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Lawmaker says measure will ease pressure on overloaded courts, streamline rehabilitation
May 19, 2015
Johnson's bipartisan, cost-saving sentencing reform gets House nod

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today commended the passage of House Bill 123. The bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Rep. Johnson and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice, State Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) makes important changes to pre-sentence investigation report (PSI) requirements regarding community control sanctions. The bill also aligns certain state laws regarding the use of an alibi defense with corresponding state criminal rules.

“Without the requirement for a PSI prior to the imposition of community control, cases that would and should easily resolve with a term of probation will no longer be eating up valuable time, docket space and financial resources in the community,” said Rep. Johnson. “This streamlines rehabilitation in many cases.”

The bill gives the court the authority to impose a community control sentence, such as a term in a halfway house or probation, if the two adverse parties agree it is the best outcome for the case.

 
 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced over $662,000 in state funding for the East Cleveland City Schools District through the state’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.

 
 

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today released the statement below in support of a new lawsuit against Ohio voting restrictions. Rep. Clyde vigorously and vocally opposed the restrictions when they were enacted during the last General Assembly.  

"I fully support this challenge to the GOP voting restrictions that my colleagues and I vigorously opposed when they were passed during the last two years. We warned Republicans that Senate Bill 238’s cuts to early voting would create unequal early voting capacity among counties. We warned early voting restrictions would disproportionately harm certain groups of voters such as women, minorities, and low-income voters. We warned that cutting same day registration was unnecessary to solve any problem in Ohio and would hurt first-time voters, like students.

 
 

State Representative Fred Stahorn (D-Dayton) met today with a group of local government officials to discuss interest in alternative fueled vehicles.  Also attending the meeting was a representative from Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide non-profit that works exclusively with alternative transportation fuel. 

The purpose of the meeting was to have Clean Fuels Ohio present the business case for alternative fueled vehicles and describe potential funding sources.  Jason Phillips, Policy Director, attended the meeting on behalf of Clean Fuels Ohio.  According to Phillips, because the price of alternative fuels are usually lower than traditional fuels, the return on the investment is usually around 3-5 years depending on how much fuel the vehicle uses.  Representative Strahorn has been a proponent of alternative fuels for businesses and has voted in support of legislation offering financial incentives for businesses converting to compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane.

 
 

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today applauded the passage of House Bill 74, which reduces the amount of time elementary and secondary students will have to spend on standardized testing. The Belmont County legislator co-sponsored and voted in favor of the bill, which passed the House with a bi-partisan vote of 92-1.

“Instead of testing just to be testing, we need to focus on helping our children earn the skills they need to succeed and compete for jobs of the future,” said Rep. Cera. “I believe this bill gets us closer to that, and it ensures students and teachers are not sacrificing valuable time in the class room.”

 
 

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the passage of House Bill 74, which reduces the amount of time elementary and secondary students will have to spend on standardized testing. The former Jefferson educator voted in favor of the bill, which passed the House with a bi-partisan vote of 92-1.

“A well-rounded education that prepares students for college and life after graduation requires more time in the classroom, not more time taking standardized tests,” said Rep. Patterson. “This legislation helps ensure that our children are spending the necessary time learning the skills and gaining the knowledge necessary to succeed.”

 
 

State Rep. Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma) announced today that he has been appointed to the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, just days after welcoming a healthy baby boy into the family. The Parma lawmaker and his wife, Doctor Niki Celebrezze, celebrated the arrival of Luka James Celebrezze on Monday evening.

“Engaged and active fathers are the foundation of strong families,” said Rep. Celebrezze. “I’m looking forward to both growing in my role as a father and also helping to strengthen other Ohio families through my work on the commission.”

 
 

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio House unanimously passed a resolution declaring the state’s infant mortality epidemic a public health crisis. Ohio leads the nation in African American infant deaths and is third highest in infant deaths in the nation.

“The actions of the House today remind this body, the legislature and the governor that it is time to get serious about reducing infant mortality in our state by using resources to drive our efforts and actions to give credence to our words,” said Sykes. “We missed an opportunity to do that in the state budget when access to healthcare coverage for low-income, pregnant mothers was suddenly taken away. I remain hopeful the House won’t make the same mistake twice.”

 
 

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today applauded the House’s passage of legislation to extend the statute of limitations for rape, while saying the legislators could still do more to bring justice to victims of rape and sexual battery.

House Bill 6 will extend the statute of limitations for rape from 20 to 25 years for all cases. It will also extend the statute another five years for cases in which there is a DNA match. Today Rep. Johnson, a former assistant county prosecutor, spoke on the House floor about ways in which the bill could be improved, such as by eliminating the statute of limitations for rape entirely.

“This bill is a positive step forward, but removing the statute of limitations would go even further in helping victims. Having the courage and ability to speak out against such an atrocious act as rape should not be limited by a legislative timeline,” said Rep. Johnson. “I believe that we can and should eliminate the statute of limitations for rape in its entirety.”

 

 
 
Legislator seeks to expand voting access to all eligible Ohioans
May 8, 2015

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the formal introduction of House Bill 181, the Registration Modernization Act, which will modernize voter registration in Ohio and potentially add over 1 million people to the voting rolls. The bill was referred to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee of which Rep. Clyde is the ranking minority member.

“I am proud to offer HB 181, the Registration Modernization Act, to make the first step to the ballot box much easier for all Ohioans,” said Rep. Clyde. “There is a wide gap between the haves and have-nots in this country and voting access should not fall into that gap. We can move toward greater equality and a healthier democracy by welcoming and empowering every Ohioan to vote.”

The Registration Modernization Act will do the following:

-          Automatically register to vote all Ohioans with a drivers’ license or state ID.

-          Automatically register to vote all Ohioans who interact with Jobs and Family Services offices and other agencies designated by the federal Motor Voter law.

-          Automatically register to vote all graduating Ohio high school students who are eligible to vote.

-          Allow every person 21 days to opt out of voter registration in person or by mail.

-          Provide online voter registration for all eligible Ohioans, not just those with a photo ID.

-          Potentially add over 1 million eligible Ohioans to the voting rolls and update thousands more.

-   &nbs