health clinics in the city. The Akron lawmaker attended a Columbus news conference with Councilwoman Liz Brown to draw statewide attention to the local initiative. 


“Healthcare in America must include safe access to the doctor’s office – access free from intimidation, free from fear, and free from the threat of physical violence,” said Johnson.


Johnson is a co-sponsor of House Bill 408, state legislation she helped introduce earlier this year to create “buffer zones” similar to what the Columbus city ordinance proposes. The House Bill was part of a larger effort by Johnson to ensure “Access Without Apology” to women’s healthcare in Ohio.


“I congratulate Columbus and Councilwoman Brown for leading the charge to protect women’s safety and access to healthcare,” Johnson added.


In her first term as a state legislator, Johnson has also received national attention for her efforts to end Ohio taxes on feminine hygiene products

 
 
  
 
Dem Lawmakers Announce State, Federal Funding For Valley Organizations
Grants will help house homeless veterans, promote student achievement
June 17, 2016
 
 

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced the release of over $300,00 in grant funding for organizations in Mahoning County working to house homeless veterans and support student mentorship initiatives.


The Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority (MHA) received $50,688 from the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. The Youngstown MHA, in partnership with the Louis Stokes (Cleveland) VA Medical Center/ Youngstown Outpatient clinic, will receive 11 vouchers to help homeless veterans find permanent housing. Across Ohio, 11 grants totaling $700,000 will go toward helping 145 veterans.


“I believe it is important to invest in the health and well-being of our veterans, who have sacrificed their lives to help keep us safe,” said Boccieri. “Therefore, we must in turn do everything we can to help provide basic necessities—like housing—to ensure these heroes are safe and protected as they return to civilian life.”


The HUD-VASH partnership is unique in that the voucher not only provides rental assistance on behalf of HUD, but also specializes in case management through VA Medical Centers. Eligible veterans are assessed on a variety of factors, including the duration of homelessness and long term need for serious support in maintaining permanent housing. Veterans participating in the program rent privately owned housing and typically contribute around 30 percent of their income toward rent.


In addition, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber and Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley Inc. received a total of $289,125 in grant funding as a part of the state’s Community Connectors Program. The program, initially funded in the 2014 budget review bill, is intended to unite families, community organizations, businesses and other citizens to support the future achievement, mentorship and resiliency of students in grades 5 to 12.


“Students perform better in school when there is collective involvement among the parents, teachers and the community,” said Lepore-Hagan. “This program will help students in low-performing districts and low-income areas realize their full potential by promoting critical values such as team work, dedication and motivation at an early age.”


The two grant recipients were among 108 groups that received a total of $9.4 million dollars in recommendations released earlier this month. Program applicants were judged according to how well they met the program’s primary objectives of helping students set goals, build character, develop pathways to achievement, build a sense of resiliency and believe in a positive future for themselves.   

 
 
  

State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood, Ohio) today released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting in Orlando this weekend that left 50 dead and 53 wounded:  


“We stand in sorrow, sadness and solidarity concerning the loss and injury of friends and family in the horrific Orlando terror attack. We stand in certainty and solidarity against crimes of terrorism and crimes of hate. 


“As a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, I know – we know – that it is important to remember that we are all citizens of the United States. Though we do not today enjoy full equality and rights under the law, I believe we must not let fear send us into the shadows. We must not let fear silence us. 


“We must continue to work toward full citizenship for a more peaceful world for our children. We, as Americans, must stand together with resolve to support and protect the dignity and worth of all.”

 
 
  
 
OLBC President Reece: Local Hiring Ban Will Harm African American Communities
Lawmaker disappointed Kasich did not veto state-level restrictions
May 31, 2016
 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today expressed disappointment in the signing into law of House Bill (HB) 180, saying the ban on local hiring goals will disproportionately harm African American workers and minority communities while jeopardizing infrastructure projects in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland. 


“I am deeply disappointed that the governor ignored the request by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus to veto these unfair restrictions,” said Reece. “At a time when African Americans in our state are struggling economically and remain out of work at a rate two times higher than the state average, local hiring goals are a critical tool for urban communities trying to combat local unemployment. By banning local hiring goals, we are handcuffing our communities from making economic development decisions that put more money in the pockets of local residents and more money into local economies.” 


Reece and OLBC members earlier this month delivered a letter to Governor Kasich requesting that he veto House Bill 180. In their letter, the lawmakers highlighted the adverse effect the local hiring ban would have on the Cleveland Opportunity Corridor project as well as the city of Akron’s $1.4 billion sewer and water improvement plan, which currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent that would increase to 50 percent by 2018. 


The OLBC also sponsored an amendment during the committee process to allow communities to set a five percent local hiring threshold, but the compromise was rejected by GOP lawmakers. 

 
 
  
 
Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day Bill Signed Into Law
Annual recognition date will educate Ohioans about challenges faced by those with communication disorders
May 31, 2016
 
 

State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the signing into law of House Bill (HB) 431, legislation to designate February 17 – Annie Glenn’s birthday – as the “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day” in honor of  Mrs. Glenn and to recognize all Ohioans who struggle with a communication disorder.


HB 431, introduced by Reps. Sheehy and Patterson, received unanimous bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the governor today.


“Annie Glenn’s remarkable efforts to overcome her speech impediment and educate others about communication disorders are an inspiration to all,” said Sheehy. “For that reason, it is only fitting that we honor Mrs. Glenn by raising awareness around this issue that affects countless Ohioans.”


Mrs. Glenn, married to former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn for over seventy years, struggled for most of her life with a speech impediment that caused her to stutter eighty-five percent of her words. In 1973, she completed an intensive program to address her stutter at the Communications Research Institute at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. Since then, Mrs. Glenn has been able to speak freely and has even become a noted public speaker.

“Annie Glenn is the living embodiment of the American spirit – not only has she overcome a major life hurdle, but by doing so she has become a role model for thousands,” said Patterson.


Mrs. Glenn remains a vocal advocate for raising awareness about communication disorders, and has received many awards for her activism. She serves on the National Deafness and other Communication Disorders Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health.

 
 
  

Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside every year to honor the heroic women and men who have put their lives on the line to fight for our American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Memorial Day originated in the 1800’s after the American Civil War, originally recognized as Decoration Day. The day of observance was used to decorate a soldier’s grave with flowers and memorabilia.


The earliest celebration of this national day of remembrance was initiated in the north states and, decades later, expanded to the south. Memorial Day originally only honored those lives lost during the Civil War, but during World War I the holiday became a time to commemorate lives lost in all wars. It was not until 1971 that Congress passed the National Holiday Act, making Memorial Day an official nationally recognized holiday.


In 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in an effort to re-engage Americans in the celebration of our veterans. This resolution asks that Americans voluntarily take a moment of silence at 3p.m. out of remembrance and respect to reflect on those who have fought for our country while listening to Taps.


On this day, many families visit the graves of fallen veterans, to recognize and appreciate the life and service of those sworn to protect our country. Today, roughly 1,264,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in wars.[1] Be sure to thank a veteran and take a moment of silence in honor of the women and men that made the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation. 



[1] http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq/?referrer=https://www.google.com/


 
 
  
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Lawmakers Push Solution To Stabilize 31 Fiscally Distressed Communities Hit Hard By Kasich's Budget Cuts

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced a new plan to assist struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut over $1.7 billion in local community funding. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions, and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.



 
 

Ohio Rep. Greta Johnson On Women's Access To Healthcare: "We're Not Damsels In Distress Tied To Railroad Tracks, We Are The Train Carrying The Message."

 

Ohio House Democratic members hosted a press conference today to speak out against the recent attacks on women’s access to healthcare. Led by State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), the lawmakers introduced a package of bills aimed at securing and expanding women’s access to comprehensive healthcare services.

WATCH Rep. Johnson deliver her powerful closing above.



 
 

Dem Lawmakers Push Proposals For Women's "access To Healthcare Without Apology"

 

Ohio House Democratic members hosted a press conference today to speak out against the recent attacks on women’s access to healthcare. Led by State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), the lawmakers introduced a package of bills aimed at securing and expanding women’s access to comprehensive healthcare services.

“The women and families of our state deserve better and need not apologize for demanding access to comprehensive healthcare,” said Johnson. “We are not damsels in distress tied to the train tracks, waiting to be rescued. We have the fundamental right to make healthcare decisions about our own bodies.”



 
 

Reps. Howse, Clyde Introduce The Ohio Equal Pay Act

 

State Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today announced the introduction of House Bill 330, the Ohio Equal Pay Act. The legislation aims to address the persistent problem of unequal pay between women and men.