Ohio House Hears Boccieri's Bill Requiring Domestic Steel In Schools
Legislation inspired by Sebring lead contamination crisis
November 30, 2016
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State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) announced House Bill (HB) 558, legislation from May requiring public schools to use U.S. steel for all campus construction, received a first hearing in the House State Government Committee today. The bill, co-sponsored by state Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), would ensure that the steel used in all schools receiving public money is reliable and not prone to unsafe corrosion. 

“This bill was inspired by the tragic lead contamination crisis we had in Sebring earlier this year,” Boccieri explained. “The middle school in my district found to have highly unsafe lead levels had water fountain pipes visibly corroded with lead that were made in China. I believe that in choosing to use defective foreign steel for critical infrastructure that serves young students and affects their daily health, we were not doing all we could to ensure the safety of our children.” 

Boccieri also noted that China has seized on the opportunities provided by our increasingly global economy, illegally subsidizing its steel industry and overproducing to the extent that the product is cheap and not up to quality standards. 

“When it comes to our children, we need to ensure that we are not sacrificing any level of quality or safety, and that means turning to what we know is reliable: American steel,” said Boccieri. 

There are also significant economic benefits to using domestic steel on school campuses. Boccieri noted that Ohio’s steel industry provides $7.2 billion for the state’s economy and $600 million in state taxes. In addition, United Steelworkers reports that the American steel industry is one of the most efficient in the world, often producing a ton of finished steel in under one man-hour. 

“We must produce domestic steel for our national and economic security. Our hardworking steel workers have suffered greatly from foreign dumping, and continuing to support countries that dump foreign steel into our markets undercuts U.S. and Ohio economic growth,” Boccieri added. 

Given the limited time remaining for HB 558 to move through the full legislative process before the end of the General Assembly, Boccieri pledged to reintroduce the bill next year.

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