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Rulemaking panel thwarts new rules that would let state close failing, for-profit charter schools
August 22, 2016

Republican lawmakers today used procedural tactics on a little-known administrative rulemaking panel to derail new rules that would have given the state authority to close the poorest performing, for-profit charter schools in Ohio this year. The rules, proposed by the Ohio Department of Education, stem from the legislature’s near-unanimous approval of the much-lauded House Bill 2 in February.

“This is a clear case of Republican charter school industry allies doing everything in their power to derail, disrupt and delay new reforms that would help hold charter schools to a reasonable standard of achievement,” said Rep. Greta Johnson, a Democratic Akron legislator on the state rulemaking panel. “It is incredibly frustrating that higher standards born out of bipartisan, statewide consensus can be derailed by legislators who are closely aligned with these failing schools.”

 
 

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today announced the release of $1,805,477 in state funds to assist state agencies in the creation of the Medical Marijuana Control Program for fiscal year 2017. This past May, lawmakers passed House Bill (HB) 523, bi-partisan legislation to legalize the use of certain forms of medical marijuana in Ohio to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. 

 
 
Says future of Ohio's children depends on access to quality educational opportunities
August 19, 2016

With a looming Aug. 24 deadline to apply for funds through the federal Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants, State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) gathered with over 20 childcare experts and providers from across the state today for a news conference call to urge other Head Start providers to pursue the federal grant while the Toledo lawmaker fights for the reversal of a new Kasich Administration restriction that prohibits layering state and federal funds for early childhood education.

“I don’t want people to lose hope. Our children’s future depends on us pushing forward, collectively with one voice to say we will not back down,” said Fedor. “We will fight for our future. We will fight for our children.”

 
 
Calls on governor to halt rule change that will harm vulnerable, low-income children
August 17, 2016

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today called on Gov. Kasich to put a stop to an administrative rule change effective Sept. 6 that will negatively impact Head Start/ childcare partnerships across the state by leaving them with fewer resources to provide critical enrichment opportunities to vulnerable, low-income Ohio children and their families. Lucas County Commissioners and leaders along with Lucas County, Cuyahoga County and Summit County Democratic lawmakers joined Republican state Senators Peggy Lehner, Shannon Jones and Bill Beagle in writing to Gov. Kasich to ask him to reverse the administrative rule change. 

“Just as the new school year is set to begin, the administration is changing the rules in order to cut millions of dollars in Head Start and childcare funding,” said Fedor, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee. “We must get back on track to advance our early initiatives across our state.”

 
 
Says state proposal will harm vulnerable, low-income children
August 17, 2016

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today called on Gov. Kasich to put a stop to an administrative rule change that would leave child care centers across the state with fewer resources to provide critical enrichment opportunities to vulnerable, low-income Ohio children and their families.

The state estimates the rule change will cut $12 million in state funding to pre-school providers throughout Ohio, not counting hundreds of millions of lost dollars in federal grants for early childhood programs. 

 
 
Panelists engage citizens, offer insight prior to start of new school year
August 12, 2016

State Rep. Heather Bishoff  (D-Blacklick) this week joined former First Lady Dr. Frances Strickland, President of the Reynoldsburg City School Board Joe Begeny and Innovation Ohio Education Policy Fellow Stephen Dyer for a public forum to discuss the state of education in Ohio as students, teachers and parents prepare for the upcoming school year. The local community leaders discussed education funding for Ohio schools, public school oversight vs. charter school oversight and statewide testing standards.

 
 
Says Ohio must lead national effort to create environmentally-friendly policies
August 11, 2016

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) recently joined more than 100 state legislators from 32 states and both major political parties to learn about emerging environmental issues at the 2016 National Issues Forum hosted by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). The event promoted collaboration between state legislators and provided essential educational resources regarding the pressing environmental and conservation issues currently facing the country.

 
 
National Institute for Civil Discourse recognizes lawmaker for civility, bipartisanship
August 10, 2016

StateRep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) was recently presented with the National Institute for Civil Discourse Award for Civility in State Governance yesterday evening at the National Conference of State Legislators 2016 Legislative Summit. Ted Celeste, Director of State Programs at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), presented Rep. Howse with the award in recognition of her commitment to working in a civil, productive manner for the good of her constituents.

 
 
Bill will help keep jobs in Ohio
August 4, 2016

Today, Democratic legislators from both the House and Senate announced the introduction of legislation aimed to protect Ohio’s call center jobs. The Consumer Protection Call Center Act of 2016 would ban state grant or loan opportunities for companies that transfer or relocate call centers from Ohio to overseas for five years.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative to protect Ohio jobs that pay above the minimum wage,” said Representative Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “If passed by the Ohio General Assembly, this legislation would help pave a path to economic stability for working families by keeping call center jobs from being shipped overseas. The end goal of the Consumer Protection Call Center Act is to keep Ohio jobs in Ohio, with a workforce of Ohioans.”

 
 
Says pattern of selective enforcement makes Yost part of the problem in Ohio
August 4, 2016

The highest ranking Democratic member of the House Education Committee, Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), today responded to news reports that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) fails to maintain critical documentation related to students’ offline work and that Auditor of State Dave Yost failed to conduct a comprehensive audit after receiving allegations of attendance fraud at the online charter school.

The Toledo lawmaker has called on Yost in the recent past to investigate Ohio Virtual Academy, the state’s second largest online charter school, for the same attendance scrubbing allegations taking place at ECOT. Fedor again called on Yost to reopen the investigation into the data scrubbing scandal that led to the resignation of David Hansen.