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House Democratic lawmakers applauded today’s U.S. district court decision in which Secretary of State Husted was ordered to set hours for the final three days of voting in all counties and reverse the illegal cuts he made in February of this year.

“While it is disappointing that our GOP-controlled state government continues to put up unconstitutional roadblocks to Ohioans’ sacred right to vote, I am pleased that the federal courts have once again sided with Ohio voters.

“The court’s order to restore the last three days of early voting will ensure access to the polls for Ohio voters at a time when precincts and polling locations have been cut and consolidated.

“I remain hopeful that a day will come when all elected officials focus on improving voter participation instead of limiting it.”—House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus)

“I applaud today’s ruling as a victory for Ohio voters. But, we should remember that this is simply a temporary solution to a permanent problem in Ohio. Ohioans deserve to have their rights enumerated in a way that is not subject to the whims of a political party’s majority in state government. I encourage Secretary Husted to take this ruling as a mandate to uphold Ohioans sacred right to vote.” –State Rep. and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati)

“As we have been telling Secretary Husted for the past two years, the legislature has not succeeded in any of its many attempts to cut off the last three days of early voting—it ends on Monday before the election. End of story. I am happy that a court has once again protected the rights of Ohio’s voters, and I urge Secretary Husted to accept this ruling and move on.” –State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent)


New reporting reveals Governor's office not truthful again on marketing plan promoting fracking
June 2, 2014

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) is renewing calls for the state Inspector General to open an investigation into the cozy relationship between Governor John Kasich and the oil and gas industry after new details regarding a plan to sell Ohioans on the “benefits” of fracking in state parks were revealed in Saturday’s edition of the Columbus Dispatch.

The Kasich administration indicated in February that any consideration of fracking in state parks had ended in August of 2012, but records obtained through a public records request by the Columbus Dispatch show that meetings between high-level officials in the governor’s office and ODNR to discuss the marketing plan continued for months afterward.

The original pro-fracking marketing plan from Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources uncovered in February showed the regulatory agency working closely with big oil and gas companies and Gov. Kasich to identify, stifle and discredit groups and elected officials concerned with drilling in state parks. The document listed Rep. Hagan by name along with several state environmental organizations on a list of “opposition groups,” while “allied groups” included the Governor’s office, JobsOhio and big oil and gas companies, such as Halliburton. 

Prompted in part by the revealing of the original public relations strategy, Rep. Hagan joined several other state representatives this spring in calling for an investigation into whether the Kasich administration and Ohio’s regulatory agencies exert inappropriate political pressure to the benefit of certain energy companies. So far there has been no response from the Inspector General. 

“The lack of honesty and transparency coming from the Governor’s office is alarming, and these new disclosures should raise a big red flag for the Inspector General,” Rep. Hagan said. “Ohioans deserve better than a Gover

Celebrates icon's contributions to civil rights, positive social discourse
May 28, 2014

State Rep. and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today released the following statement mourning the loss of iconic author, poet and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou:

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of Dr. Maya Angelou, and yet we are able to find great joy and comfort in knowing that her indelible contributions to social justice, civil rights and positive social discourse will carry on for lifetimes to come.

“I consider meeting Dr. Angelou one of the greatest honors of my life. Her dedication to bettering the lives of others truly made our world a better place. She redefined beauty and self-esteem among African American girls and women, and she defined courage in her iconic poem ‘Still I Rise.’”

Lawmakers say lives of kidnapped teenagers deserve legislative attention
May 22, 2014

State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced they have introduced a series of bills to bring charter schools up to public school standards.

The lawmakers, both former public school teachers, said charter schools should conduct the same teacher evaluations as public schools, and that the state’s third grade reading guarantee should be equally applied to students on state vouchers. They also want to see a state study commission in place, one that would review the effectiveness of charter school regulations and issue findings to the legislature and governor.

“To truly provide an adequate and equitable education for our children, all schools must be at the same starting line together with the same final goals in mind,” said Rep. Fedor. “These bills would move our state closer to that balance while putting common sense reviews in place to measure the effectiveness of charter school regulations.”

Ohio to become first state to move backward on energy efficiency standards
May 22, 2014
Lawmakers Say Stopping Energy Standards Costs Ohio's Economy, Consumers and Environment

State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) on Wednesday discussed potentially harmful implications of Senate Bill 310, legislation to suspend Ohio’s—by most accounts, successful—advanced energy standards. If SB 310 becomes law, it would make Ohio the first state to reverse Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) by eliminating targets for advanced energy and freezing targets for renewable energy.

Offer suggestions to restore early voting, improve voter outreach, fix ballot defects
May 16, 2014

Ohio House and Senate Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted urging him to implement a checklist of positive suggestions for putting the voters first and truly making it easier to vote in Ohio. Highlights include suggestions to restore early voting, let voters search the Secretary’s website by their home address for their polling place, allow all Ohioans to use online voter registration and comply with Ohio’s laws for voter instructions and public comment on directives.

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