Following months of negotiation, the Ohio House today passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, bipartisan legislation that puts a constitutional amendment before voters in May to restrict congressional gerrymandering in the state. 


“While SJR 5 is not a perfect piece of legislation, it is better than what we have now. I appreciate all the work that has been done by the committee legislators, the coalition advocates and I especially appreciate the work by those who have been out collecting signatures to ensure fairer districts,” said state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Ultimately, redistricting reform is about taking back our democracy and ensuring that the people have the opportunity to elect representatives who reflect their constituency rather than politicians selecting their constituents.”


Democratic House expressed concerns over several parts of the proposed plan that they see as loopholes that, in extreme cases, could still allow partisan congressional district rigging. Ultimately, most Democrats still supported the final language in the resolution.


If approved by voters in May, the reform plan will be the first time fairness criteria for congressional districts will be included in the state’s constitution. Included among the plan’s changes are the right for a citizen-led referendum on any map, the governor’s authority to veto a map, requirements to limit community and county splits, and bipartisanship requirements for a 10-year map.

 
 
 
  
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Antonio, Burke Ask Kasich To Keep Local Behavioral Health Youth Program Running

 

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) today wrote a letter* to Gov. John Kasich asking him to reconsider his administration’s move to shutter Cuyahoga County’s local Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections, a behavioral health program that serves some 500 high-risk youth each day.



 
 

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.