House Dems Announce $310 Million In COVID-19 Relief
Federal funds will help offset costs incurred by frontline healthcare providers during the pandemic
July 28, 2020
 
 

House Democrats announced Monday the state Controlling Board approved another round of funding to support Ohio’s efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak.


“Ohio’s nurses and home healthcare providers have been heroically working long hours with limited resources,” said House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “I applaud the Controlling Board for approving funding to help these frontline healthcare providers offset their unexpected costs during the pandemic.”


The Controlling Board Monday approved federal funds from the CARES Act to the following agencies and program to respond to the COVID-19 crisis:



  • $192 million to skilled nursing facilities, behavioral health, assisted living, and home health care providers;

  • $50 million to create the BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Program, which will expand high-speed internet access for Ohio students utilizing remote learning during COVID crisis;

  • $18.3 million to Ohio’s public libraries;

  • $8.7 million to Ohio Attorney General’s office to assist rape and domestic violence crisis centers and $1 million for consumer protection efforts;

  • $3 million to Ohio Veterans Posts and $1 million to Ohio Veterans Homes;

  • $4.7 million to Deputy Registrars and Driver Test Centers;

  • $7.2 million to the Ohio Department of Health;

  • $25 million to various state agencies including the Departments of Education, Natural Resources, Public Safety, and others.


“We’re grateful to have access to these federal dollars to make sure the state is able to adequately respond to the ongoing pandemic,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), who sits on the Controlling Board.

 
 
  
 
ODWLC Chair Rep. Galonski Statement Calling For The Immediate Resignation Of Speaker Householder
Says ongoing FBI investigation is an unnecessary distraction from the people's work
July 27, 2020
 
 

Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus Chair Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) issued the below statement calling for the resignation of Republican Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) following federal charges that he engaged in a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme. This is the second FBI investigation into House GOP leadership in three years.


“As Chair of the Women’s Caucus, I am calling on Larry Householder to resign. Another Republican Speaker of the House being investigated by the FBI is an unnecessary disruption from the very important business facing the Ohio House of Representatives right now. Ohioans have been under one party rule for decades and what we are seeing are the consequences of imbalanced and unfair representation. With deeply gerrymandered districts, Republican politicians feel invincible. And too often, get away with too much.”

 
 
  
 
OLBC President Responds To The FBI Arrest And Indictment Of Speaker Householder
Focus must remain on addressing the needs of Ohio, calls for the resignation of Ohio Speaker of the House
July 22, 2020
 
 

COLUMBUS— Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) issued a statement on the FBI arrest and indictment of Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder:


“In light of today’s FBI arrest and indictment of Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, he must resign from leading the Ohio House of Representatives. The serious allegations of racketeering and $60 million dollars in bribery are not to be taken lightly. A cloud of distrust will persist if he remains in office. 


The people of Ohio deserve elected officials who will focus on making their lives better, especially in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest over police brutality and systematic racism. There are thousands of men and women, many who are disproportionately black and brown, sitting in jail, unable to make bail and who are not afforded the privilege to go home to await their day in court. 


No one is above the law, not even the Speaker of the Ohio House.”

 
 
  
 
House Democrats Announce Plan To Repeal HB 6
Plan follow Dems' call for the resignation of Speaker Householder
July 22, 2020
 
 

COLUMBUS—State Representative Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) announced plans today to introduce a bill that would repeal House Bill 6. This bill follows news that Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) allegedly accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes to pass it and prevent a referendum.   


“Corruption has no place in our government, regardless of political party. When corruption is revealed, it is important we act quickly to fix what has been broken,” said Rep. Skindell. “Ohio has been under a one-party rule for decades and what we are seeing are the consequences of that undemocratic arrangement. With deeply gerrymandered districts, Republican politicians feel invincible and are more beholden to special interest groups and corporations than they are to their own constituents. HB 6 was the manifestation of this alleged corruption.

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes Issues Statement Following FBI Arrest Of Speaker Householder
House Democrats call for the immediate resignation of the Speaker of the House
July 21, 2020
 
 

COLUMBUS— House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following the federal charge of Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) in a $60 million bribery, racketeering case.


“This is a sad day for Ohio.


As Ohioans are grappling with a public health and economic crisis like we haven’t seen in generations, this is an unnecessary distraction from the very important business facing our citizens. Because of this, we demand the immediate resignation of Larry Householder as Speaker of the House and implore our Republican colleagues to announce a new leader for this body as soon as possible. We cannot let this situation distract us from the important work that needs to get done.


There's no enjoyment in today’s news which will no doubt lead to the further deterioration of the public’s trust in our institutions.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following the passing of civil rights icon John Lewis.


“John Lewis has long been an inspiration to me and his unwavering determination to create a fairer, more equitable society is one I attempt to emulate in the Ohio House.


I had the good fortune to be represented by Congressman Lewis when I lived in Atlanta and the ability to see first-hand what good, fair, sincere representation looks like. 


John Lewis lit the pathway for young leaders to find a place to make a difference and his impact will be forever felt by future generations and we all owe him so much.


We honor his legacy now by continuing to carry his torch.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill (SB) 55 which would have reduced the penalty for violating a public health order during a pandemic to a minor misdemeanor and smaller fine.


The bill passed the Ohio House on May 6 by a vote of 72-23. All Democrats voted against the amendment to strip the Ohio Department of Health of power during a pandemic, calling it a “GOP-led attack on the state health director” and a “disgraceful abuse of power.”


“Vetoing SB 55 was the right thing to do. But Ohio needs a governor who will stand up to his own party when it matters always, not when it is only politically convenient to do so.


We need real leadership in this crisis. Not an endless GOP power struggle between the legislative and executive branches.”


A three-fifths majority of each chamber is necessary to override a governor’s veto in Ohio – that is 60 votes in the 99-member House. 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following Governor Mike DeWine’s evening address to the state of Ohio following eight straight days of over 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.


“As Ohioans tuned in tonight seeking assurance during these chaotic and frightening times, many of us hoped to see the Governor take decisive action to slow the spread of COVID-19. Instead, what we witnessed was a governor who refuses to lead in times of crisis for fear of standing up to the political pressure within his own party. His cowardice keeps him from doing the right thing, and keeps Ohioans suffering far longer than is necessary. And in the backdrop is a reckoning with racist systems where plans to address racial disparities in COVID-19 have still never been adopted.


This was a wasted opportunity. Ohioans didn’t need another lecture for people to be reasonable about a virus where so many have proven to be unreasonable. 


The governor got one thing right tonight – this is a defining time for Ohio. But the message we heard tonight did not rise to the occasion. A public health and economic emergency such as the one Ohioans are suffering through demands clear and decisive action, not cowardice, political pandering and pleading with people who refuse to listen. Ohioans deserve better than this.

 
 
  
 
LaRose Falsely Claims He Cannot Help Voters
Sweeney, Hicks-Hudson urge LaRose to stop obfuscating and use the tools he has
July 15, 2020
 
 

State Representatives Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) responded to statements made by Secretary of State Frank LaRose today at a Columbus bar suggesting he could not pay return postage for voters’ ballots and ballot applications without a law change. The Democratic lawmakers earlier sent him a letter along with Representatives Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati)showing his authority to pay return postage and demanding he do so.


“When it comes to purging voters for infrequent voting or throwing out primary voters’ provisional ballots, Sec. LaRose claims authority or invents authority from between the lines of the Ohio Revised Code. But when it comes to helping voters by paying return postage, he claims his hands are tied. While the global pandemic rages on, voters are growing more fearful and he’s playing ‘Mother may I’ with a GOP-led legislature that is uninterested in helping voters. My constituents deserve better than this. This election is not a game,” Rep. Sweeney said.


“The federal CARES Act gave the states money to run elections under extreme pandemic conditions, including for paying return postage for ballots and applications. The Ohio Controlling Board broadly authorized LaRose to spend that federal money. There is no obstacle here,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.


Sec. LaRose said he supports paying return postage but he also said he supports House Bill 680. That bill would add new language to Ohio law prohibiting the secretary from doing what he has the current authority to do – pay return postage.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today reiterated their call for Ohio Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to seek a federal waiver to cancel state assessments for the 2020-21 school year.


“On day 1, our schools, teachers, and students are going to start preparing for the end of year assessments instead of focusing on learning and shoring up on knowledge students learned during this past spring,” said State Rep. Sobecki. “Our classrooms need to be focused on learning, not high-stake testing. Ohio shouldn’t wait any longer. We should request the federal waiver now.”


“Rep. Sobecki and I have done our part in starting the process of cancelling state mandated testing. Now the Ohio Department of Education needs to show their support for students, parents and educators by actually taking steps to seek the necessary waiver from the federal government,” said State Rep. Crossman. “I’m disappointed that so many people have chosen to sit on this issue, rather than take proactive action to ensure the best learning environment for the coming school year. Everyone already has enough on their plate already to worry about without having this issue to contend with.”


During a call with the Governor’s staff at the end of June, the Representatives highlighted that the Georgia Department of Education announced their intention to seek a waiver. Georgia recently announced that they have officially filed the waiver.


Reps. Crossman and Sobecki’s House Bill (HB) 686 would cancel state assessments for the upcoming school year and require ODE to seek a waiver for the federally mandated tests. HB 686 awaits a hearing in the House Primary and Secondary Education committee.

 
 
  
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Leader Sykes Statement On The Eve Of The One-year Anniversary Of The Dayton Shooting

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which left nine dead and 17 wounded. 



 
 

Leader Sykes: "We Don't Trust Any Of Them."

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today after House Republicans voted to make Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) the next Speaker of the House. Every member of the Democratic Caucus voted against him.

“We don’t trust any of them.”



 
 

Rep. Miranda Introduces Campaign Finance Reform Bill

 

Rep. Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) on Monday introduced House Bill 737, with Rep. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation they say is the first step toward lifting the cloud of corruption that hangs over the Statehouse. The bill would bring Ohio campaign finance regulations in line with federal law. HB 737 mirrors legislation that was introduced by then-Senator Jon Husted in the 128th General Assembly. 



 
 

Reps. Sweeney, Russo Call For Hearings On Anti-corruption Bill

 

Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today called for hearings on House Bill 739, anti-corruption legislation that would require dark money groups to identify their funders and disclose their spending. The bill would also strengthen restrictions against foreign corporations and foreign governments influencing Ohio elections. Sweeney and Russo introduced the bill earlier this week