Democratic state Reps. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) will hold a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 10 the Harding Senate Press Briefing Room to introduce legislation that will incorporate protections for patients with pre-existing conditions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into Ohio law. While Representatives Crossman and Clites have been working on this legislation for several months, they are choosing to introduce this legislation during Breast Cancer Awareness month and ahead of this year’s ACA open enrollment date of November 1. This legislation is also offered amid an expected ruling any day in Texas v. U.S. which is pending in the Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and threatens healthcare coverage for persons across the country, including many Ohioans.

“There is a very real possibility that the Federal Courts may strike down the ACA and the health care coverage that currently exists for patients suffering from pre-existing conditions. According to a recent report from the Kaiser Foundation, approximately 2 million Ohioans may lose their health care coverage if the ACA is ultimately overturned by the Courts.” said Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma). “We need to incorporate these protections now to ensure that every Ohioan will have access to affordable quality healthcare regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately does with this lawsuit.”

“The patient protections in the Affordable Care Act were life changing for not only my family, but for millions of Ohioans. It is our responsibility to ensure Ohioans can live with the security and stability of knowing that they will have access to affordable care when they’re sick,” said Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna). “I know first-hand the struggles families face when a loved one gets sick; you shouldn’t have to fight your insurance company to make sure you get the care you need when making tough medical decisions.”

WHO: State Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma); State Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna); Tori Geib, Susan G. Komen Foundation; Kelly Maynard, Little Hercules Foundation; Susan Hyde, UHCANOhio                          

WHAT: Press Conference 

WHEN: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Warren G. Harding Press Room, Ohio Statehouse


Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement as a number of Democratic-backed policy provisions contained within the state’s two-year state budget went into effect Oct. 17.

“I’m proud of the work our members did on this budget, securing a number of commonsense Democratic priorities to improve the lives of working people and families. Priorities like eliminating the bottom two tax brackets and increasing salaries for our teachers reaffirm our commitment to working together to restore our state’s promise of better lives and brighter futures for all, and we look forward to working together, as Democrats and Republicans, to continue delivering results for Ohio taxpayers and to continue moving our state forward.”

Beginning this week and extending into the coming months, here are some of the changes Ohioans will begin to notice that Democrats fought for:

  • The elimination of the tax burden for people making less than $21,750 to provide a much-needed tax break to those who need it most;

  • The creation of a lead-abatement tax credit to make it more affordable for families to rid their homes of poisonous lead;

  • The increase of the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 to deter young people from starting dangerous habits;

  • Making foster caregivers mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect to protect the safety and security of all Ohio children;

  • Including places of worship to the list of organizations that can administer naloxone in an emergency to combat the opioid epidemic;

  • Allowing for pharmacists to make customers aware of cheaper medications that may be available to them to help alleviate the cost of prescription drugs;

  • Increasing the base salary for teachers from $20,000 to $30,000 to provide a more livable wage to those who mold the minds of tomorrow;

  • Requiring high-poverty public schools now offer breakfast to all enrolled students during the school day ensuring no one begins the school day hungry;

  • Exempting a disabled veteran from paying registration taxes or fees on a military service or valor license plate in honor of the sacrifices they have made;

  • And expanding the age and income eligibility requirements for the Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project breast cancer screening and diagnostic services so more women’s lives can be saved by early diagnosis.


State Reps. Jeff Crossman (D- Parma) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today joined lawmakers and UAW workers at a Statehouse press conference to announce legislation to extend unemployment benefits and food assistance to union workers fighting for fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions. The call comes amid a nationwide strike by UAW employees, who reached a tentative labor agreement Wed. on the 31st day of their strike with General Motors.

“While the news of a tentative deal between the UAW and GM is good news, it does not change the fact that there is a need for the legislation we are proposing today,” said Rep. Crossman. “Labor is strong and active in Ohio, and we need to keep it that way. Whether I’ve talked to workers in Parma, West Chester, or elsewhere, they have all said the same thing: ‘We are striking for everyone. We want the next generation to have the opportunities we’ve had.’ They love what they do, but they need our help.”

Rep. Crossman’s bill would extend unemployment benefits to striking workers who are working on reduced pay during the month-long strike, putting strains on the budgets of thousands of Ohio workers and their families. If passed, the bill would ensure UAW workers currently on strike with GM would be immediately eligible for benefits. 

“Today, UAW members on the picket line are taking a huge risk to stand for what is right,” said Rep. Sobecki. “Earlier in the year, the nurses in Toledo stood on the streets to protect their patients. Tomorrow, it could be union members in your community fighting against injustice. That is why we all need to support the strike because, when union workers are strong, all workers are strong. When workers across our state are strong, Ohio’s economy is strong.”

Rep. Sobecki’s proposed resolution would call on the federal government to allow workers on strike and their families to apply for SNAP benefits.

Crossman and Sobecki’s call follows recent House Democratic efforts to push commonsense legislation to ensure the economic security and stability of working people and families, part of the caucus’s ongoing Ohio Promise campaign.

After introduction, the proposals will be referred to House committees, where they will be eligible for hearings.


Democratic state Reps. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) will hold a press conference TOMORROW, Thursday, Oct. 17, at 9:30 a.m. in the Harding Senate Press Briefing Room to introduce legislation to extend unemployment benefits and food assistance to union workers fighting for fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions. The call comes amid a nationwide strike by UAW employees as they reach a tentative agreement today on the 31st day of the strike with General Motors.

“We have walked the picket lines with our brothers and sisters in labor these last few weeks and heard their struggles,” said Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma). “What we have been told over and over again is that striking was a difficult decision and it has been made all the more difficult by the lack of support they are receiving at the state and federal level. That is why Rep. Lepore-Hagan and I are introducing a bill that would allow striking workers to obtain unemployment benefits to offset the hardships encountered by being on the picket line. Because workers shouldn’t have to accept starvation, foreclosure and bankruptcy in their pursuit of fair wages, better benefits and safer working conditions.”

“This time we are talking about UAW workers, but next time it could be one of our other unions who need help,” said Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo). “My colleague Rep. Russo and I will be introducing a House Resolution intended to complement Reps. Crossman and Lepore-Hagan’s bill that encourages the federal government to not deny SNAP benefits to striking workers. Our country was built by our unions; the hard-fought battles they have waged have resulted in improving the quality of life for working people throughout the U.S. It is our responsibility and our duty to take care of these workers in their times of need because their victories are all of our victories.”   

WHO: Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma); Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown); Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo); Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington); Margie Chambers, Vice President UAW Local 1005; Sheri Baker, UAW Local 211

WHAT: Press conference to announce legislation to support Ohio workers

WHEN: TOMORROW, Thursday, Oct. 17, at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Harding Senate Press Briefing Room

Rep. Skindell Introduces Bipartisan Ohio Fairness Act
Says inclusive policies will attract workers, business investment to Ohio
October 16, 2019

State Reps. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) today introduced the Ohio Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to modernize state law to bar discrimination against LGBTQ Ohioans in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“As we work to grow our economy and lower unemployment, we must not allow discrimination of any form to occur,” said Rep. Skindell. “Qualified and competent employees can currently lose their jobs because of who they are or whom they love. Ohio should be a welcoming place to attract and retain the most talented workers. This legislation will also provide equity and fairness in the housing market.”

The majority of Ohio business owners support adding LGBTQ non-discrimination to Ohio law, with more than 50 percent saying nondiscrimination laws improve businesses’ bottom lines. More than 800 leading Ohio businesses and organizations have backed the Ohio Fairness Act, which they say will attract workers, increase investment and grow the state’s economy.

“The great Woody Hayes said it best, ‘you win with people,’” said Rep. Hillyer. “People matter and should be protected in their workplace and in public.”,

Ohio is home to the sixth largest LGBTQ population the country, and nearly 70 percent of Ohioans support LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination policies.

A previous version of the Ohio Fairness Act (The Equal Housing and Employment Act) passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Sept. 15, 2009, with bipartisan support.

“Over two dozen localities in Ohio have passed local, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. But that only protects about a quarter of Ohioans. You shouldn’t have to move to the city to feel protected from discrimination at work, in accessing housing, and when purchasing goods or services. It’s time for Ohio’s legislators to make a commitment to LGBTQ Ohioans—urban, suburban and rural—that they have the same right to work hard and provide for their families as everybody else. We applaud Representatives Skindell and Hillyer for introducing the Ohio Fairness Act with bipartisan support,” said Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio.

The Ohio Fairness Act awaits a bill number and committee assignment in the Ohio House, where it will receive its initial hearings.

Rep. Brigid Kelly Statement On Passage Of Pink Tax Repeal
Says repeal will save Ohio women more than $4 million each year
October 10, 2019

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:

“Through the sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene period products included in this bill, we are making medically necessary products more accessible to women and girls in our state, ensuring they are better able to lead a healthful life, to regularly attend school, work or personal events, and to fully participate in their communities.”

According to the Legislative Service Commission, Ohio women give the state nearly $4 million in annual taxes from purchasing medically necessary feminine hygiene products. If SB 26 is signed into law, Ohio would join 15 other states embarking on the tampon tax push to exempt feminine products from sales tax.

Kelly previously sponsored legislation to eliminate the pink tax in the 132nd General Assembly, which passed the House before stalling in the Senate.

SB 26 heads to the Senate for final approval before heading to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.


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.”

National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on October 11 to recognize the importance of “coming out” as LGBTQ+ to provide a source of community and strength for other LGBTQ+ individuals. In addition to normalizing LGBTQ+ identities, the day also seeks to combat discrimination and highlight civil rights infractions against the LGBTQ+ community.

“Coming Out Day has been a tradition in the community for years, and I'm thrilled that the Ohio Legislature is acknowledging it. For many, Coming Out Day was the first time they knew they were not alone, and that is life-changing,” said Marshall Troxell, Policy Coordinator for Equality Ohio.

Boyd’s announcement of her bill comes on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to cases of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.

In Ohio, there are no statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ residents.


House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement following the governor’s press conference Monday afternoon outlining his gun safety plan:

“When the people told the governor to do something, they didn’t mean to do just anything. Ohioans want common sense gun safety. STRONG Ohio is weak. It is not what Ohioans want. More than 90 percent of Ohioans want more commonsense gun safety, not watered down proposals to appease the gun lobby.

While I applaud the Governor for making an effort, this plan falls desperately short of the comprehensive reforms necessary to keep our kids and communities safe.”

House Dems Call For Reversal Of Voter Purge Before Voter Reg Deadline
Lawmakers decry error-filled untrustworthy process
October 04, 2019

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. See the letter below.

“Voter roll maintenance is about removing people from the rolls who are no longer eligible to vote,” said Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland). “It is not supposed to be an obstacle course where still-eligible voters have to prove their worthiness to stay on the rolls and access their fundamental right to vote. First it was discovered that 1,100 people were accidentally on the ‘last chance’ list, then there were 1,600 more, then several thousand more. We still don’t know how many eligible voters have been removed due to errors or their choice to sit out an election. With this much uncertainty remaining and the voter registration deadline looming, the most responsible thing is for the secretary to reverse the majority of this voter purge.”

Voter registration and update information:

Ohioans who are not yet registered to vote must do so by Monday, October 7 to vote in the November 5election. Registered voters who have moved and update their address by October 7 will be eligible to cast a regular ballot in the election. Under Ohio’s Portable Voter Registration law, registered voters may still update their address after October 7 and may cast a provisional ballot at Early Voting or on Election Day. Voters may register and update their registration online at

Letter from House Democrats:

October 4, 2019

Dear Secretary LaRose,

We write to urge once more that you stop and reverse this voter purge before next week’s October 7th voter registration deadline. Last week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called on you to stop this purge. Every new development since has cast further doubt on the integrity of this voter purge process. The only way to restore voter confidence is to reverse this purge.

The latest problem is with the “Fresh Start” list your office issued last Friday at 5pm. The list is incomplete. It shows over 182,000 voters were purged. But the state voter file your office released the next day shows over 194,000 voters were purged. These unexplained disparities make it nearly impossible for a group of voters to figure out theirstatus. If someone searches the “Fresh Start” list and does not find their name, they may assume they are safe and able to vote a regular ballot. But that may not be true because the list is incomplete.

You yourself recently acknowledged that the voting rights advocates were right, that this process is riddled with errors and you might even look back at purges done by your predecessor. That is progress, but we still don’t know how many voters were purged this time and why. For these reasons, we call on you to reverse the majority of this voter purge. Let’s examine this purge and past ones to be sure every eligible voter is where they should be - on the voter rolls.

Only those voters who we know from Post Office data moved out of Ohio, who we know are deceased, and who we know requested to be removed from the rolls should remain cancelled. The vast majority of those who have been purged should be reinstated to the rolls. The Dispatch reports that most were removed just for being infrequent voters, but we know the law does not require their removal. 

Voters who are still eligible to vote under Ohio law have been caught up in this error-filled process. A faulty list and an unclear directive from your office caused thousands to be removed in error. Many software errors, missing data, and human errors have also been documented. Reversing the purge will ensure that everyone who should be reinstated will be reinstated before the next election and restore voter confidence in our system. 

Secretary LaRose, too many errors have been revealed and your office has not adequately explained what happened. The transparency you brought to the beginning of this process is commendable but means little if we do nothing with what we’ve learned. You have the power to reverse this purge just like you had the power to change your mind and keep voters who moved in their counties on the rolls. Ohio will still meet its obligations under federal and state law to perform voter roll maintenance, and our list will be more accurate and secure if you undo the majority of this flawed purge.

Ohio is heavily scrutinized and has an unfortunate history of partisan manipulations of our voting rules.  But by correcting course, we can restore voter confidence in our elections. We all share the goal of making sure Ohio’s elections are open, honest and secure. That requires stopping the purge. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.


Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland)

Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)

Minority Whip Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)

Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester)

Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Hts.)

Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)

Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna)

Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus)

Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma)

Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus)

Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown)

Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville)

Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin)

Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus)

Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst)

Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park)

Rep. Michael O'Brien (D-Warren)

Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson)

Rep. Phillip Robinson (D-Solon)

Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake)

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)

Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon)

Rep. Skindell, Michael (D-Lakewood)

Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid)

Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo)

Rep. Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton)

Reps. Lepore-Hagan, Sobecki Introduce Legislation Protecting Victims Of Domestic Violence
Bill gives victims lease agreement flexibility
October 03, 2019

State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 351, legislation allowing tenants to terminate their rental agreement if they are a victim of domestic violence or rape.

“After an arrest or protection order is issued, victims should not face hurdles that make it difficult for them to put distance between themselves and their abusers,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan.What they do need is an exit strategy and assurances that they will be safe. HB 351 gives them an opportunity for a fresh start at a new address away from the person who is threatening or hurting them.”

“Everyone should feel safe in their own home, but often in domestic violence incidents, that is not the case,” said Rep. Sobecki. “This bill creates the opportunity for victims of domestic violence to move out of a dangerous situation and find a safe place to live.”

HB 351 will enable victims to terminate their lease agreement harm-free by presenting a certified copy of a qualifying court order to their landlord within 30 days of issuance. Landlords will be entitled to withhold a portion of any security deposit for damage that may have been done to the property before the tenant vacates. If the victim is co-leasing the property, the other party to the lease will remain responsible for paying any rent that is due.

“Victims of domestic violence must be able to leave dangerous situations as quickly as possible,” added Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “This law will save lives by giving survivors the freedom to move the moment the need arises.”

The bill also stipulates that the definition of “nuisance” shall not include emergency service calls relating to domestic violence incidents.

The legislation currently awaits hearings before the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee.

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Rep. Crawley Introduces Legislation To Improve Maternal Health In Ohio


Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) today introduced a several bills aimed at improving maternal health outcomes in Ohio, including legislation to improve statewide reporting on maternal mortality as well as a bill to expand training at hospitals and other birthing facilities across the state to improve care for certain life-threatening complications arising from childbirth. 


Rep. Lepore-Hagan Watch, Listen, And Stop Railroad-crossing Bill Passes Ohio House


State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) announced the unanimous House passage of House Bill (HB) 226, a bill requiring drivers to watch, listen and stop for on-track equipment at railroad crossings.  


House Dems Outline Plan To Strengthen Ohio Families


Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today joined Dem lawmakers to urge passage of several bills focused on strengthening Ohio families, part of their ongoing Ohio Promise campaign to grow good paying jobs and an economy that works for everyone.


Rep. West Leads Bipartisan Push To Grow Ohio's Minority-owned Businesses


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined Democratic lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and business leaders at a Statehouse press conference to outline their blueprint to strengthen Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. The event kicked off Minority Business Day at the Statehouse and highlighted successful business development programs in West’s district he says serve as a model for the state.