The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.
The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.
“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”
The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.
State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) today introduced the Ohio Health Security Act, a bill to establish a single-payer health care plan in Ohio to universally cover medical, dental and vision services. Payments to health care providers for all eligible benefits will be made from a single public fund, called the Ohio Health Care Fund.
Since taking office this year, state Rep. Tavia Galonski has set her sights on increasing the quality of life for the hardworking taxpayers of the 35th House District. Jobs, education and the safety of our children are just a few of the freshman lawmaker's priorities at the Statehouse.
See what drives her committment to our state and her dedication to serving you in this uniqe glimpse into Rep. Galonski's life with Rep. Emilia Sykes in "Get to Know Galonski."
As always, she wants to hear from you about issues that impact you, your family and your community. Be sure to tune until the end to see how you can reach out and make your voice heard!
The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today responded to the newly unveiled GOP unemployment compensation bill that freezes unemployment compensation for ten years, increases unemployment insurance tax rates from .02 to .03 percent for employers, and adds a new ten-percent tax on employees.
“As Americans we believe in getting paid for the work you do. But now, after helping to build our bottom line in Ohio, working people will take home less pay for doing the same job under this legislation,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “That’s wrong.”
The legislation also reduces the amount of time a person remains eligible for unemployment insurance by two weeks, from 26 to 24.
“An automatic pay cut is not what most families and people have in mind when I talk to them about the priorities at their statehouse,” added Leader Strahorn. “People are concerned about owning a home, sending kids to school and trying to save what they can to get ahead.”
State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio Senate’s unanimous passage of House Bill 94, marking its last legislative stop before Gov. John Kasich’s anticipated signature into law. Jointly sponsored by Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), the bipartisan legislation establishes February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Ohio in an effort to raise awareness around teen dating violence in hopes of preventing abuse and helping victims find safety.
“By designating February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we are giving light to something that is tragically effecting our youth at high rates,” said Sykes. “Increasing public awareness and raising the profile of this problem in schools, communities and throughout our state will help more people get the help they need to stop the cycle of violence.”
The Office of Criminal Justice Services Family Violence Prevention Center defines dating abuse as a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against his or her girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury or even death, but does not have to be physical. One in five children between the ages of 11-14 say their friends are victims of dating violence. Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school.
State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) released a statement today responding to the Barberton shooting that took place Tuesday, Oct. 3 near Barber Road:
“In the wake of the unthinkable horror in Las Vegas, it is absolutely devastating to be faced with an active shooter here at home, in our community. I am immensely grateful to the Barberton, Norton, and Copley first responders who ran toward danger to keep us safe. Because of their swift and brave response, the suspect was taken into custody and another potential tragedy has been avoided.”
Galonski represents Ohio’s 35th district, which is comprised of parts of Akron and Barberton.
State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today introduced House Bill 368, The Fair Lending through Land Contracts Act, which will establish new protections for Ohioans who are buying homes through “lease to own” or “rent to own” agreements. Along with protecting consumers, the legislation will strengthen communities throughout the state by requiring sellers to correct code violations and pay outstanding fines before they can enter into a land installment contract (LIC) with a prospective buyer.
“When done right, these contracts provide a path to home ownership for people who do not qualify for a traditional mortgage loan,” said Lepore-Hagan. “It is unfortunate that a growing number of unscrupulous firms are now using the agreements to trap trusting buyers in predatory loans.”
Rep. Lepore-Hagan drafted the legislation in response to concerns about abuses in the LIC market raised by consumers, traditional lenders, advocacy organizations, local government officials and the news media.
“Companies swooped into Ohio and other states devastated by the collapse of the housing market, bought homes for pennies on the dollar, inflated the value of the homes, then enticed borrowers to enter into high-interest, long-term loans they have little, if any, chance or repaying,” Lepore-Hagan said.
The problem has become so severe that the City of Cincinnati recently filed suit against Harbour Portfolio Advisors, the nation’s largest seller of foreclosed properties, alleging
State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today was named to a four-member, bipartisan panel of state legislators to review and suggest reforms to the way Ohio draws districts for congressional seats. Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative in 2015 to reform redistricting for statehouse districts.
“Our Democracy is strongest when people feel like their vote counts, and that starts with putting an end to gerrymandering in Ohio,” said state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “We expect a process that is open, transparent and accountable to all public voices, groups and citizens who want change and progress. We need to put our political differences aside and do right by those who sent us here.”
Four lawmakers, two Republicans and two Democrats, will review current congressional redistricting practices, gather input from the public and make recommendations to the General Assembly later this year. Any action state lawmakers take would need approval from the voters, and a proposal could be placed on the statewide ballot as early as next year.
“Throughout his time at the Statehouse, Rep. Cera has been a voice for fairness and accountability. His experience, knowledge and expertise will be invaluable to this group and to the taxpayers who want us to work together to deliver results,” said Minority Leader Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton).
Working group meetings are expected to be held as soon as this month, though official dates and times have yet to be released.
State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) today released the following statement in response to the deadly Las Vegas Strip shooting which claimed the lives of at least 50 people and injured hundreds:
"I am shocked and dismayed at the latest attack in Las Vegas. With more than fifty killed and 200 injured, the media is calling this attack the ‘deadliest’ shooting in U.S. History. My heart goes out to the many victims and their families, who I can only imagine feel hopeless, alone, and motionless as they struggle to cope with the unbearably unexpected.
“I am thankful to law enforcement for fighting to protect one of our most basic human needs – safety. Though our instinct is to run away from gunfire and bullets, our law enforcement officers run toward the sound of gunfire to save lives; and for that, we are extremely grateful.”