State Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry (D-Austintown), the Dean of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, today announced the caucus has selected their new leadership team for the 131st General Assembly. State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) was elected to the highest minority leadership position, House Democratic Leader, in a vote this evening.
Rounding out the Democratic leadership team will be Rep. Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma) serving as Assistant Democratic Leader; Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus), Democratic Whip; and Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), Assistant Democratic Whip.
“I am honored to have the support of my colleagues and constituents as we prepare for the challenges and opportunities our state faces,” said Rep. Strahorn. “In this time of rebuilding and growth, I look forward to working hard, hand in hand to improve the State of Ohio. Whether it’s the fight for good-paying jobs or investments in education, Ohioans need government that works for everyone, and we get that.”
Leader-Elect Strahorn returns to a leadership position in the House, having previously served as House Democratic Whip in the 127th General Assembly. Strahorn, now serving his second consecutive term, was initially elected to the House in 2000 after serving as an aide in the state legislature. Following four terms as a House lawmaker, Strahorn served in the Ohio Senate for two years, completing the term of Sen. Tom Roberts.
Along with his experience in public service, Strahorn has worked in real estate, government affairs and as a political advisor in Democratic politics.
The leadership team and incoming legislators are expected to be sworn in during the first week of January at the Ohio Statehouse.
During a University of Toledo Board of Trustees meeting Monday afternoon, State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and several leaders of the community presented a proposal for the establishment of a Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute within the College of Social Justice and Human Service at the University of Toledo.
“It was an honor to address members of the University of Toledo’s Board of Trustees,” said Rep. Fedor. “The Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute will build on the landmark research and prestigious work of UT Professor Dr. Celia Williamson, and it will have a profound impact, not just locally, but worldwide. As the only one of its kind, the work of this institute will go a long way towards rescuing and restoring victims, as well as aiding in the prosecution of the criminals.”
For the past nine years, Rep. Fedor has been a leading advocate in the fight to end human trafficking. Most recently, Rep. Fedor passed Sub. H.B. 130, the End Demand Act. In 2012, the General Assembly passed Rep. Fedor’s Safe Harbor Act – a victim centered bill aimed at providing protection, prosecution and prevention. And while in the Senate, Fedor passed Ohio’s first bill to define human trafficking and make it illegal, Senate Bill 235.
Veterans Day is more than just a day to say “thank you.” As elected officials, we owe our own service in return for our veterans’ sacrifices of time away from the home front—not just for one day, but for the lifetime of our calling.
State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) today sent a letter to state school board members, urging them to reconsider a plan to overturn state standards for school faculty ratios in art education, music education, physical education, guidance counseling, library sciences and physical and mental health.
The text of the letter is below:
A leading organization in the fight against human trafficking, Shared Hope International, today released its 2014 “Protected Innocence Challenge” state ratings on human trafficking laws. Ohio improved slightly under the new rankings, up some 5 points from 2013, but still received a “C” or 78 out of 100.
“Despite receiving a “C” letter grade, I am pleased to see Ohio has made significant improvements in several areas that are critical to protecting children from sex trafficking,” said State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). “I will continue to advocate for stronger anti-trafficking laws until Ohio is the standard-bearer for fighting this serious violation of human rights.”
With the passage of Rep. Fedor’s “End Demand Act” Ohio saw gains in the areas of Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking; Criminal Provisions for Traffickers; and Protective Provisions for Child Victims.
Rep. Teresa Fedor’s “End Demand Act” is largely focused on tackling the black market-driven demand for purchasing commercial sex by:
-Increasing penalties from a misdemeanor to a felony for purchasing sex from a minor.
-Requiring offenders to register as tier two sex offenders.
-Prohibiting the advertisement of massage services that promise sexual activity.
-Terminating parental rights for those found trafficking their children.
The bill was signed into law in June of this year.
State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma) sent a letter today to Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder asking him to consider legislation, House Bill 628, that would authorize the state’s Inspector General (IG) to investigate the Attorney General’s (AG) office for any wrongful acts or omissions following continued allegations of harassment in the office.
State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today urged the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue working to establish state standards for safe levels of microcystin in Ohio’s public water systems, a step that would be required with the passage of the Lake Erie lawmakers’ legislation—House Bill 625.
State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) sent a letter Tuesday to Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Rick Hodges requesting the state’s preparedness plan for a potential Ebola infection in the state. The lawmaker stressed the importance of treatment, prevention and quarantine protocols to contain any potential patients.
“In light of this ongoing outbreak, I believe it is imperative that Ohio has adequate protocols in place to treat any cases in our state and to prevent transmission of potentially deadly diseases,” said Rep. Hagan. “It is important that the new leadership at ODH is able to communicate a comprehensive contagion management plan to health providers, lawmakers and taxpayers.”
The lawmaker’s letter follows the infection of over 8,000 individuals worldwide, mainly in Western Africa. To date in the United States, one patient has died from the Ebola virus in Dallas, TX.
A copy of Rep. Hagan’s letter can be seen below.