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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

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today urged adoption of his budget amendment to connect northeast Ohio research universities and military installations to job growth initiatives. The Poland lawmaker wants to ensure research occurring at Youngstown State University (YSU) and Kent State University (KSU), as well as programs at the Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station and Camp Ravenna will be eligible for state program funding through the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN).

“America Makes, the Youngstown Incubator and YSU have already fostered and expanded the manufacturing-related research capacity in the Valley, and this additional state funding would further benefit our workers and the economic growth of our region,” said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “I believe we should support these institutions so they may build upon their success and continue to spur the type of development that creates good-paying jobs for working Ohioans.” 

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Wed, Apr 12, 2017

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) was recently elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC), a position that plays a vital role in advancing the caucus’s agenda. 

“I am honored to be elected to this leadership position by my colleagues to help advance more Ohio women,” said Lepore-Hagan. “It is so important for each and every woman to have equal opportunities and representation at home, at work and more importantly: at the state level. I look forward to working with those that share this sentiment to help build a better and brighter future for women across the state.”

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Fri, Mar 31, 2017

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today criticized the passage of House Bill (HB) 114, saying legislation that changes the state’s advanced energy standards to unenforceable “goals” will harm consumers and jeopardize thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry and other industries that increasingly want and rely on advanced energy sources. The bill was fast-tracked through the House Public Utilities Committee after similar legislation last General Assembly successfully passed the Legislature but was later vetoed by the governor. 

“In the Mahoning Valley in general, and Youngstown in particular, we’ve seen first-hand the ways in which innovation, research and development can drive economic growth and job creation. YSU’s America Makes program has made Youngstown the focal point of the cutting-edge 3D printing industry, allowing companies like 4M technologies to lead a manufacturing revolution,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “Now, unfortunately and inexplicably, the Republicans want us to walk away from one of the most vibrant and exciting areas of development that will power business expansion, give our universities an opportunity to monetize the research they do, create good jobs in a 21st century industry and save consumers billions of dollars, all while protecting our environment. Instead of being first in line for the type investment clean energy jobs attract, the GOP has decided we should give up our place and walk to the back of the line.” 

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Thu, Mar 30, 2017

State Reps. Michael P. Sheehy (D-Oregon) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today provided sponsor testimony before the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee for House Bill 107 (HB 107), legislation to require freight train operating crews to consist of at least two individuals. 

“This legislation will improve safety, not just for railroad workers but for the railroad companies and surrounding communities that these trains travel through,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Unfortunately, this accident, along with many others, was avoidable. When two people are on a crew of a train, the potential for exhaustion and fatigue is significantly decreased.” 

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Wed, Mar 29, 2017

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today disagreed with Youngstown State University (YSU) Vice President for Finance and Business Operations Neal McNally’s characterization of an Ohio Department of Higher Education school efficiency report as being “somewhat of a political tool.” 

“I believe YSU has so much to offer students, especially with its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Lepore-Hagan. “However, I believe the school efficiency report highlights how YSU and other Ohio universities must work to become more efficient and affordable—Ohio students are paying as much as 30 percent more than those attending college in other states.” 

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Mon, Mar 20, 2017

State Reps. Michael P. Sheehy (D-Oregon) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) this week renewed the fight to improve rail safety in Ohio by introducing House Bill 107, legislation to require freight train operating crews to consist of at least two people. The lawmakers say passage of the bill will help cut down on operator fatigue and reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents. 

“Having spent over 40 years working in the railroad industry, I can attest to the importance of requiring two-person crews on all freight train operations,” Sheehy said. “Raising safety standards in our state will help protect our freight operators and keep communities safe.”  

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Thu, Mar 16, 2017