Sykes Statement On Passage Of State Budget
Vote split as compromise fails to build on House-passed wins for working people
July 17, 2019
 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement following the passage of the state budget, House Bill 166. The vote follows more than two weeks of Republican dysfunction and gridlock, which forced lawmakers to pass a short-term funding extension before finally compromising on a long-term deal late Tuesday. Sykes also sent a letter* to Governor DeWine on behalf of House Democrats urging him to veto several provisions in the bill they believe are not in the best interest of everyday Ohioans.


“This budget was not the bill we passed out of the House—far from it. That bill was a responsible, bipartisan blueprint for the future, one that invested in working people and families, restored tax fairness and began to renew Ohio’s promise by strengthening our economy and growing jobs.


“Though a number of our commonsense Democratic priorities remained in the bill, the fact remains that this compromise bill does not go far enough to make up for a decade of Republican cuts and lackluster job growth—and that is reflected in today’s split vote.


“Republicans held taxpayers hostage for weeks, only to deliver a final product that fails to build on the wins for working people and families we saw in the House-passed version of the budget. Democrats are committed to working together as we move forward to invest in our future and give every Ohioan the tools they need to succeed.”

 

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House Dems Announce Statewide Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour
Tour to focus on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
July 16, 2019
 
 

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the launch of the Ohio Promise Tour, a statewide legislative town hall series hosted by House Democratic members to discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led wins for working people and families.


“The Ohio Promise Tour gives taxpayers access to their elected representatives to ask questions and get up-to-date on what’s happening in Columbus,” said Leader Sykes. “While we’ve delivered on a number of key priorities in recent months, there is more work to do to restore the promise of better lives and brighter futures for working families. This tour will help shape our priorities heading into the fall session and reaffirms our commitment to keeping our promise to work for you, the taxpayers.”


Tour stops will provide constituents with a legislative update, as well as an open forum to ask questions and identify community concerns that can be addressed through state government.


The Ohio Promise Tour announcement follows the unveiling of the Ohio Promise, Democrats’ legislative framework aimed at expanding opportunity by investing in Ohio’s future and building an economy that works for everyone. 


Current Ohio Promise Tour dates include:


July 30: Akron, Ohio - 6:00-8:00 p.m.; With Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, Sen. Vernon Sykes and Rep. Tavia Galonski; Alpha Phi Alpha Center, Akron, OH


August 8: Ravenna, Ohio – 4:00-6:00 p.m.; With Rep. Randi Clites; Reed Memorial Library, Ravenna, OH


August 13: Solon, Ohio – 6:30-8:00 p.m. With Rep. Phil Robinson and House Leader Emilia Strong Sykes; Solon Community Center, Solon, OH


August 14: Cleveland – 4:45-6:15 p.m.; With Reps. Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse and Sen. Sandra Williams; Fairhill Partners, Cleveland, OH


August 14: Lyndhurst, Ohio – 6:30-8:00 p.m.; With Rep. Phil Robinson; Lyndhurst Community Center, Lyndhurst, OH


August 19: Parma, Ohio – 6:00-7:30 p.m.; With Rep. Jeff Crossman; Parma-Snow Branch Library, Parma, OH


August 20: Akron, Ohio – 6:00-8:00 p.m.; With House Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, Sen. Vernon Sykes and Rep. Tavia Galonski; Gus Johnson Community Center, Akron, OH


August 20: Chagrin Falls, Ohio - 6:30-8:00 p.m.; With Rep. Phil Robinson; Chagrin Falls Branch Library, Chagrin Falls, OH


August 22: Brecksville, Ohio – 6:30-8:00 p.m.; With Rep. Phil Robinson; Brecksville Community Center, Brecksville, OH


August 22: Orange, Ohio – 7:00-8:30 p.m.; With State Rep. Juanita Brent; Orange Village Hall, Orange Village, OH


August 28: Hilliard, Ohio – 6:00-9:00 p.m.; With Rep. Allison Russo; Norwich Twp. Fire Department, Hilliard, OH


August 29: Columbus – 6:00-7:30p; With Rep. Beth Liston; Columbus Library, Whetstone Branch, Columbus, OH


To find more information on the Ohio Promise Tour, additional dates as they are announced or to register for an event in your area, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ohio-promise-town-hall-tour-tickets-65180916877.


Ohio Promise Tour events are free and open to the public.

 
 
  
 
State Library Funds Slashed Under Interim Budget
House Leader Emilia Sykes says GOP funding cuts hurt children and communities
July 12, 2019
 
 

House Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today called on state lawmakers to recover funds lost by Ohio libraries during the ongoing 17-day temporary budget extension. Ohio’s public library systems have lost thousands of dollars under the bill, and stand to lose more if Republican lawmakers cannot reach a long-term deal by July 17.


“Cutting public library funds breaks our promise to the thousands of Ohio children, families and working people who utilize library resources to learn, apply for jobs and get their businesses off the ground,” said Sykes. “Instead of shortchanging our future, we should be investing in it. We need to pass a long-term state budget and restore critical funding to these vital community resources.”


Ohio’s Public Library Funds were automatically cut from the 2018-2019 level of 1.68 percent to 1.66 percent July 1 as part of the 17-day interim budget deal, which has cost Ohio’s public libraries thousands over the past two weeks. 


Sykes’ call to restore library funding comes as ongoing budget uncertainty this week forced officials at a number of public colleges and universities to delay student tuition bills and financial aid grants for the upcoming fall semester as state lawmakers remain deadlocked on a long-term budget bill.


“These are just two of the negative effects we’ve uncovered as Republicans continue to fight about the budget,” added Sykes. “Actual harm is being inflicted on our communities despite their nonchalant attitude towards missing the budget deadline.”


Lawmakers have until July 17 to pass a long-term budget.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Clites, KSU Students Respond To University's Delayed Tuition Bill Distribution
Legislative delays with state budget forces University to delay tuition notice
July 12, 2019
 
 

State Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and students at Kent State University today responded to a notification the university released Thursday informing students of a delay in issuing tuition bills due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the passage of the Ohio state budget.


“As legislators, it is our constitutional duty to pass a long-term budget by June 30. Interim budgets bring uncertainty and break the promise we made to taxpayers to do so. The delay in billing at Kent State shows the detrimental effects of missing the budget deadline has had on all Ohioans, including students who rely on financial aid and student loans,” said Rep. Clites. “In a state with one-party rule, we should not be putting Ohio students and families in such an uncertain position. I am committed to working together to get this done and I call on Statehouse Republicans to do the same.”


Kent State University recently notified students via email of a delay in student billing, originally due July 16, due to the delay in passage of the biennial state budget. The university cites uncertainty over tuition rates, Ohio financial aid grants and scholarships without prior authorization in the budget.


“As an individual who utilizes state financial aid to continue my studies, it is especially shameful to see Ohio Republicans fail to pass a budget. This negatively impacts working class families, and with control of the legislative and executive branches there is no excuse for any delay,” said Brandon Hawkins, a current student at Kent State University. “With how much time was wasted by Republicans on the restrictive six-week abortion ban, you would think they could’ve instead spent some time on constructive legislative action.  That would include passing a budget that actually improves the lives of those living here.”


“College students already have so much to worry about on a day to day basis, especially with the rising costs of tuition and stress of navigating student loans,” said Tyler Gardner, a current student at Kent State University. “The last thing students want to top all this off is additional uncertainty over the ability to make college affordable, and when they have to pay. The Ohio legislature’s inability to reach a budget agreement directly adds to the struggles and worries that come with pursuing higher education.”


Ohio lawmakers now have until July 17 to pass House Bill (HB) 166, the state’s two-year budget. Without an agreement, lawmakers would be forced to pass another interim budget or face a state government shutdown.

 
 
  

Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the selection of Amber Epling as Communications Director for the House Democratic Caucus.


“I am excited to have Amber join our team,” said Sykes. “Her experience will play an invaluable role in our continued efforts to share our Democratic, people first priorities and reaffirm our promise as an opportunity state.”


Epling previously served as the former director of Presidential communications at Ohio University. She also served as staff in the West Virginia Legislature and as the media and public affairs specialist for the West Virginia Secretary of State.


She can be reached at 614.466.9034 or by email at Amber.Epling@ohiohouse.gov.

 
 
  

House Democratic lawmakers from across Ohio today sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose seeking information from his office about the impact of moving the 2020 presidential primary from March 10 to March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. See the letter below.


Dear Secretary LaRose,


Unfortunately, Ohio has missed its constitutional deadline to pass a two-year state budget. The only silver lining of this situation is that the legislature has an additional short time to reconsider and remove a last-minute provision in the budget bill: the movement of the 2020 presidential primary election to March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. We urgently need information from your office about the impacts of this rushed and possibly reckless change.


St. Patrick’s Day is a huge day of celebration in our districts and we are very concerned about the effect this will have on people’s ability to vote that day. Our families, friends and neighbors will be celebrating starting with breakfast, a parade, luncheons and events throughout the day.


People who otherwise would have been poll workers may have an annual commitment to help with St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Buildings that otherwise would have served as polling locations may have events planned for the holiday instead.


Secretary LaRose, we respectfully request that your office provide the legislature with the following information:



  1. Was your office consulted before this change was made to the budget bill?

  2. How many polling places in the state will be unavailable for use if the primary is moved to St. Patrick’s Day?

  3. How many Ohioans will have to reconsider being a poll worker because of their other community commitments on St. Patrick’s Day?

  4. How many polling places will be difficult or impossible to reach because of road closures?

  5. How many parking spaces will be lost to St. Patrick’s Day events, making it harder for voters to access the polls?

  6. How will road closures and preparations in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day parades and events affect early voting and access to voting locations?


We know our constituents want to do their civic duty and vote, but they should not be forced to sacrifice their traditions with friends and family because of an ill-conceived change to the election calendar. Nor should those who don't celebrate be blocked from their polling places by festivities that may close roads and polling places.


Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to receiving the information from your office that will allow us as lawmakers to make an informed decision.


Sincerely,


State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney


State Rep. Stephanie Howse


State Rep. Kent Smith


State Rep. Janine Boyd


State Rep. Phillip M. Robinson, Jr.


State Rep. Michael Skindell


State Rep. Juanita Brent


State Rep. Jeffrey A. Crossman


State Rep. Terrence Upchurch


State Rep. John Rogers


State Rep. Jessica E. Miranda


State Rep. Gil Blair


State Rep. Sedrick Denson


State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan


State Rep. Joseph A. Miller, III


State Rep. Lisa Sobecki


State Rep. Michael O’Brien


State Rep. John Patterson


State Rep. Kristin Boggs


State Rep. Mary Lightbody


State Rep. Casey Weinstein


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes


State Rep. Allison Russo


State Rep. Beth Liston

 
 
  

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued the following statement in response to Governor DeWine’s call to abandon fair tax reform in order to break ongoing Republican gridlock and quickly pass a budget – regardless of its fiscal impact on the state’s bottom line.


“We have a constitutional obligation to pass a responsible, balanced budget, and rushing a bill through that guts critical tax fairness provisions without considering the fiscal impact on our state’s bottom line is not only irresponsible, it’s reckless.


“When the governor released his initial proposal, we were concerned about its fiscal stability. Refusing to address a critical component of the budget is not the way to balance a budget or invest in Ohio’s working people and families.


“The truth is that we need more tax fairness in Ohio, not less. It would be fiscally irresponsible to remove the House’s fair tax reforms from this budget. House Democrats remain committed to delivering a real, responsible budget for taxpayers, and I urge the governor and majority party leaders to work out a deal that keeps our promise to be responsible stewards of taxpayer money.”

 
 
  
 
Interim Deal "only Option" To Avoid GOP Shutdown, Says Sykes
Lawmakers forced to pass short-term budgets as majority-party talks stall
June 30, 2019
 
 

As Republican legislative leaders remain deadlocked on a long-term budget deal, House Democratic lawmakers today voted in favor of Senate Bill (SB) 171, which would extend funding for the next 17 days to avoid a government shutdown. They also voted to pass SB 172, a 30-day funding extension for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The Ohio Constitution requires both budgets to be passed by July 1.


“The majority party has been unwilling to work together, and now our only option to fulfill our constitutional duty and avoid a Republican shutdown is to pass this short-term budget,” said House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Democrats are committed to fulfilling our promise to taxpayers and hope our majority-party colleagues can put the petty politics aside to do the same.”


Lawmakers now have 17 days to pass House Bill (HB) 166, the state’s two-year budget, and 30 days to pass HB 80, the workers’ compensation budget. Without an agreement, lawmakers would be forced to pass another interim budget or face a state government shutdown.


“We have an obligation—a promise—to taxpayers to pass a fiscally responsible budget. We shouldn’t have to operate with the uncertainty of an interim budget,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), who represents the House Democratic Caucus on the budget conference committee. “Democrats remain at the table ready to work together to restore tax fairness for working people and families, invest in our children’s education and maintain affordable healthcare for all Ohioans.”

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes Statement As GOP Fails To Strike Budget Deal
Uncertainty remains as majority-led legislature may fail to meet constitutional deadline
June 29, 2019
 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement decrying Republican Statehouse leaders whose failure to come to an agreement on the state budget now threatens a state government shutdown. The Ohio Constitution requires the budget to be passed by July 1.


“In a state with one party rule, passing a budget should be easy, but for this Republican majority, petty politics always seems to get in the way of working together.


“Failing to pass a long-term budget is a dereliction of our constitutional duty and a broken promise to Ohio taxpayers. I seriously question the ability of this majority to work in good faith to pass a responsible budget.


“Though Republicans are walking away from the table, Democrats are here ready to work together to keep our promise of responsible government for Ohio taxpayers by passing a budget that invests in working people and our state’s future.”

 
 
  
 
Sweeney's Bipartisan College Credit Transfer Bill Passes House
Lawmaker says legislation will make college more affordable, accessible for Ohio students
June 27, 2019
 
 

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced the House passage of her bipartisan House Bill (HB) 9, legislation to establish general education course requirements and streamline the transfer credit system at public universities in Ohio.


“As one of the most recent college graduates in this General Assembly, I am proud to work across the aisle to make college more accessible for every student—no matter where they live or how much money they make,” said Rep. Sweeney. “HB 9 is going to be a great asset in our continual drive to restore Ohio’s promise as an opportunity state for students and employers alike.”


The legislation would allow students to transfer general education course credits from one public university to another, require institutions to inform students if they are eligible for an associates’ degree, and allow students to pay in advance for classes that are required but unavailable or at capacity—allowing the student to take the class at a later date.


“We owe it to Ohio’s future—our students—to keep our promise to make college more affordable so that every student who works hard has the opportunity to get ahead by graduating on time and without a mountain of student debt,” added Sweeney. “HB 9 makes it easier for every Ohioan to live out their American dream, right here at home in Ohio.”


After passing the House, HB 9 heads to the Senate for further consideration.

 
 
  
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Sykes Statement On Passage Of State Budget

 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement following the passage of the state budget, House Bill 166. The vote follows more than two weeks of Republican dysfunction and gridlock, which forced lawmakers to pass a short-term funding extension before finally compromising on a long-term deal late Tuesday. Sykes also sent a letter* to Governor DeWine on behalf of House Democrats urging him to veto several provisions in the bill they believe are not in the best interest of everyday Ohioans.



 
 

House Dems Announce Statewide Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the launch of the Ohio Promise Tour, a statewide legislative town hall series hosted by House Democratic members to discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led wins for working people and families.



 
 

Leader Sykes Statement As GOP Fails To Strike Budget Deal

 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement decrying Republican Statehouse leaders whose failure to come to an agreement on the state budget now threatens a state government shutdown. The Ohio Constitution requires the budget to be passed by July 1.

 



 
 

Sweeney's Bipartisan College Credit Transfer Bill Passes House

 

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced the House passage of her bipartisan House Bill (HB) 9, legislation to establish general education course requirements and streamline the transfer credit system at public universities in Ohio.