State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) recently testified in the House Health and Aging Committee on House Bill (HB) 132—or the Ohio Prevention First Act—legislation that seeks to prevent unintended pregnancies by offering comprehensive, abstinence-inclusive sexual health education for teens and ensure greater access to contraception.
“By providing young adults with responsible sexual education, we can not only prevent unintended pregnancies, but educate those on the health risks of unprotected sex,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Adolescents will engage in sexual activity whether we acknowledge it or not. It is important that we provide them with the necessary tools to make informed decisions when it comes to sex and contraception.”
House Democratic lawmakers today voted against Substitute Senate Bill 331, legislation that lets the state grab more power from local communities by overriding local bans on unlicensed puppy mill sales to pet stores and prohibiting local communities from taking up ballot issues on policies like minimum wage and paid family leave.
“As Americans and Ohioans, we hold close the value and right of self-determination. A one-size-fits-all approach from the state just doesn’t work for our local communities.” –House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)
The Ohio House today put the final stamp of approval on opioid omnibus legislation after months of inaction during the rapidly growing opioid addiction crisis. Ohio was recently identified as the national leader in opioid and heroin overdose deaths by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Data.
“We need to deliver emergency funding for an emergency need. Communities cannot wait for ninety days or until the next budget cycle to get the support and resources they desperately need now,” said Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati). “In the meantime, more families will lose loved ones to addiction and treatment providers will continue to be stretched thin as they try to respond to this crisis.”
Eleventh-hour lawmaking brought the strictest abortion ban in the nation to Gov. John Kasich’s desk this evening, for his signature into law. With U.S. Senate inaction giving way to a pending U.S. Supreme Court justice appointment from President-elect Donald Trump, Ohio Republicans appear to be counting on a new federal bench to re-litigate the constitutionality of their attacks on women’s health care. But Roe v. Wade is settled law upheld most recently by the Whole Women’s Health decision which overturned undue burdens on women’s access to abortion.
“The six-week ban is a shameful, gross government invasion of deeply personal and private decisions made by families and women in consultation with medical professionals. The role of government should not be one that overrides the sovereignty women have over their own bodies and healthcare decisions. The fact that this unconstitutional ban doesn’t even include an exception for rape or incest is an embarrassment that directly conflicts with our values as Americans.” –House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)
House Democratic lawmakers today criticized the passage of House Bill (HB) 554, saying legislation that changes the state’s energy efficiency standards to unenforceable “goals” through 2019 will harm consumers and jeopardize thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry.
“Ohio has a long and proud history as a leader in the industrial economy. However, as globalism expands and corporations ship more blue collar jobs overseas, we must adapt and invest in advanced technologies to pave the path to economic stability for working families, but this bill sets us back.” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton).
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) responded to yesterday’s certification of the Ohio’s vote totals.
“There was both good news and bad news this year in the counting of Ohio’s votes,” said Rep. Clyde. “Because of our long fight to count ballots and the persistence of voting rights advocates, the good news is that 7,515 illegally purged voters had their ballots counted instead of thrown out yesterday. If Secretary Husted had prevailed, those ballots would have been thrown out again and the provisional ballot count rate would have been the worst since Ken Blackwell ran the 2004 election. Instead, the 2016 count rate was just under average for the last decade.
State Reps. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and David Leland (D-Columbus) today announced they plan to introduce new legislation aimed at restoring true democracy in America by ensuring the presidential candidate that receives the greatest total of votes is the candidate that ends up in the White House. This legislation proposes that Ohio join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a group of states that pledge their entire Electoral College delegation to the winner of the national popular vote during the general election.
“This is a change that is long overdue. Two-thirds of the presidents elected in my adult life will have been chosen by the Electoral College in their first term without a corresponding majority of the electorate,” said Ramos. “Our current framework does not respect the direct will of the people. This is patently undemocratic and undermines confidence in the people that we are truly a democracy.”
Along party lines, the Ohio Senate’s Public Utilities Committee today rejected Gov. John Kasich’s appointment of M. Howard Petricoff, a Democrat, to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Petricoff’s appointment to the PUCO more closely followed historical interpretations of Ohio law that prevents PUCO from having more than three commissioners affiliated with or belonging to the same political party.
“The Senate’s rejection of Mr. Petricoff is a case in point as to why reform is needed in the way Ohio’s public utility law has been interpreted in recent years,” said David Leland (D-Columbus). “In Mr. Petricoff, it seems we have a qualified and experienced choice that would bring balance and diversity in philosophy to the work of the commission, but recent party-line appointments have empowered lawmakers to put political party above all else. Balance and competing perspectives are fundamental to ensuring sound public policy that weighs the interests of business with the health and checkbooks of Ohio consumers.”
State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today hailed recent calls to action at both the state and federal level for more comprehensive efforts to improve the health of Lake Erie, saying cooperation and unity were key to ensuring the region’s greatest natural resource is adequately protected and preserved for future generations.
On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) made a joint plea for the U.S. EPA to step in and designate the open water of Lake Erie’s western basin as impaired under the federal Clean Water Act. The same day, Sheehy offered sponsor testimony on House Resolution (HR) 214, legislation encouraging support for the 2016 agreement between Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio that established a goal of a 40 percent phosphorus reduction in the lake by 2025.
House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) took issue with the decision today by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to revoke the operating license for the Women’s Medical Center of Dayton.
“I believe women have the constitutional right to make their own personal healthcare decisions in consultation with their physician and their families,” said Strahorn. “Not only does this decision jeopardize that fundamental freedom and right, but it stands on shaky legal ground by using questionable policies that have been drawn into constitutional question by Ohio courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.”