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State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) applauded the state’s move to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for Ohio civil service jobs. Beginning June 1, Ohioans who apply for civil service jobs will no longer be asked about prior felony convictions on job applications, making Ohio the twelfth state to ‘ban-the-box’ on state employment forms.

 
 

Rep. Michael Stinziano will hold community hours this month across the district to hear the issues and concerns of constituents.

 
 

The state’s administrative rule review panel today failed to reject cuts to home care worker pay rates despite hearing from witnesses that the decreases will harm their businesses, make it harder to hire qualified nurses and will end up sending more Ohioans to nursing homes.

“These cuts will make it harder for the men and women who care for our elderly and disabled Ohioans,” said Rep. Debbie Phillips, the Albany Democratic lawmaker who serves on the panel. “This means lower wages for working Ohioans, and it will make it even harder for patients to be able to stay in their homes. This moves us in the wrong direction, and make no sense when Gov. Kasich keeps saying we want to help mom and dad stay in their home.”

In today’s meeting, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) approved the Kasich Administration’s amendments to rules setting reimbursement rates and billing procedures for home care workers under Medicaid’s Ohio Home Care Waiver Program.

“As the need for in-home care increases, the state has to get serious about strengthening our network of care by retaining and attracting the highly qualified professionals who care for our elderly, disabled and young Ohioans,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Unfortunately, today’s cuts move us further away from that care-focused approach to one where our elderly, disabled and young Ohioans are viewed as numbers on a spreadsheet instead of people who deserve quality care.”

In his first state budget, Gov. Kasich cut funding for in-home senior care providers and agencies by close to $200 million. 

 
 

President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today released the following statement applauding the state’s decision to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for Ohio civil service jobs beginning today:

“Banning the box gives a fair shot to men and women who have distanced themselves from past mistakes and want to contribute to society as productive, tax-paying citizens.

“Too many Ohioans who want to work are denied the opportunity based upon mistakes they made ten or twenty years ago. By propping up artificial road blocks against individuals who have worked hard to reform themselves, Ohio marginalizes a significant chunk of the workforce.

“The state’s policy change is an endorsement of the idea that men and women do not have to be defined by their past mistakes, but can move past them to take hold of the economic opportunity and security a job provides.”  

 
 
Discussion and advocacy focuses on economic opportunity and fairness for women
May 27, 2015
*Fifth Annual Women's Lobby Day empowers women to engage decision makers*

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC) today gathered with women from across the state to discuss and lobby for policy solutions to challenges Ohio women face. In its fifth year of existence, the event featured guest speakers, a lobbying seminar and policy briefings from women legislators. The group focused its efforts on equal pay, workplace discrimination, infant mortality and domestic violence.

“Every day in the legislature, important decisions are being made that affect women’s access to healthcare and economic opportunity,” said OHDWC Chair Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). “By bringing together women from across the state we can engage in thoughtful dialogue on how to overcome the challenges women and working families face in Ohio, and we can empower Ohio’s women to engage with decision makers.”

Several women lawmakers took the opportunity to address participants about legislation they have introduced that would positively affect women and working families in Ohio.

The Women’s Lobby Day coincides with the release of a new report that shows Ohio continues to lag behind much of the nation in terms of gender equality. The Status of Women in the States report, released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, ranked Ohio 27th in access to healthcare, 30th in poverty and opportunity measures, and 39th in health and well-being. Ohio didn’t receive a grade higher than C in any category defined by the report.

The mission of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus is to develop and pass policies and legislation that improve the lives of Ohio women and their families; to identify and support emerging women leaders by serving as mentors; to educate and empower women and increase women's involvement in public life and

 
 
Amendment to study gender pay inequality stifled in committee
May 27, 2015

State Reps. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati), Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) expressed disappointment with today’s House Committee on Economic Development proceedings, after the panel dismissed a Democratic proposal requiring the state to study gender pay inequality and publicly report the findings.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women on average make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

“It is disappointing that a majority of men and women want changes to achieve gender equality in the workplace, but Ohio’s legislature cannot seem to even have an honest debate about studying pay inequality,” said Rep. Driehaus.

The Democratic amendment was not allowed discussion and was ruled out of order for House Bill 103, a bill that creates “Ohio Womens' Week for Policy and Entrepreneurship” and establishes an “Ohio Womens' Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee.”

“Ohio cannot afford to be left behind in the national conversation about equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Craig. “Our state’s women and families deserve policies that push us to be better and contribute to a higher quality of life in our state.”

 
 

Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) championed the passage of a bill from the Ohio House of Representatives today that would allow patrons to enjoy beer and wine while at certain markets.

 
 

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today applauded the consent decree negotiated between the City of Cleveland and the federal Department of Justice, saying the agreement is an important step toward achieving real progress on community-police relations in Cleveland.    

Announced at a joint press conference this afternoon, the ground-breaking agreement between the city and federal justice officials includes provisions on community engagement, use-of-force, support and resources, minimizing stereotyping, accountability and crisis intervention. In particular, the agreement enables Cleveland to continue its city-wide implementation of body cameras for all officers and establishes a new community police commission that will work with neighborhoods to provide input into police matters.

“The reforms being implemented in Cleveland will make our officers better equipped to perform their duties while ensuring fair treatment for all city residents,” said Howse. “With the cooperation of federal authorities and local and state leaders, this brings us closer to significant justice reform in our community and state.”

 
 
Push to make spousal rape illegal, lift statute of limitations on rape cases
May 26, 2015

State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) held a news conference today calling for changes to state laws that prevent equal justice for all survivors of rape. The lawmakers are pushing for the elimination of the statue of limitations on all rape cases in addition to making spousal rape and sexual battery illegal in Ohio.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one  in three women experience rape or other physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime.

“This is a constitutional response to an unconscionable problem,” said Johnson. “With every day that passes, another victim of rape or sexual assault is denied access to justice and sexual predators are allowed to roam freely. We will not rest until all victims of sexual violence have equal and unfettered access to justice in our state.”  

Victims of rape or sexual violence who seek justice can be prevented from doing so if the statute of limitations has passed by the time the victim is capable of reporting the crime and pursuing charges. While the two women lawmakers commended the recent passage of House Bill 6, which extends the statute of limitations on all rape cases for an additional five years, they believe that Ohio should join the growing number of states where spousal rape is illegal and there is no limit to charging perpetrators of sexual assault. 

“Women want to live in a state where they feel safe and are treated equally under the law,” Rep. Fedor said. “It is past time to do away with laws that prevent Ohioans from seeking justice for sexual violence. We need to have a serious conversation in our state about these commonsense reforms that will ensure survivors equal access to justice and put criminals and rapists behind bars.”

 
 

House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today issued the statement below in response to Gov. Kasich’s plan to kill collective bargaining for workers who help Ohio’s elderly, disabled citizens and children.