State Rep. Kevin L. Boyce (D-Columbus) today asked Gov. John Kasich to veto recently passed House Bill 294, legislation that seeks to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio.


“This bill takes away from Planned Parenthood, a valued community healthcare resource, $1.3 million dollars in federal funding; these are monies that go toward health screenings including HIV/AIDS testing and cervical cancer screenings, infant mortality prevention programs and domestic violence education programming, not abortions.” Boyce wrote in the letter.


The GOP-controlled House's passage of House Bill 294 comes amidst nationwide Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood after heavily edited, politically motivated videos surfaced appearing to show the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research. The videos have since been widely discredited, and two Republican led investigations into Ohio's Planned Parenthood also showed the organization's activities are only in furtherance of Ohio women's access to comprehensive healthcare.


The Columbus Public Health Department testified in opposition of the bill, saying the legislation’s broad language threatens local health departments’ ability to provide access to critically reproductive health care services at time when “our communities are facing long wait times to be seen for gynecological services, increased rates of syphilis and chlamydia, and a growing demand to adequately address the racial disparities and health risks associated with high infant mortality across the state.”


In Ohio, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive healthcare to some 80,000 patients each year. By defunding Planned Parenthood, the state is defunding sex education programs, HIV/AIDS testing procedures, infant mortality prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings and domestic violence education programs.


“Research reveals that when access to comprehensive, cost-effective preventative and reproductive healthcare is restricted the number of unplanned pregnancies surge, especially among economically disadvantaged women who rely on the services and programs of providers like Planned Parenthood for access to contraceptives and family planning counsel,” Boyce continues in the letter. “I ask you to consider the cost of allowing a misguided and misinformed piece of legislation to become law and urge you to veto H.B. 294.”


You can view the letter in its entirety below:


Governor Kasich,


Wednesday, February 10, 2016, the Ohio House of Representatives concurred on Senate amendments to H.B. 294, a bill that sought to “defund planned parenthood”.  I write to express my disappointment in the passage of the bill and urge your veto of H.B. 294. This bill takes away from Planned Parenthood, a valued community healthcare resource, $1.3 million dollars in federal funding; these are monies that go toward health screenings including HIV/AIDS testing and cervical cancer screenings, infant mortality prevention programs and domestic violence education programming, not abortions.


If signed, H.B. 294 will interfere with existing contracts between healthcare facilities and hospitals or insurance providers in a harmful way; thus eliminating options for cost-effective preventative healthcare for tens of thousands of low-income Ohioans.  Research reveals that when access to comprehensive, cost-effective preventative and reproductive healthcare is restricted the number of unplanned pregnancies surge, especially among economically disadvantaged women who rely on the services and programs of providers like Planned Parenthood for access to contraceptives and family planning counsel.  I ask you to consider the cost of allowing a misguided and misinformed piece of legislation to become law and urge you to veto H.B. 294.


Respectfully,


Kevin L. Boyce


House District 25


Ohio House of Representatives 

 
 
  

Five years ago this month, Senate Bill 5 was introduced in the Ohio Senate to strip workers of their right to come together and speak with one voice to negotiate fairer wages and safer workplaces.


In the months that followed, tens of thousands of Ohioans from all walks of life traveled to Columbus to rally against the extreme measure, and that fall voters sent a clear message to politicians at the Statehouse when they soundly overturned Issue 2 at the ballot box.


Despite the overwhelming rejection of SB5/Issue 2, Ohio’s working families continue to face legislative attempts by Republicans to gut the prevailing wage law, slash workers’ unemployment compensation benefits to give employers a tax cut, and restrict workers’ right to collectively bargain for fair wages and safe workplaces.


However, the efforts to weaken the middle class and stack the deck in favor of the wealthy few are not limited to just Ohio. In fact, recently the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments for Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that threatens to diminish the collective voices of public sector workers like teachers, nurses, and firefighters across the country.  


For many Ohioans – indeed, many Americans – the ability to come together to push for safer and more efficient workplaces, and better wages, may be eliminated by the outcome of the Friedrichs case.


Public sector unions are made up of people who join together to make their voices heard on issues that affect all of us: fighting for smaller class sizes; working to make sure we can all retire with dignity; ensuring adequate police officers and firefighters are on duty to keep our communities safe; and making sure that employers understand that we are working harder and harder just to get by. 


The outcome of the Friedrichs case may change all that. 


A group called the Center for Individual Rights – funded in part by the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers – has helped push this case that attempts to overturn more than thirty years of established precedent that says public sector workers have the right to join together and speak with one voice.   


Current law has formed the foundation for people to work together for more responsive public services — better outcomes in the classroom for our kids, quicker response times in emergencies, and better staffing for hospitals — and more vibrant communities


At a time in America when inequality is greater than ever – when corporate CEO’s are making 300 times more than their average employee and hardworking families are struggling to put food on the table, plan for their future, or send their kids off the college – instead of tipping the scale even further in favor of the wealthiest Americans, we should be doing everything we can to support and grow the middle class.


I believe that everyone who works should be able to make ends meet, have a say about their futures, and have the right to negotiate together for better wages and benefits that can sustain their family.


I urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the attempt by wealthy special interests to further stack the deck against the middle class. The future of our communities depends upon it. 

 
 
  
 
House Dems: Defunding Planned Parenthood Puts Politics Over People
Bill will defund county health departments, reduce access to healthcare for Ohio women
February 10, 2016
 
 

House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 294 (HB 294), which passed the Ohio House during a concurrence vote this afternoon along largely partisan lines. The legislation will implement restrictions that redirect public funds away from providers who perform or promote legal abortions in Ohio. The bill comes amid a national right-wing effort to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that could leave thousands of women in the Buckeye State with limited or no access to affordable preventative healthcare.


“Planned Parenthood provides low-cost preventative care to tens of thousands of women in Ohio,” said Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Defunding these effective and cost-efficient programs will put women and families in our underserved communities at risk. Instead of chasing political headlines, we should focus on the future by expanding healthcare access and investing in the resources necessary to combat Ohio's abysmal infant mortality rate.”


In Ohio, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive healthcare to some 80,000 patients each year. By defunding Planned Parenthood, the state is defunding sex education programs, HIV/AIDS testing procedures, infant mortality prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings and domestic violence education programs. Ultimately, House Bill 294 puts tens of thousands of women at risk by stripping away federal grant money to these essential life saving health care programs and procedures.


“Defunding a safe, trusted, community health care provider does a disservice to the families of Ohio, and taking away local control from communities for their infant mortality programs is not good public policy,” said Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “This legislation serves only one purpose: to continue an ideological witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, which puts women's reproductive health and wellness at risk. The governor should veto this bill.”


Currently, the legislature faces multiple anti-care measures, including bans on abortion after 20 weeks and on pregnancies with a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis. Recent general assemblies have also instituted a number of anti-abortion restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods and private transfer agreements, which have forced a number of healthcare providers to close.


Due to the numerous restrictive policies approved by the Kasich administration, nearly half of the state’s abortion clinics have closed since 2013, from 14 down to 9. Provisions in the latest state budget threaten to shutter another two clinics in southwest Ohio, potentially making Cincinnati the largest metro area in the country without access to safe, legal abortions. A last-minute approval from the Ohio Department of Health allows the only abortion clinic in Cincinnati to remain open through May.


“Planned Parenthood is the vehicle to get the necessary resources to communities that need it most,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “They have been receiving federal funding because they are doing the best job of combatting infant mortality in Ohio. The Senate amendments are a poorly failed attempt at bipartisan support on a very partisan bill.”


“Ohio’s infant mortality rate ranks 47th in the nation, and the disparity is even worse for black babies,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “Planned Parenthood has the skills, knowledge and expertise to help address these disparities and educate new mothers on best practices to prevent such fatalities.”


The GOP-controlled House's passage of House Bill 294 comes amidst nationwide Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood after heavily edited, politically motivated videos surfaced appearing to show the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research. The videos have since been widely discredited, and two Republican led investigations into Ohio's Planned Parenthood also showed the organization's activities are only in furtherance of Ohio women's access to comprehensive healthcare.


Recently, Attorney General Mike DeWine accused Planned Parenthood of illegally disposing of fetal remains in landfills. Independent investigators later discovered that the state of Ohio contacts with the same disposal company used by Planned Parenthood, and follows the same disposal procedures when handling a miscarriage. No unlawful activity was found following the investigation.


Here is what other Democratic lawmakers are saying about the passage of HB 294:


“Today’s defunding of Planned Parenthood is an affront to women and harmful to Ohio’s public health,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent). “Roughly 65 percent of Ohioans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. I stand with those Ohioans – I stand with Planned Parenthood.”


“We are doing our tax payers, women and families and all children a disservice by defunding Planned Parenthood and not focusing on things that could really help our children,” said Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights). “I join my colleagues here in complete and utter disappointment with today’s vote in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. I stand with Planned Parenthood and the incredible— and incredibly necessary— work that they do.”


“This scorch-the-earth political agenda by statehouse republicans goes too far by hurting women and children in my community,” said Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland).  “I call on Governor Kasich to live by his presidential pledge to be a compassionate leader protecting the most vulnerable in our state and veto this measure.”


“Planned Parenthood provides vital services—STI testing, pregnancy care, infant mortality prevention, sex ed.—for patients who, in many cases, would literally have nowhere else to turn for essential, preventive reproductive health care,” said Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus). “No tax dollars go towards anything Planned Parenthood does, except for essential services like these, and I strongly disapprove of efforts at the state and federal level to suggest otherwise. Something as important as healthcare—particularly that which serves so many low-income individuals—should never be subject to such political whims.”


“Cutting women’s access to healthcare is not just wrong, it’s dangerous,” said Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton). “Under this attack, county health departments are on the chopping block and much needed care will be found inaccessible to low-income Ohioans. This illustrates that, once again, politics has prevailed over good public policy, all at the expense of Ohio’s women.”  


“The Ohio House today passed a misguided, damaging bill, and I am outraged when I think about the people in our community who will be harmed. Rather than focus on ways to help Ohio move forward, this bill cuts funding for health care throughout the state,” said Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). “In our district, Planned Parenthood provides affordable health care to many, and now they will lose money for those services. The bill goes even further by also cutting funding the Meigs County Health Department, Ohio University's infant mortality reduction program and the Southeast Inc. HIV/AIDS initiative. In my district, we will lose more than $100,000 in critically needed funding, and that’s simply wrong.”


“House Bill 294 hurts low income women without preventing abortions,” said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “This legislation will impact women seeking services for STD prevention, breast and cervical cancer screenings, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs and infant mortality prevention programs. Considering Ohio already has a shameful record on combating infant mortality, today's vote will only add to the woes for Ohio mothers and babies.”


“I am extremely disheartened by the actions of our legislature today. This exemplifies yet another attack on health care access in regions that such care is so desperately needed,” said Rep. Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma). “As a father of two small children I can attest that health education, preventive care and pre-natal care for expecting mothers are of utmost importance. Today, we saw yet another attack on these integral services.”


“House Bill 294 is not good public policy. Planned Parenthood provides numerous helpful resources to Ohioans,” said Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus). “If signed, existing contracts between health care facilities and hospitals or insurance providers would trigger the funding ban, eliminating options for care— resulting in a loss of $16 million dollars in funding. Furthermore, 65 percent of Ohio voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 59 percent of independent voters. This bill is misguided and misinformed.”


*Editors note: Photo of House Democratic Caucus members “standing with Planned Parenthood” after voting against House Bill 294 attached.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Smith's Bill To Protect Children From Predators Passes Ohio House
Legislation would increase penalties for importuning a minor
February 10, 2016
 
 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 405, legislation to increase the safety of Ohio children by strengthening penalties against sexual predators.


“This legislation will help protect Ohio’s most valuable asset – our children,” said Smith, a primary sponsor of the bill. “Internet predators in Ohio need to know there will be consequences for their despicable actions. This legislation will put predators behind bars and help keep our kids safe.”


Under HB 405, an individual convicted of a first-time offense of importuning a minor would be sentenced to a minimum six-month prison term. Currently, the penalty varies based on the specific importuning prohibition violated.


“Increased technological advancements have opened up new doors to child predators,” said Smith. “This legislation will increase safety for our children and help to keep predators off the streets and offline.”


Rep. Smith is a former member of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The Ohio ICAC and its 342 affiliate partners perform a variety of tasks, including conducting internet sting operations to catch would-be child predators.

HB 405 now goes to the Senate for further consideration. 

 
 
  
 
House Democratic Caucus Announces Leadership Changes
Antonio moves up, Cera elected assistant whip
February 10, 2016
 
 

The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today announced leadership changes, following Rep. Kevin Boyce’s (D-Columbus) departure as Democratic whip to run for Franklin County commissioner.


Former Assistant Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) will move up to Democratic whip, while Caucus Dean Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) will take her place as the fourth-highest ranking Democratic member of House leadership.


“I am proud to be surrounded by such a strong team of leaders,” said Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Their expertise and understanding of the legislative landscape will serve our caucus well and put us in the best possible position heading in to 2016.”


Antonio was initially elected to the Democratic leadership team in late 2014 and was first elected to the House in 2011.


“I am so proud to be part of a team and caucus that puts people first in all we do at the Statehouse,” said Antonio. “It is an honor to take on this new leadership position, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to stand up for commonsense policy solutions that lift all Ohioans.”


Last August, Cera took over the informal leadership position as caucus dean, the longest serving member of the minority, after state Rep. Ron Gerberry resigned.


“I am honored to serve Democratic House members and my constituents in this leadership position,” said Cera. “I believe my experience in the legislature and my commitment to service will add thoughtful perspective to the discussion in Columbus about how we can best move our state forward.”


A native of Bellaire, Ohio in Belmont County, Cera first served in the Ohio General Assembly from 1983-1996. He returned to the legislature in 2011 when he was appointed to serve as the state representative of then House District 95. With redistricting taking effect in 2012, he now represents Ohio House District 96, which includes all of Jefferson County, all of Monroe County, and portions of Belmont County.


The new, four-person Democratic leadership team is comprised of:


-House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton).


-Assistant Democratic Leader Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma).


-Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood).


-Assistant Democratic Whip Jack Cera (D-Bellaire).

 
 
  
 
Patterson Introduces Permanent Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday
Says tax-free shopping weekend will help families save hard-earned dollars
February 09, 2016
 
 

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced the introduction of legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. Not only will the holiday help offset Ohio’s 4.5 percent sales tax increase enacted by the 2013 state budget, but for three days shoppers will pay no sales tax on itemized purchases as they prepare their children for the coming of the new school year. A similar proposal launched Ohio’s first temporary sales tax holiday in August 2015.


“The 2015 sales tax holiday was only a temporary pilot project, but it successfully brought much-needed tax relief to Ohio parents and other shoppers,” said Patterson. “Working families across the state saved their hard-earned dollars and supported local Ohio businesses instead of crossing state lines to avoid paying sales taxes. I believe Ohio should make the sales tax holiday permanent in order to provide annual relief to families during the back-to-school season.”


Under Patterson’s proposal, qualifying products will include items of clothing that are $75 or less, school supplies that are $25 or less, and school instructional materials that are $20 or less. Certain exceptions include electronics, clothing accessories, protective sports equipment, and sewing equipment.

 
 
  

The Central Seventh-day Adventist Church of Columbus, Ohio honored Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) Saturday with the Black History Achievement Award. Rep. Craig received the award during the Church’s Worship Experience.


“It is a humbling honor to accept this award on behalf of all those who have dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life for African Americans and all people” said Rep. Craig. “I look forward to working to expand opportunities and equality while continuing to influence policy that unites and empowers African Americans across the state of Ohio.”


The Black History Achievement Award is bestowed to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to African Americans and their communities. The honor is awarded in February during Black History Month to commend recipients for their commitment, dedication and service. Past honorees of this award have included former Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, Philanthropist Dr. Jacinto Beard and NASA Engineer for the first manned space flight, Dr. Clark Beck. Among this years honorees was U.S. Representative Congresswoman, Joyce Beatty.


Since his time in office, Rep. Craig has introduced legislation that would increase job opportunities for Ohio’s veterans, as a means to provide more meaningful employment for some of the states most highly trained and educated workers. Craig has also helped lead the Commission on Infant Mortality, a bipartisan panel created to address Ohio’s troubling rate of babies who die before their first birthdays. The state leads the nation in African American infant deaths.


The former Columbus City Councilman has an extensive background in service. Rep. Craig has been a continued advocate for job creation, economic development, access to health care, improved schools and better access to public recreation centers.  Craig has also served on the Southside Learning and Development Center’s Board of Trustees, the Ohio Hunger Task Force Board of Trustees and the Columbus Cultural art Center Board of Trustees.


Editor’s note: Photo from the event is attached.

 
 
  
 
Ohio Legislator Tapped To Co-Chair NICD's National Civility Network
State Leaders Working to Replace Incivility with Compromise and Cooperation
February 05, 2016
 
 

Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) has been selected to co-chair a national network of state legislators, a program of the National Institute of Civil Discourse (NICD), which is committed to returning civility, rationality and respect to American politics. The new leadership will work to expand the Network just as the presidential primary season opens and with new polls showing American are fed up with hyper-toxicity in politics.


Howse will co-chair the bipartisan NICD National Network of State Legislators Committed to Civil Discourse with Rep. Matthew Pouliot (R-ME). The Network, created in 2015, includes state legislators who are graduates of NICD’s Next Generation workshop, Building Trust Through Civil Discourse. The training, created in 2015, includes state legislators who have pledged to practice, model and expand civil governance as a means of strengthening American democracy.


“NICD is honored to have Representative Howse leading the way toward a more civil nation,” said Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, executive director of NICD. “Both she and Rep. Pouliot are committed to strengthening the breadth and reach of the NICD National Network, which includes more than 200 state legislators from 20 states. Together, we can begin to move away from name-calling and split parties and return to cooperation and compromise to solve the problems of our nation.”


Howse is optimistic about the Network. ”Our nation needs leaders from all political parties to join the movement to restore respectfulness to the political process even when we disagree. It is a privilege to be selected as a 2016 co-chair, and I look forward to working with fellow state legislators across the country, and across the aisle, to restore civility as the norm in American politics,” said Rep. Howse.


According to a new poll by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, political toxicity is having a big impact on Americans. Their poll, Civility in America, found that 83% of likely voters are paying close attention to national politics, and a full 93% say a candidate's tone or level of civility will be an important factor in how they cast their votes in the 2016 presidential election. Moreover, half of all likely voters (51 percent) say they had not voted for a candidate in the past because of uncivil behavior.


NICD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan Institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to transforming incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by creating and modeling structural and behavioral changes.


Editor’s note: A brief biography for Rep. Stephanie Howse can be seen below:


 Representative Stephanie Howse


Biography


Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, State Representative Stephanie Howse has lived most of her life in the Ward 7 community. Howse is a graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts where she studied vocal and instrumental music.


Stephanie earned her undergraduate degree in Civil Environmental Engineering from Florida A&M University and her Master's degree in Environmental Studies from Cleveland State University. In 2002, while studying for her Masters and working a full-time position with Stephan J. Sebesta & Associates, Inc, Howse took the first step in heeding her call to public and community service by founding Footprints, a girls’ leadership development and mentoring organization operating inside Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center dedicated to nurturing and cultivating a positive self-image for girls ages 9 - 17, while building character on the principles of Self Respect; Life Endeavors; Community and the Arts.


In addition to her work with Footprints, Howse's work in Ward 7 expanded when she was appointed to the Cleveland City Council replacing the late Honorable Fannie M. Lewis.


Representative Howse's commitment to public service was inspired by her mother Annie L. Key, a former State Representative. In addition to Howse's experience as an engineer, her career experiences include being selected as a Fellow - Cleveland Executive Fellowship a program of the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Field Director - Ohio Democratic Party, Substitute Teacher - Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Consultant. 

 
 
  
 
Sykes Offers Changes To Lessen Local Blow Of Proposed Local Hiring Ban
Several amendments requiring the use of local workers tabled on party lines
February 03, 2016
 
 

A House legislative panel today came one step closer to passing legislation, Senate Bill 152, that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.


Some Ohio communities use local hiring requirements on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. The City of Akron – currently in the midst of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.


“I am very disappointed that the legislature continues to ignore The City of Akron and our freedom to make decisions that get people back to work and stabilize our local economy,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes. “My colleagues and I worked diligently to present alternatives that would employ city residents.”


Urban areas like Akron typically have higher unemployment rates than the national average, making the decision to hire local even more impactful for improving the job market in Ohio’s urban areas. Local hiring on public works projects offers a pathway to toward full workforce inclusion for all members of a community, including minority and at-risk populations.


Members of the House State Government Committee, Reps. Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton) and Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland), offered proposed changes to the bill on behalf of Sykes. The GOP-controlled panel rejected the proposals on party lines.


Sykes successfully beat back attempts to include local hiring ban language in the state budget last year. However,  the Republican controlled House revived local hiring ban efforts through House Bill 180, passing it largely along party lines before breaking for the summer last June.


The latest effort to ban local hiring decisions, Senate Bill 152, could pass as early as next week before it goes to the House Floor. 

 
 
  
 
Rep. Clyde Urges SOS Husted To Issue A Directive To Count Every Vote
Lawmaker urges adoption of her full slate of fixes on the postmark problem
February 03, 2016
 
 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent a letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted today urging him to issue an additional directive to ensure all ballots with missing postmarks are counted.


See the letter below:


February 3, 2016


Secretary of State Jon Husted


180 East Broad Street, 16th floor


Columbus, Ohio 43215


Dear Secretary Husted,


I read your new postmark directive and was pleased to see that you had reversed course and taken the suggestion to define postmark to include modern-day markings. The directive did raise a major question for me though: How many ballots would still go uncounted under this new guidance? News reports indicate that many ballots arrive with none of the postmarks that you have now deemed acceptable.


As I have urged in the past, all ballots that voters put in the mail on time before Election Day and arrive at the Board on time within 10 days after Election Day must be counted. We count these ballots for overseas and military voters and that is the right thing to do. These similarly situated domestic ballots are subject to changing processes by outside actors not in charge of running elections and they too should be counted.


Your office is charged with upholding all election laws, not just the literal words of state statutes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently suggested that as part of your duty to uphold all election laws, you have the discretion to resolve the potential Equal Protection violation created by counting some ballots without postmarks while rejecting others that are similarly situated. See Citizens in Charge, Inc. v. Husted, 2016 WL 210313 (6th Cir. 2016). There are several examples of state election law where such a literal interpretation is no longer the practice.


My local paper, the Record Courier, editorialized on Sunday in favor of a broader fix to the postmark problem insisting that even one vote thrown out over a missing postmark was one vote too many. The issue will continue to bring negative attention to Ohio’s elections process until it is fixed. With voting already underway for Ohio’s key primary, all eyes will be on us again. I hope that you will consider the many ballots that will still be unfairly rejected under your directive and issue an additional directive that will ensure all ballots are counted.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Respectfully,


Kathleen Clyde


State Representative

 
 
  
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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. 



 
 

Secret Youngstown Plan Meetings Likely Violated State Sunshine Laws, Say Lawmakers

 

State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today called for the resignation of State Superintendent Richard Ross after leaked minutes of secret meetings showed the superintendent deliberately kept secret the plan to takeover the Youngstown City Schools. Ross’ intentions were first reported Tuesday by the Youngstown Vindicator.