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State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced that a flurry of bills they sponsored to create memorial highways for Mahoning Valley icons and a bridge in honor of women veterans unanimously passed the Ohio House. House Bill (HB) 376 would create a memorial highway along U.S. Route 422 for Harry Meshel, HB 375 designates part of State Route 680 outside of Youngstown State University as “Frank Watson Memorial Highway” and HB 387 named the Austintown bridge on Mahoning Avenue and State Route 11 the “Women Veterans Bridge.” 

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Wed, Dec 13, 2017

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today voted in favor of House Bill 226, a bill to legalize the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Ohio starting in 2020. The bill also establishes a legislative study committee tasked with making recommendations on storage, licensing and manufacturing facilities by the end of 2019, in time for the legalization to take effect.

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Wed, Oct 11, 2017
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State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today introduced House Bill 368, The Fair Lending through Land Contracts Act, which will establish new protections for Ohioans who are buying homes through “lease to own” or “rent to own” agreements. Along with protecting consumers, the legislation will strengthen communities throughout the state by requiring sellers to correct code violations and pay outstanding fines before they can enter into a land installment contract (LIC) with a prospective buyer.

“When done right, these contracts provide a path to home ownership for people who do not qualify for a traditional mortgage loan,” said Lepore-Hagan. “It is unfortunate that a growing number of unscrupulous firms are now using the agreements to trap trusting buyers in predatory loans.”

Rep. Lepore-Hagan drafted the legislation in response to concerns about abuses in the LIC market raised by consumers, traditional lenders, advocacy organizations, local government officials and the news media.

“Companies swooped into Ohio and other states devastated by the collapse of the housing market, bought homes for pennies on the dollar, inflated the value of the homes, then enticed borrowers to enter into high-interest, long-term loans they have little, if any, chance or repaying,” Lepore-Hagan said.

The problem has become so severe that the City of Cincinnati recently filed suit against Harbour Portfolio Advisors, the nation’s largest seller of foreclosed properties, alleging Read Full Story

Wed, Oct 4, 2017
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The Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives held a second committee hearing on legislation that critics say would reduce wages and benefits for non-union and union workers in construction and building trade careers.

The legislation, House bill 163, would effectively limit wages and benefits for workers by kicking communities off the state’s prevailing wage structure before allowing them to reapply. Under current law, local communities and state universities undertaking public construction projects hire contractors who pay employees an industry-recognized standard wage, or prevailing wage, that is in line with their profession.

“Prevailing wages helped build the American middle class while delivering safe buildings to taxpayers on time and under budget,” said the state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), the lead Democrat on the House Commerce and Labor Committee. “It would be a mistake to take us back to a time when poverty wages and dangerous buildings were considered the standard.” 

The Ohio Department of Commerce works with the U.S. Department of Labor to calculate prevailing wages and benefits to protect workers with careers as plumbers, painters, roofers, electricians, masons, elevator technicians, metal fabricators, and bricklayers.

 “Without fair wages, we’re looking at contractors who want to cut corners to increase company profits by hiring out-of-state and foreign workers with little experience for next to nothing,” added Lepore-Hagan. “It’s hypocritical for Republicans to encourage children to learn a trade or go to career-tech while they roll back wages and benefits that let those same workers buy a car, own their home and have a family. People are tired of politicians who say one thing and do another.”

Ohio’s “prevailing wage” laws have encouraged career paths for skilled workers and artisans in the b Read Full Story

Tue, Sep 19, 2017

State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and David Leland (D-Columbus) today introduced legislation urging fellow Ohio House members to affirm the state’s commitment to the international Paris Agreement. The lawmakers’ action follows recent news out of Washington that the United States will withdraw from the historic climate change pact, joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not participating. 

“Instead of taking the global back seat on charting a sustainable and secure energy future, Ohio and our nation should be a driving force for the good-paying jobs and economic growth that come with advanced energy development and manufacturing,” said Lepore-Hagan. “We can’t afford to let other nations lead while we fall behind and miss out on the good jobs, growth and national security that come from common sense renewable energy policy.”

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Mon, Jul 24, 2017

State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and John Boccieri (D-Poland) this week announced the introduction of House Bill 245, legislation to protect Ohio’s call center jobs by incentivizing certain employers to keep their jobs here in Ohio instead of outsourcing operations overseas. The House lawmakers were joined by Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) and Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), who introduced companion legislation in the Senate, and members of the Communications Workers of America.  

“Attracting and retaining good-paying jobs that can help sustain a family must be a priority for our state,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Ohio has seen too many middle class jobs fleeing our state for too long. This bill is one thing we can do right now to keep those jobs where they belong, here at home in Ohio.” 

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Thu, May 25, 2017

Democratic members of the House Insurance Committee today expressed outrage regarding the latest version of the state workers’ compensation budget, House Bill 27, which adds new barriers to firefighters and their families seeking state assistance for work-related injuries, illnesses and death.

Today’s proposed restrictions follow the House’s December 2016 passage of extended workers’ compensation protections for firefighters who developed cancer as a result of work conditions. The bill creates a condition in which courts presumes the firefighter didn't wear their protective gear correctly, resulting in the medical condition or cancer. 

“This is a direct attack on our first responders, who put themselves in harm’s way every day to save lives,” said the lead Democrat on the House Insurance Committee, state Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland). “It is horrifying to think that some Republican lawmakers would make it harder for our first responders and their families to get the help they need, when they need it.”

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Wed, May 10, 2017

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 190, bipartisan legislation designed to significantly enhance the safety of the state’s railroad crossings for both motorists and rail workers. 

“Some on-track maintenance equipment has evolved into ‘train like’ machines that can’t stop on a dime, while other equipment does not activate railroad crossing gates,” said Lepore-Hagan. “In either case, a collision between a car, truck or motorcycle and rail maintenance equipment can have devastating consequences for everyone involved.” 

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Thu, May 4, 2017

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) released the following statement after the Ohio House today passed House Bill (HB) 49, the two-year state budget, largely along partisan lines:

“Ohio’s current budget crisis proves once again that slashing taxes for the wealthy and failing to invest in our schools, neighborhoods, infrastructure and most importantly our people is an absolute and inevitable formula for disaster. We’ve seen time and time again that trickle-down policies favored by Republicans leaders don’t deliver prosperity across the board, they deliver broken promises, disappointment and despair. 

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Tue, May 2, 2017

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today applauded the incorporation of two amendments affecting the Mahoning Valley into the latest version of House Bill 49, the state budget bill.  The first amendment, offered by Boccieri, expands eligibility for the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN) to include all federal installations and local universities. 

“I am thrilled that the Legislature is recognizing the innovative contributions Youngstown State University, Kent State University and our federal installations are providing, and that connecting them to the state support from OFRN will only further advance Ohio,” said Boccieri. “I believe this will be a huge opportunity for our base and local universities.” 

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Mon, May 1, 2017