State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) introduced legislation today that would prohibit the manufacture and sale of microbeads, small plastic particles that are typically used in personal care products such as hand sanitizers and toothpastes. Microbeads can pollute public waterways — including Lake Erie — by slipping through water treatment systems when they wash down the drain.
The Ohio House today agreed on conference committee changes to House Bill 2 (HB 2), a bipartisan education bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for Ohio’s charter schools. The monthslong legislative process culminated in significant reforms that will strengthen oversight of a charter industry repeatedly plagued by fraud, scandal and failing report cards.
Democratic legislators in both the House and Senate today announced resolutions commemorating the 50th anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act. Passed in 1965 and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Voting Rights Act was a historic piece of civil rights legislation that guaranteed all Americans – regardless of race – the constitutional right to vote without unfair barriers. The honorary resolutions will be introduced by Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) in the House and Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Senator Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) in the Senate.
Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) released the following statement regarding the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act:
“Voting in America is a fundamental right and should be treated as such by policymakers. Democracy works best when the citizen stakeholder level is at its greatest and everyone's voice is equal. The politician that does not respect voter access should not be respected by the voters.”
President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today unveiled new standards limiting carbon emissions from power plants, a move the administration says will combat climate change, reduce energy bills for families, improve public health and create jobs in renewable energy industries. The administration released an Ohio fact sheet today in preparation for the new standards.
Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) released the following statement in reaction to the historic plan:
State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today joined the growing chorus urging the state auditor to launch an official investigation into reports that officials at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) illegally manipulated a key evaluation of charter school oversight agencies by omitting failing grades from many online charters.
State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today expressed disappointment in the passage of House Bill 180, legislation that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.
“House Bill 180 is an anti-Ohio jobs bill and that is why I voted no. House Bill 180 limits the opportunity of residents of the 8th House District to get work from the $331 million Opportunity Corridor project,” said Smith. “What this bill does do is create jobs for out-of-state workers on Ohio public works jobsites. They will get a paycheck here and spend it somewhere else. This bill hurts Ohio’s middle class and working families.”
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The historic 5-4 decision overturns a 6th Circuit Court case brought by Ohio native Jim Obergefell and invalidates bans on same-sex marriage across the country, including the one in Ohio. Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) issued this statement following the court’s historic ruling:
“Love does not discriminate. I am happy that from this day forward, marriage equality is a right available to all Americans. I celebrate this day and salute the decades of activism that helped bring about this victory.”
State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 64, the state’s two-year budget bill. Democratic legislators voted against the measure, which they say lacks a vision to grow the economy and offers little opportunity for average Ohioans to get ahead. Instead, Democrats argue the bill advances partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 64, the state’s two-year budget bill. Democratic legislators voted against the measure, which they say lacks a vision to grow the economy and offers little opportunity for average Ohioans to get ahead. Instead, Democrats argue the bill advances partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state.
“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”
“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”
State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced over $662,000 in state funding for the East Cleveland City Schools District through the state’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.