COLUMBUS- Today, Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the Lake) and Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) introduced legislation that would authorize the state to temporarily fund the Women, Infant and Children program (WIC) if the federal government shutdown continues to jeopardize the stability of the safety net program. Over 260,000 Ohio women and children are served by the WIC program each year through supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education.
“We cannot simply stand by and let our state’s most vulnerable citizens suffer while we allow radicals in the Tea Party to hold our nation hostage. Poor children should not be made to pay with empty bellies for the reprehensible lack of action by an extreme faction of one party in the U.S. House,” said Rep. Ramos. “We have a moral obligation to step in if extremists in Congress can’t put politics aside to do the right thing.
The Democratic proposal would authorize the Governor to disburse Budget Surplus Funds to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to prop up the WIC program if the shutdown drags on. The legislation would only become effective if the shutdown results in a programmatic funding loss for ODH. Up to $25 million in state funding could be directed to WIC under the bill, which includes an emergency clause to forego the 90-day waiting before it becomes law.
“We are calling on Governor Kasich and our colleagues in the General Assembly to authorize state funding for the WIC program if need be, so that no one goes hungry,” said Rep. Rogers. “People’s lives depend on it. I hope that my colleagues and the Governor show compassion for those in need during these hard economic times by passing this bill.”
“Women and children are once again collateral damage as political war wages with the federal government shutdown,” added. Rep. Antonio. “This resolution calls for a responsible action to provide needed nutritional safety net provisions-this appropriation would transcend partisan politics.”
Ohio ranks 48th in the nation for infant mortality rates, and WIC is helping to improve these alarming statistics by reducing the incidence of low birth weight, and providing infants and children with a healthy start in life by improving poor or inadequate diets. WIC provides specific nutritional supplements such as milk, cereal, cheese, fruits and vegetables to babies, pregnant women, women breastfeeding, and children under 5 who fall under 185% of the Federal Poverty Level.
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.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state.
“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”
“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”