House Democratic lawmakers today voted against Substitute Senate Bill 331, legislation that lets the state grab more power from local communities by overriding local bans on unlicensed puppy mill sales to pet stores and prohibiting local communities from taking up ballot issues on policies like minimum wage and paid family leave.
“As Americans and Ohioans, we hold close the value and right of self-determination. A one-size-fits-all approach from the state just doesn’t work for our local communities.” –House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)
The last-minute power grab comes as Toledo and Grove City pursue local ordinances banning puppy mill sales, and Cleveland and other metropolitan areas study local ordinances to raise wages and benefits within city limits.
Here is what other House Democratic Lawmakers are saying:
“Columbus continues to centralize power when local communities take action to benefit their citizens, but when the state is faced with tough decisions, like funding our schools and fighting heroin, the state punts to locals.” –State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton)
“As wages sink across Ohio we are practicing deny-side economics in this legislature,” –State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid)
“This top-down, one-size-fits-all approach coming from the Statehouse tramples Ohio values of self-determination and self-government.” –State Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus)
“Over 100 years after the ink dried on the home rule guarantee of the Ohio constitution, state lawmakers in the majority are threatening to upend the enduring principle of self-government enshrined in our state’s founding document. Locally elected officials and leaders on the ground in their communities have the best perspective on what’s important to their neighbors and constituents, not professional politicians in Columbus.” –State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron)
“By defunding local communities and taking away power from locally elected officials, the state is making it that much more important for voters to pay attention to who their state legislators are and how they vote.” –State Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Warren)
“Local communities are best positioned to set their own priorities and shape their future through local decision-making and consensus.” –State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown)
Democratic lawmakers today called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference this morning the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.
“The first step in any road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and it’s time for the administration to recognize the opioid addiction crisis as the public health emergency that it is,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Too many Ohio families are losing loved ones to drug addiction and overdoses. We must marshal all available state resources and attention to fight back against this rapidly growing threat to our communities.”
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today responded to Gov. John Kasich’s Thursday comments at the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and the state’s actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The governor’s optimistic comments came on the same day the Ohio Department of Health released the report on 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data stating fentanyl-related drug overdoses more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. And the numbers continue to climb. For July 2016, Summit County alone experienced an estimated 395 overdoses, which matched the total number of overdoses in the county for the four months prior combined.*
“State leaders still refuse to call the opioid epidemic what it is: a public health crisis,” said Johnson. “It is imperative we remain hopeful and positive, but only if we are also employing all available resources to the law enforcement officers and treatment providers on the front lines. There has yet to be a coherent, statewide response to this devastating public health crisis that is killing more Ohioans than ever before. Summit County is doing a tremendous job at treating and preventing overdoses in my district, but with greater funding and direction from the state, we could be doing far more.”
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 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.