Democratic lawmakers from the Ohio House and Senate held a press conference today pushing for legislative action to combat the worsening statewide opioid emergency. Senate Democratic Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and state Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron) pushed for the legislature and the governor to finish work on Senate Bill (SB) 319, opioid and heroin omnibus legislation that the Senate passed before the summer recess but has since stalled in the House.
“Senate Bill 319— which helps decrease the availability of opioids throughout Ohio— is a good piece of legislation, and I was proud to support it,” said Schiavoni. “However, we know there is much more work to be done. Communities have experienced a troubling number of overdoses this summer. The public is calling for action, and it’s time we equip them with the resources they need to fight this epidemic.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today provided details about last week's historic court victory, which will put more than 1.2 million Ohio voters back on the voting rolls.
Rep. Clyde and Andre Washington, a lead plaintiff in the case that restored these voters, outlined the impact of the five year legal battle to rightfully restore purged voters back to the rolls.
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today said that fantasy sports should not constitute a gambling activity that needs to be regulated by the government. The lawmaker’s comments are in response to Senate Bill (SB) 356, legislation recently introduced by Sen. Bill Coley that would ban for-profit fantasy sports and betting on outcomes of an electronic sports contest.
Democratic lawmakers say today’s request by the Kasich administration for over $9 million in state emergency funds for law enforcement costs from the RNC 2016 convention show the governor has the power to take a similar approach in fighting the statewide opioid and heroin epidemic. Today’s state Controlling Board request comes at the same time the administration has danced around multiple requests to declare a statewide emergency on the opioid and heroin epidemic that claimed the lives of eight Ohioans on average every day last year.
“Requesting millions in emergency funds for a political event already past underscores the fact that the governor has broad authority to declare an emergency in our state,” said Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus), who sits on the state Controlling Board. “Thousands of Ohioans have lost their lives to opioid abuse and addiction in recent years; that, to me, is a statewide emergency. I would love to hear from the governor why he continues to refuse to bring the full force of the state to bear on the growing statewide opioid epidemic.”
State Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) today announced the release of $1,827,843 in state funds to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) for upgrades to five of the state’s mental health facilities. Among MHAS facilities selected to receive a portion of the Network Switch & Cabling Upgrade funds is the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital (NOPH) in Lucas County.
State Rep. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) today announced the approval of a $500,000 state loan to Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) for the construction of a new corporate office in North Jackson, Mahoning County. Expected to open in August 2017, the new state-of-the-art 16,524 sq. ft. corporate office will be built in the Youngstown Commerce Park and allow the not-for-profit public safety organization to create nine new jobs and retain 66 existing jobs. Once the new building is complete, the headquarters will house all 75 of the nonprofit’s employees.
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and state Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded to today’s 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the district court and ordering Secretary of State Jon Husted to stop purging voters for inactivity:
“Thankfully, today’s court decision effectively halts Ohio’s unlawful voter registration cancellations and will hopefully lead to the end of this arbitrary silencing of voters’ voices.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued a challenge to Ohio College Democratic chapters each to register 50 students during National Voter Registration Day activities on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This marks the second year Clyde has issued the challenge. Last year’s challenge saw student groups register hundreds during campus registration drives.
“Young voters, students and low-income voters oftentimes have the most trouble staying on the rolls,” said Rep. Clyde. “This challenge is a way to engage young people, register voters and alert Ohioans of the current voter registration requirements so they are not left behind come Election Day.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following response to Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s mischaracterization of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which found Husted’s voter registration purging to be illegal and ordered him to stop purging voters for not voting:
“I refuse to let this secretary of state mischaracterize yet another win for Ohio voters. Jon Husted’s suggestion that we want ineligible or dead voters on the rolls is nothing but inflammatory partisan politics. This decision validates the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of people who never should have been purged in the first place – people who simply moved within the state or didn’t vote in every election. I look forward to seeing the hundreds of thousands of purged Ohioans who are still eligible to vote restored to the rolls.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the district court and ordering Secretary Husted to stop purging voters for not voting:
“Today’s decision is a victory for voters, voting rights and common sense. Husted must stop illegally purging eligible and registered voters. Now, Ohioans who are registered and show up to vote can be confident that their ballots will be counted instead of thrown out.