Democratic lawmakers say today’s request by the Kasich administration for over $9 million in state emergency funds for law enforcement costs from the RNC 2016 convention show the governor has the power to take a similar approach in fighting the statewide opioid and heroin epidemic. Today’s state Controlling Board request comes at the same time the administration has danced around multiple requests to declare a statewide emergency on the opioid and heroin epidemic that claimed the lives of eight Ohioans on average every day last year.
“Requesting millions in emergency funds for a political event already past underscores the fact that the governor has broad authority to declare an emergency in our state,” said Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus), who sits on the state Controlling Board. “Thousands of Ohioans have lost their lives to opioid abuse and addiction in recent years; that, to me, is a statewide emergency. I would love to hear from the governor why he continues to refuse to bring the full force of the state to bear on the growing statewide opioid epidemic.”
State Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) today announced the release of $1,827,843 in state funds to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) for upgrades to five of the state’s mental health facilities. Among MHAS facilities selected to receive a portion of the Network Switch & Cabling Upgrade funds is the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital (NOPH) in Lucas County.
State Rep. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) today announced the approval of a $500,000 state loan to Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) for the construction of a new corporate office in North Jackson, Mahoning County. Expected to open in August 2017, the new state-of-the-art 16,524 sq. ft. corporate office will be built in the Youngstown Commerce Park and allow the not-for-profit public safety organization to create nine new jobs and retain 66 existing jobs. Once the new building is complete, the headquarters will house all 75 of the nonprofit’s employees.
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and state Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded to today’s 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the district court and ordering Secretary of State Jon Husted to stop purging voters for inactivity:
“Thankfully, today’s court decision effectively halts Ohio’s unlawful voter registration cancellations and will hopefully lead to the end of this arbitrary silencing of voters’ voices.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued a challenge to Ohio College Democratic chapters each to register 50 students during National Voter Registration Day activities on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This marks the second year Clyde has issued the challenge. Last year’s challenge saw student groups register hundreds during campus registration drives.
“Young voters, students and low-income voters oftentimes have the most trouble staying on the rolls,” said Rep. Clyde. “This challenge is a way to engage young people, register voters and alert Ohioans of the current voter registration requirements so they are not left behind come Election Day.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following response to Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s mischaracterization of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which found Husted’s voter registration purging to be illegal and ordered him to stop purging voters for not voting:
“I refuse to let this secretary of state mischaracterize yet another win for Ohio voters. Jon Husted’s suggestion that we want ineligible or dead voters on the rolls is nothing but inflammatory partisan politics. This decision validates the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of people who never should have been purged in the first place – people who simply moved within the state or didn’t vote in every election. I look forward to seeing the hundreds of thousands of purged Ohioans who are still eligible to vote restored to the rolls.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the district court and ordering Secretary Husted to stop purging voters for not voting:
“Today’s decision is a victory for voters, voting rights and common sense. Husted must stop illegally purging eligible and registered voters. Now, Ohioans who are registered and show up to vote can be confident that their ballots will be counted instead of thrown out.
State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today encouraged local education leaders and parents to avoid reading too much into new state report cards for local school districts. School districts across the state Thursday received report cards under a new testing system.
“Schools once again are forced to adjust to the ever-changing education policies that come out of Columbus,” said Cera. “Just as teachers, administrators, students and parents figure out the last round of standards, Columbus is putting a new system in place, and it is frustrating to say the least. But, we cannot be discouraged by a new state website with flawed letter grades. In many classrooms throughout our community, we know our kids and teachers are making progress, much of which can’t be measured by bureaucrats in Columbus or a test vendor in Washington.”
Over the past three years, the state has changed testing vendors and methods three times, leaving local districts with a constantly changing evaluation system for student achievement.
Following the state’s release of so-called school “report cards” today, state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), the House Democratic Caucus education lead – is releasing the open letter below to all statewide news editors and education reporters:
“The floggings will continue until morale improves.” This famous line attributed to Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty has also been used to summarize the state of contemporary education policy. Now that the federal government has recognized the flaws inherent in trying to promote learning through punishment and set a new course with the more flexible Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Ohio could also right our course. Instead, Republicans and the Ohio Department of Education are more than doubling-down on the punishment strategy by delivering six letter grades in a gimmick known as the state school report card.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Sen. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) joined local advocates and elected officials today in South Euclid, Ohio to highlight pending legislation that calls for amending the U.S. Constitution and eliminate First Amendment protections for corporate personhood, abolishing the notion that money is equated to speech. The lawmakers are introducing a statewide resolution in the Ohio legislature to support the proposed federal amendment.
“It goes without saying that when the founding fathers wrote the First Amendment they were concerned with the rights of John Doe the individual, not John Doe’s private investment company,” said Smith. “When money is considered speech, those who have the most money have the most speech. This contradicts the basic cornerstone philosophy of American democracy of one person, one vote.”