Freedom is never a given. Its pursuit is not always easy. It often demands the sacrifice of those willing to give of themselves for a greater cause. It’s these values that most exemplify our nation’s veterans, many of whom sacrificed so much to secure the freedoms we too often take for granted. 


Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, a holiday marking the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I. It quickly became a celebration of all our veterans who gave of themselves to defend our freedom and way of life. Because of their selflessness and determination, we are able to enjoy many of the freedoms we cherish today.


The House last month unanimously passed House Bill 194, legislation to create special license plates recognizing military service. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus), a military veteran, is a testament to House Dems’ long-standing commitment to honoring Ohio’s military veterans. We understand that truly honoring our veterans isn’t just about offering them thanks, it’s about advocating on their behalf, fighting for their benefits and affording them the opportunity to succeed when they return home.


This year, as we gather to give thanks for the blessings in our lives – our health, our families, our freedom – let’s also give thanks for our veterans whose continued sacrifices impact our everyday lives. Join the Ohio House Dems in celebrating and honoring our military veterans, their families and the freedoms they fought for this Veterans Day.

 
 
  

As Republicans in Washington try to dismantle healthcare and slash enrollment periods and public notice, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is encouraging Ohio taxpayers without health insurance to sign up and get covered during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which ends on Dec. 15, 2017.


“This about more than just finding healthcare insurance you can afford at a reasonable price,” said Sykes. “This is about you and your family’s economic security and stability. Though many of us don’t think we need healthcare, we are all just one accident or diagnosis away from a life-changing hospital stay or operation.”


Sykes notes that last year, eight out of ten taxpayers who signed up for healthcare during open enrollment took advantage of a significant financial discount. Sykes warns that if you miss this open enrollment period in 2017, you likely miss out on healthcare for all of 2018.


You can sign up through healthcare.gov or find more information at getamericacovered.org

 
 
  

State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit against Rover Pipeline LLC, months after the Ohio EPA referred some $2.3 million in fines to the attorney general for illegal dumping of toxic chemicals in the Canton area during the construction of the Rover Pipeline.


“It seems that with the outside threat of an Ohio Elections Commission investigation looming, Attorney General DeWine finally decided to take action to protect taxpayers from an out-of-state corporation’s reckless disregard for our safety,” said West. “This is welcomed news, but the timing of the lawsuit makes people wonder if the state could have done more, sooner. This was referred to Attorney General DeWine at the beginning of July. Meanwhile, local taxpayers have been forced to bear the brunt of toxic spills in our community and close to our drinking water supply.”


DeWine’s action comes one day after complaints were filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission, asking them to investigate DeWine for his potential conflict of interest in owning stock in Rover’s parent company, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

 
 
  
 
Rep. Ramos Testifies In Support Of DACA
Says program is right thing to do morally, economically
November 03, 2017
 
 

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) testified this week in the House Federalism and Interstate Commerce Committee in support of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 15, which would call President Trump to immediately restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Rep. Ramos introduced HCR 15 in response to the Trump administration’s September decision to end the program.


“These are Americans in every conceivable way, except citizenship,” said Rep. Ramos. “These children and young adults were brought to this nation with their parents before an age where they would have had a say in the matter, sometimes too young to even remember. They were raised here, go to school here, pledge allegiance to our flag, and for all intents and purposes are American children and young adults. Put simply, the United States is the only home they’ve ever known or wanted.”


The end of this program could cause the forced deportation of over 800,000 people to countries they have never known, in many cases speaking languages they do not understand. DACA has allowed more than 4,400 young people in Ohio to come forward, pass background checks and live and work legally in the country. Ohio DACA recipients have had their protection renewed by the US Department of Homeland Security more than 5,100 times. 


“This is not just the right thing to do morally; it is the right thing to do economically,” said Ramos. “DACA is a tool, a bootstrap if you will, one that can be used for upward mobility.”


More than 97 percent of DACA recipients are in school or the workforce. Ending DACA would result in the loss of $460.3 billion from U.S. GDP over the next decade, as well as $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions. Repeal would cost Ohio more than $251.6 million annually. 


Over 800 CEOs from across the tech, retail and financial sectors have signed a letter in opposition including those of AT&T, Best Buy, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple. An April 2017 survey of registered voters found that 78% of American voters support giving DACA recipients the chance to stay permanently in America.


“It is unconscionable for our Federal Government to end the DACA program, deporting hundreds of thousands and causing irreparable harm to our communities and our economy. These are real people contributing to Ohio, and they need our help. For their sake, for the sake of our communities, for the sake of our economy, I urge your support of HCR 15.”


A second committee hearing for HCR 15 has not been scheduled at this time.

 
 
  
 
Kennedy Kent Issues Statement On Unanimous House Passage Of Her Bill To Protect Ohio Children
House Bill 137 adds law enforcement to list of mandated reporters of child abuse
November 02, 2017
 
 

State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) today released a statement after her bill, House Bill (HB) 137, passed the Ohio House. HB 137 would join Ohio with every other state to mandate law enforcement officials to report child abuse and neglect.


“As lawmakers, our duty is to pass laws that put the health, safety and well-being of Ohioans first—and that begins with our children. I was shocked and saddened to learn that Ohio was the only remaining state not to have law enforcement listed as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. Now, thanks to the tremendous support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we are one step closer to adding another critical layer of protection for the most vulnerable in our society. I urge the Senate to move quickly and pass this common-sense legislation.”


The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 
 
  

Take the time to stop by the Ohio Statehouse tomorrow beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Room 313 for the last opportunity to tell lawmakers that rigging the rules against voters is wrong.


We beleive all people should have a voice and that their vote should count in every election. Unfortunately, that's not always the case when legislative districts are rigged against voters with special boundaries that guarantee only one political party can win. 

 
 
  

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today responded to the state Controlling Board’s re-approval of Medicaid care in Ohio.


“Putting politics over public policy at the Ohio Statehouse creates uncertainty in the marketplace and puts thousands and thousands of good-paying jobs at risk. In Ohio, more and more people report to work each day at hospitals, health centers and nursing homes, earning over eleven billion dollars that, in turn, are injected into our economy,” said Cera. “This kind of political brinksmanship injects uncertainty into our economy, for healthcare professionals and for the three million Ohioans who access healthcare through Medicaid. Taxpayers want certainty and stability in their everyday lives, not more politics. There’s enough turmoil in Washington, we don’t need to bring it back home to Ohio.”


The state panel’s reconsideration of Medicaid was the result of a partisan budget amendment that now requires the panel to re-approve Medicaid after the its approval in the state budget, setting up high-stakes showdown that could block some three million Ohioans from receiving care, cut thousands of jobs in hospitals, and end all Medicaid funding by 2018.


Rep. Cera serves on the seven-member state Controlling Board, which comprises four Republicans and two Democrats split between both Houses of the General Assembly, as well as the governor’s director of Budget and Management, who serves as the board president.

 
 
  

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) responded to the report issued today by the Annie E. Casey foundation showing African-American children in Ohio are worse off and have less opportunity than children in most other states.


“Sadly, this report reflects what many of us already know: children of color, especially African-American children, have to face barriers that prevent them from opportunities that others are guaranteed,” Howse said. “It is both saddening and alarming to see that Ohio is especially horrific at providing conditions for black and brown people to live a decent life. I hope this new information inspires my colleagues on both sides to embrace policies that put family first like paid family leave, equal pay and pre-k for all.”


Of the 44 states that had enough data to analyze, Ohio ranked 42nd in the nation for the well-being of African American children.

 
 
  
 
Antonio Responds To Latest Ohio Opioid Crisis Report
Calls for greater statewide access to treatment, economic opportunities
October 25, 2017
 
 

The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.


The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.


“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”


The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.

 
 
  
 
Reps. Fedor, Kennedy Kent Introduce Healthcare Freedom For All Ohioans Legislation
Bill will ensure healthcare coverage for all regardless of income, current health
October 24, 2017
 
 

State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) today introduced the Ohio Health Security Act, a bill to establish a single-payer health care plan in Ohio to universally cover medical, dental and vision services. Payments to health care providers for all eligible benefits will be made from a single public fund, called the Ohio Health Care Fund.


“Even with the progress we’ve made, too many in Ohio are still struggling to get the care they need when they need it. It’s time for a change,” said Fedor. “Let’s face it. We all need healthcare at some point in our lives, and we shouldn’t have to mortgage our future to get it. Under the Ohio Health Security Act, every eligible Ohioan will be free to choose the plan and doctors that work best for their families without breaking the bank.”


Under the plan, every Ohioan may receive full health care coverage, regardless of income or employment status, and may freely choose their own health care providers for services such as outpatient services to prescription drugs, medical supplies and medical transportation without costly co-payments or deductibles. There will also be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Coverage from the Ohio Health Security Act would begin two years after the bill’s passage.


“While Congress continues to cut backroom deals and pass secret bills that will only work to increase costs and cut benefits for hardworking Ohioans, we’re putting together a concrete plan to make care affordable and flexible to work for you and your family,” said Kennedy Kent. “Taxpayers deserve a plan that gives them a real choice and the freedom to pick a plan that works for them.”


The new health care plans will be administered by the Ohio Health Care Agency, which will operate under the direction of the Ohio Health Care Board. The board will consist of two elected representatives from seven regions across the state and the director of the Ohio Health Care Agency. The board will:



  • negotiate or set prices for health care services provided

  • establish standards to demonstrate proof of residency

  • provide each participating individual with identification that can be used by providers to establish eligibility for services

  • seek all necessary waivers, exemptions, agreements, or legislation to allow various federal and state health care payments to be made to the Ohio Health Care Agency


Recent studies have shown substantial savings associated with single-payer systems, which work to establish market power, thereby cutting red-tape, reducing overhead costs and implementing cost controls, according to the Single Payer Action Network (SPAN). A full, detailed economic analysis on the potential impact of the Ohio Health Security Act is currently underway and set to be released in the coming months. 

 
 
  
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Antonio Responds To Latest Ohio Opioid Crisis Report

 

The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.

“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”

The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.



 
 

House Dems Respond To GOP's Proposed Wage-killing Unemployment Restrictions

 

The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today responded to the newly unveiled GOP unemployment compensation bill that freezes unemployment compensation for ten years, increases unemployment insurance tax rates from .02 to .03 percent for employers, and adds a new ten-percent tax on employees.

“As Americans we believe in getting paid for the work you do. But now, after helping to build our bottom line in Ohio, working people will take home less pay for doing the same job under this legislation,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “That’s wrong.”

The legislation also reduces the amount of time a person remains eligible for unemployment insurance by two weeks, from 26 to 24.

“An automatic pay cut is not what most families and people have in mind when I talk to them about the priorities at their statehouse,” added Leader Strahorn. “People are concerned about owning a home, sending kids to school and trying to save what they can to get ahead.”



 
 

Lawmakers Push Solution To Stabilize 31 Fiscally Distressed Communities Hit Hard By Kasich's Budget Cuts

 

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.



 
 

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.