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State Rep. Michael J. O’Brien (D-Warren) announced the Ohio School Facilities Commission today approved funding for a Champion Local Schools building project through the state’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program. 

 
 

Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece today hosted the Second Chance Job Fair in her district at the New Prospect Baptist Church in Cincinnati. The event features employers from manufacturing, non-profits, restaurants, government agencies and construction industries who have immediate job openings. During the kickoff, Rep. Reece announced that she will seek the creation of a community Reentry One Stop in Cincinnati.

 
 
Lawmaker applauds efforts to educate at-risk teens with real-time app
July 8, 2015

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) joined with community leaders this afternoon to announce the launch of a new resource guide, Youth Pages Toledo. Youth Pages Toledo is a prevention tool for at-risk youth that provides information and assistance on issues that make youth vulnerable to human trafficking. 

“The importance of actively reaching out to and educating at-risk youth cannot be overstated,” said Fedor. “Youth Pages Toledo extends life-saving information directly into the hands of those who need it most.” 

 
 

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today urged the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to consider House Bill 73, which establishes the State Facilities Closure Review Commission to review proposed closures of state developmental centers, including those in Youngstown and Montgomery County already set for closure.

The governor vetoed Lepore-Hagan’s bipartisan provision in the recently passed state budget that would have stayed the closures upon the review of a 13-member commission.

In a letter addressed to the chair of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, Rep. Lepore-Hagan wrote, “At minimum, there should be a robust and transparent review of all facts before the state decides to take action. House Bill 73 would ensure that such a review takes place, and it would provide the opportunity for residents, families, employees and the surrounding communities to have their voices heard.”

Text of the letter can be seen below:

 
 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement in response to the passage of House Bill 238, which will allow the state to sell the North Central Correctional Institution and Turtle Creek Center.

“I oppose the sale of the North Central Correctional Institution and the Turtle Creek Center because privatizing state prisons is the wrong direction for Ohio.

“The state recently sold the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, and the results have been disastrous. Since this sale 18 months ago, there have been 248 security complaints, compared to 157 such complaints in the eleven years prior.  Also, after the sale, the facility immediately added 300 more beds, and has suffered serious overcrowding problems and hazardous conditions for inmates and workers.   

“Private prison management companies have bad track records in Ohio. For example, Corrections Corporation of America was fined $500,000 by the state because of a 300 percent increase in prisoner-on-staff assaults and a 187.5 percent increase in prisoner-on-prisoner assaults. The financial records for these private companies are not transparent, and we still aren’t sure if money is being saved or how these many problems are being addressed.

“These last-minute additions to House Bill 238 have not been vetted.  The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections did not provide testimony to the legislative committees hearing this proposal.  A lot of questions and concerns remain, and the governor should veto this rush authorization of sale.”

 
 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The ruling leaves no doubt that Ohio could take a similar approach and assign the drawing of congressional districts to a new redistricting commission like the one slated for November’s ballot to reform state district drawing. Clyde issued the following statement in response to the ruling:

“Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court gives me hope that Ohio can reform the way we draw not only state legislative districts but congressional districts as well. Ohio voters deserve fair representation in the statehouse and in Washington.

“While my resolution, HJR 2, did not receive the consideration needed to be ready to put before voters this fall, I will continue to work to advance the cause of redistricting reform. We must eliminate gerrymandering in the Ohio statehouse and our U.S. Congress. Until these districts are redrawn, Ohioans will not enjoy their full democratic right to fair representation.”

 
 
Columbus-area educational visit coincides with recently introduced legislation
June 29, 2015
O'Brien tours CAR Technologies in support of alternative fuels

State Representative Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta) traveled this week to Columbus-area “industrial-scale, commercial testing, modeling, and engineering partner,” CAR Technologies, in an effort to learn more about, and draw attention to, the use of alternative fuels in Ohio. The tour follows the recent introduction of House Bill 176, bi-partisan legislation from Rep. O’Brien and Rep. Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) that would provide tax breaks and other financial incentives for people to purchase vehicles which run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and other alternative fuels, or to convert their fleets or personal vehicles to do so. 

 
 

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

“The ruling is a victory for our nation and for Ohio,” said Rep. Kevin L. Boyce (D-Columbus). “This is an historic moment and a giant progressive step in our journey toward equality and tolerance.”

The 5-4 decision overturns a 6th Circuit Court case brought by Ohio native Jim Obergefell and invalidates bans on same-sex marriage across the country, including the one in Ohio. 

 
 

Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement today on approval of House Bill 64, the state’s two-year operating budget bill:

“I fought hard to adequately fund Ohio’s historically black college, Central State University, and though I am pleased the state budget included more funding for the school—it was inadequate for the federal match. 

“Too many of my constituents are concerned about their families’ future and how they will find ways to make ends meet, let alone get ahead. It is unfortunate that the largest budget in our state's history has left too many Ohioans behind. The bad outweighs the good in this budget and that is why I voted no.”

 
 
Marriage equality declared fundamental right
June 26, 2015

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The historic 5-4 decision overturns a 6th Circuit Court case brought by Ohio native Jim Obergefell and invalidates bans on same-sex marriage across the country, including the one in Ohio. Rep. Antonio issued this statement following the court’s historic ruling:

"I join all Ohioans in applauding today's decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to grant all couples the right to marry if they so choose. From this day forward, all families – including families like mine – have the opportunity to experience the full depth and breadth of constitutional equality and the freedom to celebrate the love that binds our family, and all families – including those of same sex couples.

“This ruling gives me hope that sometime in the near future, Jean Kosmac, my partner of 21 years, and I will gather our daughters, friends and family and legally marry - a decision the State of Ohio has denied to us until today. We have much work to do to achieve full equality for members of the LGBT community, but this decision affirms our families and grants them the dignity and respect we have sought for ourselves and our children.”