Cera: Right To Work Is Wrong For Ohio
Republican-controlled legislature to start Right to Work (Is Wrong) debate tomorrow
November 12, 2018

In response to a scheduled Ohio House committee hearing tomorrow on House Bill 53, legislation to make Ohio a so-called “Right to Work” state for first responders, teachers, nurses and other public employees, Democratic House Finance Committee lead Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) issued the following statement:

“Right to work is wrong for Ohio because it puts our first responders last for safety gear, fair pay and healthcare protections for on-the-job injuries. States that have so-called “right to work” restrictions have more deaths on the job, lower wages and less healthcare.

“Ohioans shouldn’t be held hostage by an extreme and dangerous political agenda at their Statehouse. Elected officials need to put politics aside and refocus our efforts on reforms that will grow our economy, protect healthcare and give people the tools they need for a better life. Right to work is wrong for working families, wrong for the middle class and wrong for Ohio.”

Ohio High School Graduation Crisis To Deepen Without Swift Legislative Action
Emergency fix ready to go in Ohio House
November 12, 2018

State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today publicly released her October letter* to House Speaker Ryan Smith (D-Bidwell) asking for his support to move her legislation, House Bill 630, which would give career-ready Ohio high school seniors the opportunity to graduate in 2019 and 2020. Without legislative action, 51,893 Ohio high school seniors will not graduate this year, according to Ohio Department of Education data.

“As the State School Board and many in the legislature, under your leadership, move to bring Ohio standards in line with modern day needs and workforce demands, I ask for your support for House Bill 630 to meet Ohio seniors where they are in 2019 and 2020 by ensuring these career-ready students are not being held back by an outdated system,” Galonski wrote in her Oct. 24 letter to Speaker Smith.

Galonski’s legislation mirrors alternative pathways that were extended to high school seniors last school year. Without alternative pathways to graduation, many students are at risk of not graduating this year due to an overreliance on standardized testing – an approach that has been roundly criticized in a bipartisan way by legislators, teachers, parents and education experts.

“I believe House Bill 630 would be instrumental in providing alternative pathways for career-ready high school students until the legislature can fully engage the incoming administration on long lasting educational reforms that truly prepare Ohio’s children for a lifetime of success. I respectfully ask to work with your office, the education chairman and our Senate counterparts to make House Bill 630 a priority in the final weeks of the 132nd General Assembly,” Galonski concluded in the letter.

The Akron lawmaker, who serves on the House Education Committee, tried to amend HB 630 into HB 216, but the measure was blocked on party lines. Galonski is hopeful Speaker Smith responds soon and makes HB 630 a priority during before the legislature closes out the 132nd General Assembly in December.



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Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today released a letter* sent to Governor-elect Mike DeWine that applauds the incoming governor’s commitment to unifying the state and working with Democrats and Republicans to bring about meaningful change to benefits all Ohioans.

“I am compelled by your uniting words to find common ground on common sense policies that grow our economy, better our educational outcomes, and protect healthcare,” Strahorn wrote in the letter.

The House leader sees the final weeks of legislative session as an opportunity to give the incoming administration a head start on important issues like strengthening Ohio manufacturing, taking on the opioid crisis, and giving Ohio students the opportunity they need to succeed in the workforce.

“The beginning of the end of the 132nd General Assembly next week stands as a reminder that our actions together in state government over the next eight months will set the course for our state and for future generations of Ohioans,” continued Strahorn in the letter. “What we do now will impact the success of your leadership come January.

“As respective leaders of this state, I believe we have a commitment to set the divisive and partisan, political battles of the past aside to come together in the name of progress and opportunity for the citizens of our state,” Strahorn concluded. 


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State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today recognized the month of November as National Family Caregivers Month. The Family Caregiver Alliance defines a family caregiver as “any relative, partner, friend or neighbor who has a significant personal relationship with, and provides a broad range of assistance for, an older person or an adult with a chronic or disabling condition.” This year’s theme is “Supercharge Your Caregiving” to highlight how family members can utilize support tools to improve the quality of life for their loved one and make their job easier as a caregiver.

“It can be challenging caring for a relative while completing daily tasks. Luckily, with the advent of new technology to check vital signs, access online patient records, and connect with support groups, these challenges can be decreased.” said Sykes. “In the General Assembly, it is important we recognize the work of family givers and provide support to services such as respite care.”

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, 1.7 million Ohioans provide some level of care for a loved one who is older or has a disability. The total cost of this care is an estimated $14.2 billion each year.

Through the National Family Support Caregiver Support Program, the Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities has resources and services available to family caregivers, please visit http://www.dhad.org/services.aspx for more information.

State Continues To Dodge Longstanding Ohio Election Day Law
Lawmaker asks state officials to take lead in upholding legal holiday
November 05, 2018

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) last Thursday called on state leaders to follow the longstanding Ohio law that recognizes Election Day from noon to 5:30 p.m. as a legal state holiday in the Buckeye State. The legal holiday designation for Election Day was reaffirmed in 1953, but has been state law for 128 years, dating back to Gov. James Edwin Campbell’s signature of Senate Bill 174 in the 69th Ohio General Assembly.

“The fact is that part of Election Day has been a legal holiday in Ohio for 128 years.  We simply have not been following the law,” wrote Ramos in a letter to Gov. John Kasich and Republican legislative leaders.* “I am requesting that you use the power of your office to follow Chapter 5.20 of the General Provisions of the Ohio Revised Code to close state offices not related to elections on Election Day at noon.”

The Lorain lawmaker indicated he may introduce legislation to make all of Election Day a state holiday in Ohio, but said he is first more concerned about following current state law.

“As Constitutional Officers, it is imperative upon all of us to promote the very democratic processes which allow us to serve our state,” Ramos continued in the letter. “I believe allowing more time off for state employees would do so, while simultaneously encouraging Ohio’s business community to follow suit. It is also imperative that we do all that we can to make certain that the laws of our state are being followed.  In this case, they simply are not.”


State Reps. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), Thomas West (D-Canton) and David Leland (D-Columbus) will deliver remarks in a mural dedication ceremony honoring the nation’s first professional African American baseball player, Moses Fleetwood Walker, on Sunday, October 7 at 1:30 p.m. in Steubenville. Legislation sponsored by the lawmakers naming October 7, Walker’s birthday, as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio was signed into law last year.

“Walker’s life story is a perfect example of how we must continue working together to create a world in which everyone has the opportunity to reach their God-given potential,” said Cera. “I’m glad that Jefferson County is memorializing such a gifted athlete and brave American.”

Walker began his professional baseball career with the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883, but his career was cut short in 1889 when both the American Association and the National League unofficially banned African American players. It was not until 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson finally broke the color barrier.

“Honoring Moses Walker is more than just remembering a baseball player,” said Leland. “It is a reminder of who we are as a Nation, whose Constitution vows to protect everyone’s inalienable rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. It is also a cautionary tale, because sometimes, after we get something right, we lose our way. So as we honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, we remember that the battle for equality and justice is never finished.”

The mural was painted by artist Ruston Baker. An exhibit on Walker, housed in the Jefferson County Historical Association Museum, will be open to the public that day.

“Moses Walker is yet another hidden figure that is owed the respect for breaking color barriers during the era of Jim Crow and violent racism. Still, he persisted,” said West. “His story resonates with countless individuals, as it inspires those seeking courage during challenging and trying times. Walker’s life is an important piece of Ohio history and American history.”  


State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today responded to inaccurate report card grades given to East Cleveland schools by state education officials. The false information was uncovered by a WEWS investigative news report late Tuesday.

“The school district report cards are not just confusing and inaccurate, they are often times just plain wrong,” said Smith. “That is why there is bipartisan support to end the state takeover of local schools that relies on such a faulty measure.”

When contacted by East Cleveland Schools to correct the false information on the report card, state officials refused to more accurately reflect the school’s and student’s progress, indicating it would not have changed the final outcome. The state plans to take over the local school district and install a state-appointed CEO to make most decisions.

“While East Cleveland has clearly demonstrated academic improvement in the face of extraordinary circumstances, the state of Ohio and their ‘Columbus Knows Best’ attitude will displace local elected leaders and community stakeholders who know their community best with an unaccountable bureaucrat,” added Smith. “In Youngstown and Lorain, these state takeovers have not led to better academic results for our children and our communities. Now we realize that might be based on bad data.”

East Cleveland will be the third school district taken over by the state since 2015.


State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today expressed her support and applauded council members’ leadership in the passage of the human rights ordinance by Cuyahoga County Council. The ordinance passed by an 8-3 majority Tuesday evening, making Cuyahoga County the first county in Ohio to ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. It will also create a human rights commission that will investigate and rule on complaints.

“This is both a civil rights and an economic issue,” said Rep. Antonio. “I am hopeful that the passage of this important county ordinance will be instrumental in helping statewide efforts to ban discrimination against people in the LGBT community. Nondiscrimination policies have the potential to serve as an economic catalyst to drive innovation, spur investment and attract the best and brightest to Ohio. Above all, it is the right thing to do.”

Ohio remains one of 28 states without clear, inclusive, non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Nearly two dozen Ohio cities have already passed non-discrimination ordinances, and over 80 percent of the top employers in Ohio have corporate policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  

“Members of the LGBT community are no different from our neighbors. We work, we worship, we pay taxes, we send our children to schools and we even represent our communities,” said Rep. Antonio. “Cuyahoga County passing this ordinance tells people that our region is open for business to everyone.”

Rep. Antonio testified in support of this ordinance in July of this year. At the beginning of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly, Antonio introduced House Bill (HB) 160, which would ban discrimination against all LGBT Ohioans. Antonio’s legislation received two hearings and support from more than 400 leading Ohio businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturing Association. Still, the bill has yet to advance through the GOP-controlled Ohio House of Representatives.

Follow the link below from 24:10 – 38:45 to watch Rep. Antonio testify in support of the ordinance.


Patterson's School Safety Legislation Brings $12 Million Statewide For Local Safety Improvements
Area schools to get safety funds based on Patterson's new bipartisan law
September 21, 2018

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced over 1,700 schools throughout the state will share in some $12 million in school safety grants made possible through the Jefferson lawmaker’s bipartisan legislation, House Bill 318. The state grants require local schools and county board to work with local law enforcement to determine the best use of the funds.

“The ability to foster safe, healthy, and supportive environments in schools is crucial to the wellbeing and education of our children,” said Patterson, “When we invest training, safety equipment, and critical educational and mental health resources, we invest in their future.”

Locally, schools in House District 99 received a combined $111,259.30 to make local school buildings safer under Patterson’s bill.

Each school received a letter this week detailing how to access their awards between Oct. 1 and June, 30, 2019.

*A list of local awards is pasted below.

Schools to Receive Funding Include:

Ashtabula Area Schools : $19,520.75
Ashtabula County Career and Technical Campus : $ 2,500.00
Assumption School : $2,500.00
Buckeye Local Schools :  $9,814.05
Berkshire Local Schools: $6,842.15
Cardinal Local Schools: $5,367.50
Chardon Local Schools: $ 15,588.35
Conneaut Area City Schools: $9,085.20
Geneva Area City Schools: $12,955.45
Grand Valley Local Schools: $ 6,203.70
Grand River Academy: $2,500.00
Jefferson Local Schools: $9,226.45
Pymatuning Valley Local Schools: $6,655.70
Saint John School: $2,500.00


Lawmakers Look For Results From State Economic Development Arm
Propose performance audit of JobsOhio to ensure competitive economic development
September 20, 2018

As the nation continues to recover from the global economic recession of 2009, the Buckeye State has largely been left behind in the recovery, a fact that two lawmakers said in part prompted their new proposed state law change to require an annual performance audit of the state’s economic development entity, JobsOhio.

Though JobsOhio is a nonprofit organization that uses public money for economic development and job creation, it is exempt from public performance audits, unlike similar organizations that use taxpayer funds.

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Thomas West (D-Canton) hope to change that with legislation announced today that would hold JobsOhio to the same standards and level of transparency that taxpayers have come to expect from organizations that receive public money.

“According to the Center for Community Solutions, Ohio’s median household income is below the national average, while our poverty rate is above the national average,” said Rep. Smith. “After five years of work, JobsOhio has not led Ohioans to a brighter future. A performance audit of JobsOhio will evaluate their operations based on the three ‘E’s;’ economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. This analysis will be helpful as the citizens of Ohio and the next Governor decide for themselves whether or not they are getting a healthy return on their JobsOhio investment.”

Ohio has trailed average job growth nationally for more than five consecutive years, with middle-income workers seeing the sixth worst decline in their share of income over the past decade.

“Not only should organizations who do the public’s work be accountable for their results, but it’s good government to know how we can do better as a state and be more economically competitive,” said West. “If something’s not working, if there our inefficiencies, we have a responsibility to fix it so people can have a fair shot at a better life in Ohio.”

Not only do two out of five Ohio households struggle to afford basic necessities, but almost 70 percent of Ohio jobs pay poverty wages.

Since its inception in 2011, Gov. John Kasich has touted JobsOhio and its potential to bring Ohio to the forefront of job creation in the United States.


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Clyde Commemorates 53rd Anniversary Of VRA With Voting Facts For Tomorrow's Special Congressional Election


State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today issued a statement commemorating the 53rd anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and putting out information on frequently asked voting questions in advance of tomorrow’s August 7 special congressional election in central Ohio.


Clyde Statement On Court Order Reinstating Voting Rights For Purged Voters


State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today issued a statement following a recent federal court order requiring Secretary Husted to issue a directive reinstating the “APRI exception.” The court-ordered directive will require purged voters’ ballots to be counted in the upcoming central Ohio congressional race that will occur next Tuesday, August 7. 


Ashford's Bipartisan Predatory Lending Reform Bill To Become Law


State Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo), a joint sponsor of House Bill 123, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Kasich’s signing of the bill to crack down on predatory short-term lenders in Ohio:


With Fair Season In Full Swing, Amusement Ride Safety Protections Linger At Ohio Statehouse


As summer heats up and families flock to fairs and festivals, including the Ohio State Fair which opened this week, beefed up safety standards for amusement rides sit dormant in the Ohio House.

After last year’s Fireball amusement ride failure at the Ohio State Fair tragically claimed the life of Tyler Jarrell and sent seven others to the hospital with serious injuries, state Rep. John Patterson’s (D-Jefferson) attention turned to ensuring such a tragedy never takes place in Ohio again.