State Representative Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) issued the following statement in response to the news that the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute settled its legal challenge against Secretary of State Frank LaRose such that Ohioans’ ballots will be counted even if they are caught up in the voter purge. See the settlement agreement here and her statement below.


"I applaud the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the ACLU of Ohio, and Demos for fighting for the rights of Ohio voters and winning. We should absolutely count the ballot of every voter who is wrongfully purged, but that doesn’t mean we should keep on purging eligible Ohioans from the rolls. That’s why I renew my call on Secretary LaRose to cancel the pending voter purge to be sure only those who are no longer eligible are ultimately removed.


"In this settlement agreement, the Secretary agreed to review the current purge list comparing it against BMV records and restoring the Active status of anyone whose BMV address still matches their voter registration address. With this new task at hand, it would be unwise to continue to impose the September 6 purge deadline, just one week away, on Boards of Elections."

 
 
  
 
Reps. Leland, Lightbody And Russo Announce Ohio Promise Town Halls
Events to focus on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
August 27, 2019
 
 

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus), Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced town hall meetings TOMORROW, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Norwich Township Safety Services Building in Hilliard and Thursday, August 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Whetstone Library to discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led wins for working people and families in Central Ohio.


“The only way to represent the people is to listen. That’s what the Ohio Promise Tour is all about,” said Rep. Leland.


“My Democratic colleagues and I are embracing these opportunities to connect with constituents across Franklin County and discuss the work being done at the Statehouse,” said Rep. Lightbody. “It is imperative that we hear the concerns from our communities and provide an insight into how we will work together on their behalf.”


“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to discuss the latest Statehouse updates and address any issues or concerns constituents have,” said Rep. Russo. “I encourage everyone to come, and I am looking forward to the discussion.”


The events 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 town halls are part of Democrats’ statewide Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a legislative town hall series following the unveiling of the Ohio Promise, a legislative framework aimed at expanding opportunity by investing in Ohio’s future and building an economy that works for everyone.


WHO: State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus)


State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville)


State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)


WHAT: Ohio Promise Town Halls


WHEN: TOMORROW, August 28, 2019


6:30 p.m.


WHERE: Norwich Township Safety Services Building


5181 Northwest Pkwy


Hilliard, OH 43026


AND


WHEN: Thursday, August 29, 2019


6:00 p.m.                     


WHERE: Whetstone Branch Library


2909 N. High St.


Columbus, OH 43214

 
 
  

State Reps. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today introduced legislation honoring the late author Toni Morrison by designating her birthday, February 18, as “Toni Morrison Day” in Ohio.


Morrison, a native of Lorain, rose to prominence through novels and non-fiction works that often examined black identity in America. Her works, including the novels Beloved and Song of Solomon, earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a Nobel Prize in Literature, the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


“In the Lorain area, Toni Morrison has long been a source of inspiration for our youth,” said Rep. Miller. “Her legacy is one of perseverance, dedication to education and leadership by example. I am hopeful that the designation of Toni Morrison Day will remind all Ohioans to learn from the body of work that inspired so many during her lifetime.”


“Toni Morrison’s life and writing exemplified her unique gift for creating passionate, elegant and timeless literature that is cherished by Ohioans and people around the globe,” said Rep. Howse. “Her work stirred our souls, challenged our conscience to confront injustices and encouraged the rest of the world to do the same. I hope that the designation of Toni Morrison Day will set the stage for an entire generation of authors to tell their untold stories and celebrate the beautiful diversity of humanity.”


The bill will now be sent to the Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee, where it will receive a bill number and committee assignment.

 
 
  
 
House Democrats Launch Commonsense Gun Safety Website
DoSomethingOhio.com provides resources for Ohioans to get involved, hold legislature accountable in wake of Dayton shooting
August 26, 2019
 
 

House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and House Democratic lawmakers today announced the launch of DoSomethingOhio.com, a website designed to provide resources for constituents to contact their legislators and call for commonsense gun reform in Ohio.


“I encourage Ohioans to use DoSomethingOhio.com to get involved and reach out to House and Senate leadership, committee chairs and the governor’s office to demand action on commonsense gun safety,” said Leader Sykes. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and in their communities. We owe it to our families, friends and neighbors to restore our state’s promise as a safe place to live, work and retire—not fear the next tragedy.”


The launch of DoSomethingOhio.com comes just two weeks after Democrats called for a series of commonsense gun safety proposals designed to keep kids and communities across the state safe in the wake of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio on August 4.


Democratic bills include legislation that would implement universal background checks for gun purchases, require federally licensed firearms dealers to provide information about suicide prevention and enact red flag protections to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others.


A majority of Ohioans from all political backgrounds support an increase in gun safety laws, and two-thirds report being worried about gun violence in their community, at their church or in their child’s school.


To learn more about House Democrats’ efforts and learn more about how you can get involved in the fight for commonsense gun safety in Ohio, visit DoSomethingOhio.com.

 
 
  
 
Reps. Clites And Weinstein To Host Second Leg Of Freshman District Bus Tour
Announce bipartisan press conference to highlight tour
August 23, 2019
 
 

Democratic state Reps. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) will host a press conference Wednesday, August 28, at 11:00 a.m. at the Hudson Public Library to highlight the second leg of the freshman district bus tour, which includes Clites and Weinstein’s House Districts 75 and 37, respectively.


The tour will provide an opportunity for freshman lawmakers to get to know Northeast Ohio and foster more bipartisanship at the Statehouse. Reps. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) and Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) hosted the first freshman district tour in May.


The bipartisan group of lawmakers will visit highlights of House Districts 75 and 37, including Kent State University, The Davey Tree Expert Company, the IKORCC Carpenters Union Training Facility, and HopTree Brewing.


Who: State Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson)                 


What: Press Conference to highlight the tour of Districts 75 and 37


When: Wednesday, August 28 at 11:00 a.m.


Where: Hudson Public Library and Historical Society, 96 Library Street, Hudson, OH 44236

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes Holds Ohio Promise Town Hall
Statewide town hall tour focuses on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
August 22, 2019
 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) held a community town hall Tuesday as part of the Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a statewide legislative town hall series hosted by House Democratic members. The purpose of the tour is to hear from constituents in their districts about their most pressing concerns, answer questions, and discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led, legislative wins for working people and families.


“I was thrilled to bring the Ohio Promise Tour to Akron for the second time,” said Leader Sykes. “Providing our constituents with an overview of how we work for them at the Statehouse and having the opportunity to engage directly with them on the issues that matter most to their families is vital for our democracy. While we’ve made important steps towards investing in our children’s future and building an economy that works for everyone, we still have more work to do to restore our state’s promise of better jobs, better lives and brighter futures for all Ohioans.”


Rep. Sykes kicked off the event with a legislative update, discussing the recently-passed state budget that increases funding for maternal and prenatal health services, invests in our children’s future and protects healthcare for millions of families across the state. The event included an open forum to allow constituents to ask questions and identify community concerns that can be addressed by state government. Audience members in Akron wanted to know about many topics, including infant mortality, crumbling infrastructure and access to healthcare.


The recently passed state budget was also a major topic of conversation as Sykes detailed the process itself as well as a number of state budget provisions House Democrats fought for that seek to strengthen local communities and put people first.


Some notable Democratic budget wins for Summit County include:



  • Increased funds for public colleges and universities, including the University of Akron.



  • Millions of additional dollars for grant programs to make college more affordable for low-income students.



  • $125,000 to fund co-op programs at the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.



  • Increased funding for the Akron-Summit Public Library.



  • Local Government Fund increases, which directs millions more dollars to cities like Akron.



  • Created Food Farmacy program to provide comprehensive support to Summit County residents with Type 2 diabetes.



  • $600,000 for the “Finding my Childhood Again” program and an additional $100,000 for the Market Street Kitchen at the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina counties.



  • Invests in the Drug Abuse Response Team Grant Program to expand successful programs like the Summit County Quick Response Team to combat the opioid crisis.



  • Enacts cost-savings measures at the Summit County Court of Common Pleas juvenile and domestic relations division to reflect recent child support and custody changes under Ohio law.


Leader Sykes represents Ohio’s 34 House district, which includes Akron and parts of Cuyahoga Falls and Bath Township.

 
 
  

State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today sent a letter to Board Members at the Lucas County Board of Elections to urge training of election officials and poll workers on new procedures for early voting that began earlier this year. Early voters now have the option to present Election Day-style voter identification or provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number.


“As Early Voting gets underway for the primary, and as we begin to prepare for the general election, it’s important that we equip our elections officials and poll workers with the most accurate, up-to-date information to make navigating the voting process as easy and accessible as possible for Ohio voters,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.


Under House Bill 41, which took effect in March, Ohio voters now have the option to show identification during early voting just like at Election Day if they prefer. Voters still have the option to complete an absentee ballot application like mail-in voters do by providing the last four digits of their Social Security Number.


The additional option has caused some confusion among voters and workers, which Hicks-Hudson says additional training of election officials and poll workers should alleviate.


The full text of the letter is found below:


Dear Colleagues,


I recently voted early at the Board of Elections and I discovered that there is new confusion over the voter ID law at Early Voting. I want to make sure that everyone knows that there are no new restrictions on voter ID at Early Voting. People can come Early Vote just like they always have with the last 4 digits of their social security number (SSN+4) and no one should be turned away.


The confusion is probably over the passage of House Bill 41. HB 41 passed at the end of last year and took effect in March. It added to the Early Voting ID law to let people show ID at Early Voting just like at Election Day voting if they prefer that method. But the same old way of showing ID, by completing a ballot application like Mail Voters do is still in law. So, people can still go to Early Voting without an ID in their pocket and vote by providing their SSN+4 in writing.


So, essentially, under the new law, In Person Early Voters can now either provide ID like Mail Voters with a written application or show ID like Election Day Voters. Previously, they could only provide ID like Mail Voters using the written application.


Whenever a change takes place, it takes time for election officials and poll workers to learn the new rules. I hope you will make sure your poll workers are trained on this change and that whenever they are unsure, they ask for help and make sure no voter leaves Early Voting without casting a ballot.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If anyone has been turned away under a misunderstanding of the law, I hope the Board will reach out to those voters and invite them back to vote their ballots and have their voices heard.


Respectfully,


Paula Hicks-Hudson, State Representative, House District 44


 

 
 
  
 
Reps. Denson, Ingram, Kelly, Miranda Held Ohio Promise Town Hall
Statewide town hall tour focuses on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
August 19, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati), Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) held a community town hall last Thursday as part of the Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a statewide legislative town hall series hosted by House Democratic members. The purpose of the tour is to hear from constituents in their districts about their most pressing concerns, answer questions, and discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led, legislative wins for working people and families.


“I really appreciate People Working Cooperatively allowing us to use their beautiful space,” said Rep. Denson. “I enjoyed hearing the thoughts and concerns of those in attendance, and can’t wait to incorporate that into what I’m doing in Columbus at the Statehouse.”


“One of our ways to keep our promise is to continue to remind our constituents that we work for them,” said Rep. Ingram.


“I want to thank all the constituents from the Great 28 who came to our Ohio Promise Town Hall,” said Rep. Miranda. “It is important for the people of Hamilton County to know that we work for them. This town hall was an excellent opportunity for our delegation to put that on display.”


“This was a really important evening for the community to come together,” said Rep. Kelly. “I’m grateful for those who shared their concerns with us and for the opportunity to discuss issues that matter most to you and your family.”


The Representatives kicked off the event with a legislative update, discussing important budget wins and some of the priority bills being worked on at the Statehouse. The event included an open forum to allow constituents to ask questions and identify community concerns that can be addressed through state government. State Sen. Cecil Thomas also joined the evening and provided an update from the Ohio Senate.


The recently passed state budget was also a major topic of conversation as the Representatives detailed the process itself as well as the number of state budget provisions House Democrats fought for that seek to strengthen local communities and put people first.


Some notable Democratic budget wins include:


—     Putting more money back in the pockets of hardworking Ohioans by passing a tax cut for working people and middle class families.


—     Investing more than $650 million in wraparound services, which include innovative and collaborative ways to support our children and give them the tools they need to succeed.


—     Raising the minimum wage for direct service employees, strengthening Ohio’s promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.


—     Investment in Produce Perks Midwest, providing SNAP recipients with an avenue towards a healthy diet.


—     $250,000 to the University of Cincinnati for a financial literacy program.


—     Increased funding for the Cincinnati & Hamilton Co. Public Libraries.


—     $300,000 to the Cincinnati Zoo to support educational programming and scholarships for disadvantaged students.


—     Local Government Fund increase, directing millions more dollars to cities like Cincinnati.


Conversation also centered on the call for the passage of gun safety legislation and the protection of reproductive rights in Ohio.

 
 
  

House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose alerting him to new problems with the purge list and urging him to cancel the upcoming voter purge. Thousands of Ohio registered voters are being targeted for removal from the rolls at the beginning of September, many of whom are still eligible to vote. Last Thursday, community groups working to help find people on the purge list also raised problems with the process and the tools provided by the Secretary and asked for more time to help people stay registered.


“This voter purge has been discredited over and over again,” said Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland). “Too many Ohioans who are still eligible to vote are on that list and our state and federal laws do not require removing them from the rolls. The National Voter Registration Act was passed 26 years ago precisely to increase registration and to keep eligible voters on the rolls. The Secretary should acknowledge that this purge is too flawed to move forward and cancel it.”

 

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Reps. Russo, Sweeney Introduce Extreme-Risk Protection Order Bill
HB 316 seeks to prevent gun violence tragedies before they happen
August 14, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) last week introduced new legislation, House Bill (HB) 316, that would allow family members, household members, or law enforcement officers to file for a court order temporarily preventing individuals considered to be an imminent danger to themselves or others from possessing firearms.


“In many instances of gun violence, there were clear warning signs the shooter posed a serious risk of injuring themselves or others with a firearm,” said Rep. Russo. “Extreme risk protection orders save lives by giving families and law enforcement time to quickly intervene before those warning signs escalate into tragedies, while also respecting Second amendment and due process rights.”


“We are elected to serve the needs of our constituencies across Ohio, and protection from gun violence is something that Ohioans want,” said Rep. Sweeney. “We have to do all we can to prevent those individuals who should not have dangerous firearms from obtaining them, and this commonsense legislation fills that gap. The gun violence epidemic needs urgent attention from the legislature, and this bill should be called for a hearing as soon as possible.”


So far, seventeen states across the country have extreme-risk protection, or “red flag,” laws, including Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Illinois.

 
 
  
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Rep. Brigid Kelly Statement On Passage Of Pink Tax Repeal

 

State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today applauded the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 26, which includes a provision she sponsored to eliminate Ohio sales taxes on feminine hygiene products, commonly known as the Pink Tax, which would save Ohio women millions of dollars each year. She released the following statement: 



 
 

Rep. Boyd Introduces Bill Designating October 11 "Coming Out Day"

 

State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today introduced a bill to designate October 11 as “Coming Out Day” in Ohio.

“By recognizing this day, the Ohio General Assembly can acknowledge that coming out is one of the most courageous steps any LGBTQ+ person can take,” said Rep. Boyd. “Our recognition of that courage helps counter bigotry, ignorance and fear, and is an integral part of our collective, continued progress towards full equality.”



 
 

House Dems Call For Reversal Of Voter Purge Before Voter Reg Deadline

 

Ohio House Democrats today sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose calling on him to reverse most of the voter purge that has occurred over the last past several weeks. Errors in the process have been continually revealed and the status of each person on the “last chance” list is still unknown. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 7. 



 
 

Mahoning Valley Lawmakers Press White House On GM Lordstown Facility

 

State Reps. H. Gilson Blair (D-Weathersfield) and Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) today announced a recent conference call with Trump administration officials in response to their repeated attempts to urge the Trump administration to assist them in bringing General Motors back to Lordstown, Ohio.