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New legislation would require governor to complete 40-hour externship in Ohio public schools
March 7, 2017

State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced new legislation – The “GET REALS Act” – to require the governor to complete an annual 40-hour externship in a public elementary or secondary school ranked A-F. 

The Governor’s Externship for Training of Realistic Expectations of Academic Leadership in Schools (GET REALS) comes as Gov. Kasich seeks a law change in his state operating budget to require teachers to shadow businesspeople as a condition of maintaining their professional education licensure. 

“If Governor Kasich is serious about strengthening our schools and preparing our students to succeed, his public policies should be informed by real world, on-the-ground experience that, quite frankly, he lacks,” said Smith

 
 
Johnson announces return to Summit County government

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today announced she will step down at the end of the month as state representative to accept a new position in the office of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro. Johnson will be working as deputy director in the Department of Law. Johnson released the following statement regarding the transition:

“Ilene has been a mentor to me for many years and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of her team. I am excited to join in her vision for Summit County and I will bring my skills as an attorney and an advocate for working class people to the executive’s office. 

“The move is both exciting and bittersweet. I am extremely proud of the strides I made on behalf of the thirty-fifth District, as well as the statewide relationships I established. I will miss my colleagues and staff, but I know they will continue to fight for all of Ohio’s residents.  My staff will continue to serve the people of Akron and Barberton and service will be uninterrupted as my replacement is seated. 

“It has been an honor to serve the people of the thirty-fifth District as state representative and I thank them for their confidence and support. I hope they feel that their voice was amplified at the Statehouse and that their concerns were heard and earnestly pursued. I look forward to continuing to serve them, and all residents of Summit County, in my new position.”

Johnson was elected to her first term in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2014. During her time in the legislature, she been a vocal advocate for women’s rights issues, victims’ assistance, and greater economic parity for Ohio’s workers. Johnson has received recognition for her efforts to remove spousal exemptions for rape cases,  Read Full Story

 
 

In a bipartisan 83-13 vote, the Ohio House today approved the proposed budget plans for the Ohio Department of Transportation and several other state agencies. House Bill 26, the $7.8 billion transportation bill, largely funds infrastructure projects and public safety programs over the next two fiscal years. 

“This transportation budget provides billions for much-needed construction work on Ohio’s roads and bridges and will create jobs,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), ranking member of the House Finance Committee. “With technology advancing at a rapid pace, there is still more work to be done to fully address Ohio’s future transportation needs. However, I am confident that this bill will move Ohio forward.” 

 
 
Ohio could join 48 states in protecting victims of dating violence under HB 1
February 28, 2017

State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 1, her bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. Joint-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia. 

“For far too long, Ohio’s antiquated domestic violence laws have left thousands of Ohioans vulnerable to dating violence,” said Sykes. “My colleagues and I agree: it is past time to pull Ohio out of the dark ages and join the rest of the country in protecting victims of abuse. I am pleased we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to help bring Ohio’s domestic violence protections into the 21st Century.” 

 
 
Lawmaker responds with legislative solution for clean and accurate voter rolls
February 27, 2017

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement that several dozen non-citizens may have voted in at least one election in the last year:

“This is a sad attempt to bolster the President’s lie about massive voter fraud. Secretary Husted’s own numbers again prove that ineligible people voting is almost nonexistent. My big concern is: why are we always hearing about this problem after an election when we can fix it beforehand? My Automatic Voter Registration bill, Ohio House Bill 14, would eliminate the problem of having any ineligible voters on the rolls— but Secretary Husted refuses to support my bill."

 
 

State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today introduced legislation to eliminate spousal exemptions for sex offenses, including rape and sexual battery. Ohio is one of just 13 states which legally treat marital rape differently from other forms of rape.

“We must modernize Ohio’s laws and eradicate unacceptable policy that allows someone to commit violence against their spouse,” said Boggs. “Women and men experiencing sexual violence at the hands of their spouses should not be denied the right to seek justice just because they happen to be married to the offender.”

 
 
Say tax-free shopping weekend will help families save hard-earned dollars
February 23, 2017

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced the introduction of House Bill 89, bipartisan legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. If enacted, HB 89 would establish the sales tax holiday for the third consecutive year. 

“The sales tax holiday is a great opportunity to help Ohio families as they prepare for the new school year, and for members of our communities to support local workers and local businesses,” said Kelly. “By saving families money, we can encourage Ohioans to spend their hard-earned dollars in their own backyard instead of crossing over the border into a neighboring state.” 

 
 
Commissioners say current budget proposal will harm local communities
February 22, 2017

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald) and Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) this morning hosted all three Mahoning County commissioners for a meeting with House Finance Committee Chairman Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton). 

Commissioners David C. Ditzler, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and Anthony Traficanti traveled to Columbus to voice their concerns regarding the negative local impact of Gov. John Kasich’s proposed fix to the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax formula.  

“I’m pleased our delegation’s meeting request to the budget chairmen was granted, and that our commissioners had the opportunity to express their concerns about local revenue loss,” said Boccieri. “The chairmen demonstrated that the legislature is still open to listening to local officials who are on the frontlines and can provide essential perspectives on what will keep our local communities strong and transportation systems running.” 

 
 
Today, Feb. 17, honors all Ohioans who struggle with communication disorders
February 17, 2017

State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today celebrate the first annual “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day” in honor of Mrs. Annie Glenn, to recognize all Ohioans who struggle with a communication disorder. The legislation passed last year and designates February 17, Annie Glenn’s birthday, as the official day of recognition.

“Today, the Ohio House of Representatives celebrates Annie Glenn’s 97th birthday by marking the first annual awareness day honoring her work as an advocate for communication disorders,” said Sheehy. “Afflicted with a severe stutter, Annie Glenn overcame her disorder and become a role model for others facing similar challenges.”

 
 
Bill would incentivize environmentally sensitive agricultural practices to ensure safe drinking water
February 16, 2017

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today reintroduced legislation that seeks to protect and improve the state’s water quality by establishing the Ohio Water Quality Improvement Program, which would incentivize farmers to conserve environmentally sensitive agricultural land rather than use the property for farming or ranching. The bill was first introduced in the 131st General Assembly as House Bill 62.

“There’s nothing more important than the health and well-being of our citizens,” said Patterson. “In addition to ensuring safe and clean drinking water, the Ohio Water Quality Program would promote healthier streams, rivers and estuaries across the state. By partnering with Ohio’s farmers, we can strategically conserve farmland and establish a robust agricultural environment.”