Rep. West Leads Bipartisan Push To Grow Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses
Says successful Stark County programs provide model for Ohio
November 19, 2019
 
 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined Democratic lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and business leaders at a Statehouse press conference to outline their blueprint to strengthen Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. The event kicked off Minority Business Day at the Statehouse and highlighted successful business development programs in West’s district he says serve as a model for the state.  


“Minority-owned businesses are growing in Stark County thanks in part to a number of programs that connect entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools they need to succeed,” said Rep. West. “As lawmakers, we should take notice and expand these programs statewide to strengthen Ohio’s 125,000 minority businesses and the thousands more entrepreneurs looking to get their ideas off the ground.”


The ELITE program, administered in partnership with the London Stock Exchange, is designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and scale up. Currently, ELITE is working with minority-owned businesses in Stark County, as well as several businesses in Youngstown, Ohio and Southeast Ohio, to help expand operations and grow good paying jobs. ELITE recently announced the selection of Cleveland as the location for its U.S. headquarters.


Rep. West also announced $300,000 in state funds for the Stark County Minority Business Association (SCMBA), which will be used in partnership with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide mentorship and other resources to its member businesses.


“Minority-owned businesses historically have lacked access to capital and other resources to get up and running,” added West. “What we’re seeing is that these partnerships are beginning to close the gap, giving minority businesses the opportunity not just to survive, but to thrive in a changing economy.”

 
 
  

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement on the latest extreme total abortion ban introduced by House Republican lawmakers this week.


“This latest abortion ban from extreme, right-wing lawmakers is the most brazen and absurd attempt yet to deny Ohio women their fundamental freedoms, to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship and disproportionately target communities of color across Ohio.


“This patently unconstitutional political stunt abuses taxpayer money and takes away from the real, serious issues before this General Assembly—issues like commonsense gun safety, which have not seen any real movement in this chamber in the 100 days since the Dayton massacre.


“In the past week, we’ve seen extremist lawmakers pass multiple anti-science bills to score political points, restrict our freedoms and expand big government into our most private conversations with our healthcare providers.


“Democrats unequivocally reject this proposal and urge our colleagues across the aisle to put aside this latest extreme, ideological proposal to work together on growing good paying jobs and restoring Ohio’s promise of opportunity for all.” 

 
 
  
 
Dem Lawmakers, Lieutenant Governor To Highlight Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses
November 19 is Minority Business Day at Statehouse
November 14, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) will joinHouse Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), Lt. Governor Jon Husted and representatives from JobsOhio on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Statehouse Harding Press Room for a press conference to discuss the state of Ohio’s minority-owned businesses.


The press event will kick off the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus’s Minority Business Day at the Statehouse.


WHO: Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) & Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati), Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), Lt. Governor Jon Husted                    


WHAT: Press conference on the state of minority-owned businesses in Ohio


WHEN: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 10 a.m.


WHERE: Harding Senate Press Room, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215

 
 
  
 
Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Ohio Rare Disease Council Act
Bill would encourage collaboration to improve care for patients with rare diseases
November 13, 2019
 
 

Today, state Reps. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) held a Statehouse press conference to introduce bipartisan legislation to create the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council. The bill would bring together medical researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, lawmakers and state officials to begin addressing many of the issues facing those living with rare diseases.


“As legislators, we work for you, and creating a dedicated council focused on the lives and experiences of patients and families living with rare diseases will give us the opportunity to improve care in our state,” said Rep. Clites. “Better health outcomes for Ohioans with a rare disease means better healthcare for all Ohioans.” 


Ten percent of Americans live with a rare disease. Of the 7,000 known rare diseases, some 90 percent still do not have FDA-approved treatment options.


“The Rare Disease Advisory Council will help address the unique challenges rare disease patients face every day of their lives by providing a forum to analyze the needs of the rare disease community and make recommendations on how to improve public policy,” said Rep. Ginter. “It is a great step toward ensuring the patients and their families have a voice in government as well as serve as a way we can leverage the unique resources we have in Ohio that can potentially serve as an example for the nation.”


Organizations supporting efforts to create the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council include the American Heart Association, the Little Hercules Foundation, the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD), the NORD Rare Action Network, the American Academy of Pediatrics- Ohio Chapter, the Scleroderma Foundation- Ohio Chapter, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, the Ohio Hematology Oncology Society, the Ohio Renal Association, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and the Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Sweeney Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Eliminate Sales Tax On College Textbooks
Legislation would save Ohio students hundreds of dollars each year
November 13, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) today introduced bipartisan legislation to exempt college textbooks from state sales tax.


“Making textbooks tax-exempt is one small step toward breaking down barriers to higher education,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Since colleges often require textbooks at skyrocketing prices to complete basic courses, it is incumbent upon state legislators to act to reduce the financial burden on Ohio students.”


“The absurd rise of college costs must be combatted,” said Rep. Antani. “A little bit of extra money can go a long way for a college student. This tax cut will do just that and make college more affordable to all Ohioans.”


A recent study found that the average cost of a required college textbook is $97. At this cost, a student can feasibly spend thousands of dollars for textbooks over their entire college career. Reps. Sweeney and Antani say the bill would provide meaningful financial relief for students and families facing ever-rising costs to attend college.


 

 
 
  

State Reps. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today introduced a bill to protect health providers and patients across Ohio.


“Government shouldn’t force healthcare providers to lie to their patients,” said Dr. Liston. “People should be able to trust their doctors and nurses to give them accurate and complete information.”


This bill, known as the “Clinician Integrity and Medical Accuracy Act,” would prevent the state from requiring clinicians to provide patients with medically inaccurate information and services in a manner that is not evidence-based and appropriate for the patient. Additionally, the Act prohibits the state from preventing clinicians from providing patients with medically accurate evidence-based information or medical services.


“Doctors take an oath to treat patients to the best of their ability, with knowledge rooted in clinical experience and scientific consensus,” said Rep. Russo. “Politicians are not doctors, and we put patient well-being and safety at risk when we intrude into the realm of medical care without any regard for accuracy, peer-reviewed evidence, and accepted clinical practice.”


The Act does not change the standard of care for health care providers.

 
 
  

State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 287, her bipartisan bill alongside Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) that would allow reciprocity for Medicaid home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers for the family members of active-duty military when families move to Ohio for military assignment. These Medicaid waivers are often necessary to provide custodial and nursing care for individuals with significant developmental disabilities.


“I am grateful my fellow House members unanimously passed this bill and recognize the unique sacrifices our military families make when they are asked to move every two to three years for military assignments,” Rep. Russo said. “By allowing the military family members with special needs to retain their Medicaid waivers when crossing state lines, we are able to give these families the respect and security they deserve.”


HB 287 follows the best practices set forth by the Department of Defense.  Thirty-three other states, including Michigan and Indiana, passed laws similar to this bill.  It now makes its way to the Senate for consideration. 

 
 
  

State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced Senate Bill (SB) 26, which includes a provision she sponsored to eliminate Ohio sales taxes on feminine hygiene products, commonly known as the Pink Tax, was signed by Governor DeWine into law. She released the following statement:


“I am appreciative of the Governor for signing this bill making medically necessary products more equitably accessible to women and girls in our state. This is an important step towards ensuring that everyone who has a period is able to lead a healthful life and fully participate in their communities as they choose.”


Anusha Singh, Policy Director of PERIOD Non-profit and President of PERIOD at The Ohio State University, served as a community proponent of the bill. Regarding the signing of the bill into law, Anusha stated:


“I started PERIOD at The Ohio State University to empower people around me to break down the stigma surrounding periods, and fight period poverty through advocating for the elimination of the Pink Tax. I believe that eliminating the Pink Tax in Ohio is one of the most tangible steps we can take in the fight for gender equality.”


Kelly previously sponsored legislation to eliminate the pink tax in the 132nd General Assembly, which passed the House before stalling in the Senate. Ohio now joins 15 other states who have embarked on the tampon tax push to exempt feminine products from sales tax, saving women nearly $4 million each year.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Patterson Announces Tyler's Law Signed Into Law In Ohio
Says ride safety bill will better protect safety of children and families
November 06, 2019
 
 

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Louis Blessing (R-Colerain Township) today announced Gov. Mike DeWine’s signing of House Bill (HB) 189 titled “Tyler’s Law,” bipartisan legislation that increases Ohio amusement ride safety and inspection standards, qualifications of inspectors and responsibilities of ride owners.


“In the passage of this legislation, we honor Tyler Jarrell and his commitment to serve and protect,” said Patterson. “In the wake of tragedy, I have been honored and blessed to have spent so much time with Tyler’s family, learning of his legacy as we worked to ensure another preventable tragedy like this never happens again. I believe Tyler’s Law is a critical step in better protecting our people.”


HB 189 is named after Tyler Jarrell, who lost his life in the horrific Fire Ball ride accident at the Ohio State Fair two years ago. Seven other individuals were injured, including another 18-year-old woman who passed away last year due to injuries related to the accident.


“Though it saddens us all that tragedy ultimately drove this legislation, we can take comfort that with the passage of this legislation, other families may be spared the grief of losing a loved one from an amusement ride breakdown,” said Blessing. “Furthermore, Ohioans can rest assured that amusement rides in this state will have gone through more rigorous inspections, and that all they should have to worry about is having fun.”


HB 189 increases communication among state inspectors, ride manufacturers, ride owners and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to better assess amusement ride inspections and repairs, including:


—An enhanced classification system to identify rides that may need more comprehensive or internal inspection.


—Requiring safety and maintenance communications from the ride manufacturer to be forwarded to ODA.


—Tracking previous locations of temporary amusement rides prior to their operation in Ohio.


—Requiring photographic documentation of major repairs before and after they are completed.


Tyler’s Law also increases the certification standards for inspectors, and adds a Professional Engineer as a non-voting member to the ODA Advisory Council on Amusement Ride Safety.


The new law takes effect immediately.

 
 
  

As Ohioans go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots, House Democratic Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) will be introducing legislation to make Election Day a state holiday for Ohio workers.


“The right to vote is our most fundamental freedom, one that should be easy and accessible for every eligible Ohio voter,” said Crawley. “By making Election Day a state holiday, we will increase voter participation and ensure every voter has the opportunity to make their voices heard and have their vote counted.”


Current Ohio law allows for “reasonable” time off for workers to vote. However, Ohio employers do not have to pay hourly employees for voting leave time. Voting is disproportionately difficult for single parents and those who work multiple jobs. In fact, the number one reason registered voters have cited for not voting on Election Day is being too busy or having a conflicting schedule at work.


“Giving people an equal opportunity to vote shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Most Ohioans still prefer to vote on Election Day itself, and this legislation would help working families overcome weekday barriers to the ballot box,” said Rep. Sweeney.  “Lawmakers have a responsibility to make it easier, not harder, for Ohioans to vote. We must do everything in our power to lift low voter turnout – especially in nonpresidential years – if we are to maintain the integrity of our democracy.”


 The majority of Americans have said they support making Election Day a holiday.

 
 
  
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Rep. West Leads Bipartisan Push To Grow Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses

 

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined Democratic lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and business leaders at a Statehouse press conference to outline their blueprint to strengthen Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. The event kicked off Minority Business Day at the Statehouse and highlighted successful business development programs in West’s district he says serve as a model for the state.   



 
 

Leader Sykes Statement On Latest GOP Extreme Abortion Ban

 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement on the latest extreme total abortion ban introduced by House Republican lawmakers this week.

“This latest abortion ban from extreme, right-wing lawmakers is the most brazen and absurd attempt yet to deny Ohio women their fundamental freedoms, to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship and disproportionately target communities of color across Ohio.



 
 

Dem Lawmakers, Lieutenant Governor To Highlight Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses

 

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) will joinHouse Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), Lt. Governor Jon Husted and representatives from JobsOhio on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. in the Statehouse Harding Press Room for a press conference to discuss the state of Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. 



 
 

Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Ohio Rare Disease Council Act

 

Today, state Reps. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) held a Statehouse press conference to introduce bipartisan legislation to create the Ohio Rare Disease Advisory Council. The bill would bring together medical researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, lawmakers and state officials to begin addressing many of the issues facing those living with rare diseases.