Democratic state lawmakers today called for the state legislature to consider three bills they say will guarantee equal opportunity for gay, lesbian and transgender Ohioans. The renewed push for consideration comes in the wake of the tragic Orlando massacre that targeted the LGBT community and in advance of the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to guarantee marriage equality in America.
“Our state and our country have taken great strides toward true equality over the past several years, but there is still much work to do to ensure LGBTQ members of our community have an equal opportunity to work, have a safe place to call their home and – most importantly – be who they are without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence,” said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Ohio has an opportunity to create a more inclusive society that promotes freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to data found in the 2016 Kids Count Data Book, which shows that Ohio’s rank for overall child well-being has dropped from 23rd to 26th in the nation:
“Unfortunately, it should come as little surprise that nearly one in four kids are living in poverty and young adults cannot afford to pay the rising tuition to attend college. Instead of passing policies to benefit working families and their children, the legislature has repeatedly shifted taxes to benefit the wealthiest Ohioans and steered hard-earned taxpayer money to failing, for-profit charters schools.
State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) today joined elected officials and advocates at a press conference to call for a restoration of civility to American politics and public discourse.
“It pains me to see that some of our nation’s political leaders are more focused on advancing a partisan agenda and trading insults instead of working to resolve the real challenges facing American families,” said Driehaus. “We hope to help reengage the public by encouraging a more productive and constructive dialogue based on mutual respect and cooperation.”
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today applauded ridesharing company Uber’s decision to offer its services in the Youngstown area. The expansion allows the Valley to join other Ohio population hubs like Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron that all already have access to the service.
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today applauded Columbus City Council’s anticipated passage of a local ordinance to establish a 15-foot “buffer zone” around reproductive health clinics in the city. The Akron lawmaker attended a Columbus news conference with Councilwoman Liz Brown to draw statewide attention to the local initiative.
“Healthcare in America must include safe access to the doctor’s office – access free from intimidation, free from fear, and free from the threat of physical violence,” said Johnson.
Johnson is a co-sponsor of House Bill 408, state legislation she helped introduce earlier this year to create “buffer zones” similar to what the Columbus city ordinance proposes. The House Bill was part of a larger effort by Johnson to ensure “Access Without Apology” to women’s healthcare in Ohio.
“I congratulate Columbus and Councilwoman Brown for leading the charge to protect women’s safety and access to healthcare,” Johnson added.
State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced the release of over $300,00 in grant funding for organizations in Mahoning County working to house homeless veterans and support student mentorship initiatives.
State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood, Ohio) today released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting in Orlando this weekend that left 50 dead and 53 wounded:
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today expressed disappointment in the signing into law of House Bill (HB) 180, saying the ban on local hiring goals will disproportionately harm African American workers and minority communities while jeopardizing infrastructure projects in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland.
“I am deeply disappointed that the governor ignored the request by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus to veto these unfair restrictions,” said Reece. “At a time when African Americans in our state are struggling economically and remain out of work at a rate two times higher than the state average, local hiring goals are a critical tool for urban communities trying to combat local unemployment. By banning local hiring goals, we are handcuffing our communities from making economic development decisions that put more money in the pockets of local residents and more money into local economies.”
State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the signing into law of House Bill (HB) 431, legislation to designate February 17 – Annie Glenn’s birthday – as the “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day” in honor of Mrs. Glenn and to recognize all Ohioans who struggle with a communication disorder.
Lead Democratic member of the House Education Committee State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to reports that one-third of charter schools have closed or failed to even open after receiving $30 million in federal grants during the last decade:
“In no organization, public or private, is this abhorrent level of mismanagement and waste tolerated. But in Ohio it has not only been tolerated, but encouraged by state education officials who directed thirty million dollars over the last decade to charter schools that have closed or never even opened. By failing to hold charter schools to the same standards and expectations as traditional schools, the state is failing an entire generation of children who will not be able to earn the skills they need to succeed. State inaction has allowed charter schools to not only embezzle tax dollars, but to embezzle something more precious that cannot be measured or counted – the hopes and dreams of so many Ohio children and families.”