Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today joined Dem lawmakers to urge passage of several bills focused on strengthening Ohio families, part of their ongoing Ohio Promise campaign to grow good paying jobs and an economy that works for everyone.
The announcement comes as House GOP lawmakers last week passed a controversial bill attacking the academic integrity of public schools and introduced a total abortion ban. Senate Republicans passed two separate abortion restrictions earlier this month.
“The actions we’ve seen on the other side of the aisle in recent weeks aren’t representative of where the majority of Ohio families are on these issues,” said Leader Sykes. “Democrats are focused on putting the politics aside and putting people first, with a legislative framework to strengthen families and restore Ohio’s promise of opportunity for all.”
Sykes pointed to a number of Democratic-backed family first bills that already cleared the House, including proposals to establish the Kinship Care Navigators Program, support foster families, improve maternal health, create the state’s first-ever Children’s Behavioral Health Network, and make it easier for military families caring for a loved one with special needs to apply for Medicaid services.
“Though we’ve made progress, too many families still lack access to commonsense policies like paid leave,” said Assistant Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), sponsorof House Bill (HB) 91, which would require up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for working families. “Increasing stability for those caring for a newborn or sick family member is essential to our promise to make lives a little easier for Ohio families.”
HB 91 would establish the Ohio Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, which would provide economic stability to working families in times of a medical emergency, when caring for a sick loved one, or welcoming a newborn into the family.
“We support family values, but more importantly, we value families—all families,” said Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park). “By putting politics aside and working together as Democrats and Republicans, we can build on many of the successes we’ve seen, like the creation of the Kinship Care Navigators and other programs that connect families to the tools they need to live better lives.”
Democrats also highlighted a number of other key proposals to strengthen Ohio families, including:
- HB 390 (Crossman/Clites), the Pre-existing Protection Act, a bipartisan bill that would add several commonsense consumer protections outlined in the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) into Ohio law, including coverage for more many of the 2.1 million Ohioans living with pre-existing conditions.
- Maternal Health Act (Crawley), which would encourage data-sharing to address gaps in maternal care and lead to better health outcomes for mothers and babies.
- HB 206 (Boyd/Stoltzfus), bipartisan legislation to expand tax credits for families looking to adopt a child.
“You shouldn’t have to worry about losing coverage if you have a pre-existing condition,” said Rep. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), a joint sponsor of the Preexisting Protection Act. “Our bipartisan bill protects your coverage and takes on insurance companies that want to limit the care you pay into each month.”
Additional proposals focus on eldercare and Ohio’s senior population, with bills to establish training standards for dementia care, simplify and streamline the application for SNAP and other benefits, and to improve quality of life at nursing homes.
“It’s critical for lawmakers to understand many of the issues facing our elderly populations, especially those with chronic diseases,” said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), who introduced a bill to better care for Ohioans living with dementia. “By having these conversations, we can better serve seniors and the elderly and connect families with the resources they need to care for their loved ones.”
Wednesday’s rollout follows the conclusion of the caucus’s Ohio Promise Tour, which saw more than two dozen town hall events in cities across the state this summer.