Democratic lawmakers today called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference this morning the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.
“The first step in any road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and it’s time for the administration to recognize the opioid addiction crisis as the public health emergency that it is,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Too many Ohio families are losing loved ones to drug addiction and overdoses. We must marshal all available state resources and attention to fight back against this rapidly growing threat to our communities.”
State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today praised the enactment of House Bill 37, legislation that eliminates the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) limit in breweries across Ohio. The bill that Gov. Kasich signed on May 31 officially goes into effect today, Aug. 29.
Ohio’s old alcohol-by-volume limit on beer was 12 percent. The passage of HB 37 eliminated that limit, allowing Ohio breweries to make and sell beer with a higher concentration of alcohol.
“This law will bring Ohio breweries to a level playing field with breweries in other states that do not have this unnecessary burden,” said Ramos. “It provides a great boon for brewers in an already booming industry.”
State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) today called for emergency state funding to be made available for local communities to combat the rapidly intensifying opioid abuse epidemic in Ohio. The state lawmaker’s call immediately follows after Gov. John Kasich delivered a speech on what he sees as the state’s success in dealing with the drug abuse crisis, but also as the Southwest corner of the state experienced a spike in heroin-related overdoses this week.
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today responded to Gov. John Kasich’s Thursday comments at the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and the state’s actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The governor’s optimistic comments came on the same day the Ohio Department of Health released the report on 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data stating fentanyl-related drug overdoses more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. And the numbers continue to climb. For July 2016, Summit County alone experienced an estimated 395 overdoses, which matched the total number of overdoses in the county for the four months prior combined.*
“State leaders still refuse to call the opioid epidemic what it is: a public health crisis,” said Johnson. “It is imperative we remain hopeful and positive, but only if we are also employing all available resources to the law enforcement officers and treatment providers on the front lines. There has yet to be a coherent, statewide response to this devastating public health crisis that is killing more Ohioans than ever before. Summit County is doing a tremendous job at treating and preventing overdoses in my district, but with greater funding and direction from the state, we could be doing far more.”
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today released the following statement marking the 96th anniversary of the adoption of the nineteenth amendment granting women the right to vote. The lawmaker commemorated the historical significance of the day while calling for greater and swifter action on legislation promoting equality in the state of Ohio.
“Less than 100 years ago, women in this democratic nation were not permitted a voice at the ballot box— our most sacred freedom and civic right,” says Johnson. “Today—only a couple generations later—we are still demanding full political, economic and social equality. The discussion of equal pay, paid parental leave and LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws are not tired issues. These are very real issues which permeate our society and prevent our women, families and communities from reaching their fullest potential.”
Following today’s first meeting of the state’s bicameral, bipartisan legislative panel tasked with fixing the insolvency of Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, one of two Democratic members of the eight-member panel, state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) issued the following statement:
“I am hopeful today’s meeting marks the beginning of a thoughtful and balanced approach to shoring up our state’s ability to meet the needs of jobless Ohioans. I believe it is clear to many lawmakers, businesses and working people that the most recent one-sided partisan proposal, House Bill 394, is wrong for our state because it focused on extreme cuts to the lifeline we extend to vulnerable citizens and families in times of need. I look forward to working across the aisle to come to a fair solution that prioritizes the financial stability of Ohio’s economy and families.”
The highest ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today released the following statement applauding The City of Cleveland’s decision to sue the state to challenge Republican-led legislation that prevents local communities from setting hiring standards on publicly finance projects – a possible violation of Ohio’s “home rule” guarantee in the state constitution:
“Our state’s founding document maintains a fundamental guarantee from the state to local communities that protects the liberty and freedom of local decision making. The local hiring ban ignores our constitution, and casts aside decades of work in communities like Cleveland, Akron and Cincinnati that made it possible to lift up urban communities through equal employment opportunities.”
Democratic lawmakers and members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus today applauded The City of Cleveland’s decision to sue the state to challenge Republican-led legislation that prevents local communities from setting hiring standards on publicly financed projects – a possible violation of Ohio’s “home rule” guarantee in the state constitution.
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and state Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded to today’s federal appeals court decision backing Ohio’s elimination of “Golden Week,” a period in which voters were able to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. The appellate ruling overturned a district judge’s finding that eliminating “Golden Week” had violated the Voting Rights Act by disproportionately impacting African American voters.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel decision overturning the district court and upholding Senate Bill 238’s elimination of the first week of early voting:
“I am very disappointed in this decision from the 6th Circuit panel. The Court ignored the intensive fact-finding done by District Court Judge Watson and applied a test that would appear to allow voting restrictions straight out of the 1950s. The facts uncovered by the lower court remain: there was no sufficient justification to eliminate the first week of early voting and the burden falls disproportionately on Ohio’s minority voters.”