A House legislative panel today came one step closer to passing legislation, Senate Bill 152, 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.
Some Ohio communities use local hiring requirements on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. The City of Akron – currently in the midst of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.
“I am very disappointed that the legislature continues to ignore The City of Akron and our freedom to make decisions that get people back to work and stabilize our local economy,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes. “My colleagues and I worked diligently to present alternatives that would employ city residents.”
State Rep. John Boccieri today wrote to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) regarding outstanding concerns over when the agency claims it first learned of test results revealing water contamination in Sebring, Ohio. Boccieri's office recently received documentation from the state's water testing vendor, Ream and Haagar Environmental Lab, that confirms the vendor first notified the Ohio EPA in August of test results showing elevated lead levels in Sebring's water.
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today announced legislation to establish clear standards for water testing and public notification procedures in cases of lead contamination. The legislation comes in the midst of the Sebring water crisis, in which records have revealed that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to notify residents of Sebring, Ohio that area water had higher-than-normal levels of lead for almost five months.
Marking the seventh anniversary of the federal Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Ohio House Democratic Women Democratic (OHDWC) lawmakers today highlighted efforts underway in the legislature that would level the economic playing field for women in Ohio, including “Equal Pay for Equal Work” legislation.
“A lot has changed for families, women and workplaces since the 1950s. It is time to stop treating women only as homemakers and recognize the fundamental leadership roles we hold in the corporations, public service and the family unit,” said OHDWC Chair and State Rep. Fedor (D-Toledo). “Equal pay for equal work is a keystone of our American values of freedom and fairness. It is time for our state to take the lead and show women, families and the nation that equal pay can’t wait.”
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today called on the Ohio House of Representatives to subpoena Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler to answer questions relating to the state’s failure to protect the public for some six months after toxic drinking water was found in Sebring and Beloit, Ohio.
The lawmaker has repeatedly called on the director of the Ohio EPA to provide the public with answers to basic questions surrounding the renewal of water permits and sluggish communication that forced seniors, pregnant mothers and children to unknowingly drink water contaminated with copper and lead.
“We have received no answer to our repeated questions about steps taken by the EPA, which shares a moral and legal obligation to notify the public when such a crisis evolves, to remedy this crisis.” Boccieri wrote in the letter to Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger.
EPA Director Butler is Gov. John Kasich’s former policy advisor and was appointed by Gov. Kasich to the Ohio EPA after the former director resigned amid questions of improper political pressure on state water regulators.
A copy of the letter is attached with text available below:
State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) this week introduced House Bill 438, legislation to designate the week before Thanksgiving as “Ohio Public Education Appreciation Week.” Proposed as an occasion to celebrate public education and honor individuals that make a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education, the annual period of recognition will coincide with the national American Education Week, which was initiated by the National Education Association in 1921.
“A child’s education is an invaluable asset that they carry with them for their entire life. Now, more than ever, it is important to show our strong support for public education,” said Patterson, who is a retired public school teacher and coach. “Educators across our state are dealing with budget cuts and unprecedented scrutiny at the local and state level. We should use this opportunity to affirm our support of Ohio’s dedicated public educators and recognize the important role they have in our communities.”
The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today swore in former assistant attorney general Kristin Boggs as state representative for the 18th House District. Boggs – the daughter of former State Senate Minority Leader and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Bob Boggs – will take over the seat most recently held by former Rep. Michael Stinziano, who left at the end of 2015 to serve on Columbus City Council.
“I am looking forward to going to work for the people of the 18th House District, it will be an honor to serve the community. There are many important issues being debated at the statehouse, and I will strive to advance policies that keep central Ohio growing in the direction that our residents expect and deserve,” Boggs said. “Columbus enjoys a world class university system, a growing economy and thriving cultural community— I will work hard to make sure that all individuals and families have opportunity, equality, and success.”
Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) introduced legislation this week to establish the “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day” in honor of Mrs. Annie Glenn and to recognize all Ohioans who have struggled with a communication disorder. The legislation designates February 17, Annie Glenn’s birthday, as the official day of recognition.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) hosted the Seventh Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day today at the Ohio Statehouse, as lawmakers, law enforcement officials, advocates and survivors from across the state and nation gathered for a day of discussion on ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio. Fedor also outlined the next legislative steps in fighting modern-day slavery through reforming Ohio’s DNA collection methods, something she has proposed through House Bill 283.
Lorain City Schools officials and local lawmakers today announced plans calling for community stakeholders to participate in open dialogue sessions to develop a plan to improve educational achievement for students and take proactive measures to avoid further state control.
“Community-based solutions that put our children’s future first can’t only come from Columbus,” said Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). “That is why it is so important that local leaders, lawmakers, educators, parents and students come together to put forward a plan that works by giving all of our children an equal opportunity to earn an education that puts them on a trajectory toward success.”