State Reps. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) joined more than 100 state legislators from 36 states and both major political parties to build consensus on leading environmental issues at the 2017 National Issues Forum in Boston this week organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). The event offered opportunities for lawmakers and sustainability advocates to collaborate on policy solutions to remove toxins from consumer products, and to conserve water, public lands and endangered species.
“The dangers of ignoring environmental issues and the benefits of using clean energy are crystal clear,” said Howse. “By laying a foundation for environmental sustainability, we can help grow our economy, attract clean energy businesses and bring better jobs to our state.”
State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today responded to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to limit affirmative action policies in college and university admissions.
“Attorney Sessions’ decision to target our fundamental American values of equal opportunity and fairness threatens the future of higher education and limits the potential of students everywhere,” said Howse. “In this day and age, we should be banded together as a country, seeking to spread opportunity and expand the franchise of the American Dream for people who work hard and pay taxes.”
State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that Canton, Ohio has been selected to host the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus’ 50th anniversary celebration this fall. African American state lawmakers from all across Ohio will convene in Stark County for the two-day event on October 1-2 to recognize the important milestone and chart a course for the future for the historic legislative organization.
“For fifty years, the OLBC has been a leading voice in the fight to improve the lives of all working Ohioans, including the more than 1.6 million African Americans who call Ohio home,” said OLBC President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). “We are excited to celebrate our 50-year milestone in Canton and look forward to continuing to push for policies that promote equality and expand economic opportunities for minority Ohioans.”
In a political effort to hamstring Ohio House Democratic lawmakers in a pro-gun, anti-gun debate today on the House floor, Republicans brought forward House Bill (HB) 233 for a vote, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor.
“This bill places a dangerous precedent by allowing deadly weapons in daycares and schools and offers out-of-line protections for concealed gun holders” said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). “Public safety is a concern for all legislators, but this bill raises a higher public safety concern by seeking to protect gun owners more than our children.”
Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion will have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.
“While we may be able to sigh a bit of relief as the freeze on Medicaid expansion was put on hold, the attack on working families and poor people in Ohio continues," said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). "Preventive healthcare should not be optional, based on the opinion of a select few in the legislature. The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing and Ohio's economy is lagging most of the nation. We need to focus our attention on improving our state's economy and the overall wellbeing of Ohioans.”
State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) earlier this week joined the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), over 550 state legislators from across the country, in issuing a statement regarding their commitment to maintaining U.S. leadership on fighting climate change and adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Climate change is a multi-faceted issue that has broad effects from the local to global level. The scientific evidence on changes in our environment is very real and alarming,” said Howse. “This may potentially cause economic harm by not requiring top businesses to commit to clean energy production, even though CEOs and business leaders nationwide advocated for the continuance of the Paris Agreement. I believe state and local governments need to continue the discussion on solutions for climate change and work together to help the U.S. have a stake in the global economy for clean, renewable energy.”
State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today voted “no” on the Republican-led charge to restrict workers’ access to healthcare and benefits through the state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) budget bill, House Bill 27. The bill passed the House Insurance Committee and the House Finance Committee on a party-line vote Tuesday.
“Ohio’s brave firefighters deserve the right to healthcare benefits for work-related cancer,” said Howse. “First responders are on the frontlines everyday fighting fires and rescuing our citizens from disasters – they deserve better than this legislation.”
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and state Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) joined fellow OLBC lawmakers Tuesday for the group’s annual Day of Action. The event provided an opportunity for Ohioans to interact with state legislators and discuss issues that affect their families, communities and everyday life. The theme this year, “Still History, Still Black: Championing the Causes of African-Americans in Ohio Year-Round,” focused on struggles that disproportionately affect the black community.
“Black history is more than one month,” said Howse. “The problems and triumphs black Ohioans experience are year-round. We must nurture and encourage more engagement between black people and their elected officials to make sure all Ohioans feel connected and empowered to advocate for their own interests. We also need lawmakers to be more aware of the obstacles we all experience as Ohioans but that disproportionately affect black families. Together we can make sure black Ohioans are stronger, because when black Ohioans are strong – our state is strong.”
State Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today announced the introduction of the Ohio Equal Pay Act, a bill that would help close the longstanding gender pay gap between men and women in the Buckeye State.
“The Ohio Equal Pay Act is important because women across Ohio are giving their all, both in the workplace and in the home, and are being paid less than they’re worth,” said Rep. Howse. “More women than ever before are the primary breadwinner for their families. Without equal pay, these families are living with a financial deficit they will never make up. Equal pay isn’t just right for women, it’s right for families and our economy as a whole.”
State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) tonight expressed disappointment in Gov. Kasich’s state of the state address, saying the governor failed to provide 11 million Ohioans an explanation on why the state is on “the verge of a recession” after six years under his leadership. The lawmaker also noted that the governor’s budget failed to adequately address the real state of the economy, education, healthcare and recent drastic state cuts to communities in Ohio.
“The Governor's proposed budget does not make necessary investments to meet the unique needs of all Ohioans,” said Howse. “Representing one of the poorest districts in Ohio, I hoped the State of the State would focus on equitable education funding, livable wage career opportunities and proper investments in public infrastructure and transportation to help put our citizens on the path toward a brighter future.”