State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today expressed his support for House Bill 609, legislation sponsored by state Reps. Niraj Antani and Mike Duffey that would lift the prohibition on taking a photograph of a marked ballot and sharing it publicly. Taking voting selfies would currently be considered a felony of the fifth degree, which Boccieri noted is far too serious a consequence for such an expression of free speech.
“I sincerely hope that this bill will be passed and enacted because I think people should be allowed to share pictures of their ballots freely. The current penalty for this is incredibly overblown,” Boccieri said. “For example, my opponent this year shared a picture of his ballot on his Facebook page and I honestly don’t think him, or anyone, should be faced with felony charges for posting their vote online.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), with Kent State student Hana Barkowitz, today called on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to step into the age of smartphones and make voter ID paperless.
“Many young people, like me, are dependent on their smartphones,” said Kent State student Hana Barkowitz. “Ohioans can use their smartphones to get into concerts and presidential rallies, and they can even show proof of car insurance on their phones. Ohio should get smart and allow paperless voter ID.”
A study from the Pew Research Center found that 15 percent of young Americans and 13 percent of low income Americans are heavily dependent on their smartphones for access to the internet. Compared to 1 percent of American households earning $75,000 or more per year.
“It’s important that we make it easy to vote for all Ohioans - that includes students, low income voters and other voters who rely heavily on their smartphones,” said Rep. Clyde. “Husted still has a chance to get smart and allow paperless voter ID on Tuesday.”
State Rep. Nickie Antonio(D-Lakewood) today issued the following statement responding to Gov. John Kasich’s decision to send state highway patrol to help tamp down the growing controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline:
“If the governor wants to truly be responsive to an emergency, he need not look beyond his home state. Communities across Ohio are in desperate need of additional resources to combat the growing opioid crisis that has already claimed an historic number of Ohio lives. First responders, treatment providers and local law enforcement have been stretched perilously thin by the opioid and heroin crisis, but so far the governor has refused to free up critical additional state resources by recognizing the crisis for the statewide emergency that it is.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio(D-Lakewood) today received The Center for Community Solutions Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala for her efforts to address Ohio’s opioid addiction crisis and her work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee to improve the rate of spending and quality of Medicaid care.
“I am extremely honored to accept this award from The Center for Community Solutions, an organization known for their dedicated efforts to improve the quality of life for all Ohioans,” said Antonio. “I will continue to work diligently to expand treatment opportunities for those struggling with addiction, ensure local law enforcement have adequate resources, and increase prevention programs to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in Ohio.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the below statement in response to last night’s federal district court order rejecting Secretary of State Husted’s limited remedy for purged voters and implementing a solution that will allow more people to cast ballots in the November election:
"After a federal court of appeals found Secretary Husted had illegally purged voters, the secretary still tried to get the very stingiest remedy to his wrongdoing approved by the lower court. The court soundly rejected Husted's inadequate proposal," said Rep. Clyde. "Illegally purged voters will get to vote and have their votes counted in this historic election and that is a huge victory for the people of Ohio."
State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today announced a legislative proposal aimed at protecting and improving Ohio’s water quality through the establishment of the Ohio Water Quality Improvement Program. Under the program, farmers would be incentivized to conserve environmentally sensitive agricultural land rather than use the property for farming or ranching.
“Ensuring safe and clean drinking water for the citizens of Ohio is of the utmost importance,” said Patterson. “While we have made great strides in working with the farming community to fight agricultural runoff, as a state we can and should do more. The Ohio Water Quality Improvement Program gives us the opportunity to partner with Ohio’s farmers to strategically conserve farmland in order to promote healthier streams, rivers and estuaries.”
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) recently recognized the 10 graduates of the first ever Drive for Success program in Akron. Established jointly by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Akron Summit County Action Agency (ASCA), Drive for Success helps provide individuals with the opportunity to attain career readiness skills in the construction industry.
“The Drive for Success program is a marvelous example of how effective partnerships between the state and local communities can help expand access to economic opportunities for our residents,” said Sykes. “By providing these graduates with the training they need to enter and find success in the workforce, we are investing in their future as well as the future growth of our regional economy.”
State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today applauded Summit County Council’s vote in support of legislation giving county employees six weeks paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, county employees must exhaust all their sick and vacation benefits before tapping into the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows for up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. The city of Dayton became the first Ohio city to pass a paid parental leave measure roughly one year ago, but with today’s vote Summit County becomes the first county in the state to offer paid parental leave to its employees.
“I am incredibly proud to serve in Summit County – the first county in Ohio to vote to implement paid parental leave,” said Johnson. “Allowing mothers and fathers to spend more time with their newborn children without worrying about falling behind financially will positively impact our families and communities. Providing paid parental leave is the responsible thing to do in a modern, industrialized nation, and it is also the right choice to remain competitive in attracting new workers. Seeing local communities step up to address this issue is incredibly encouraging and I look forward to continuing the push for paid family leave at the state level.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today called on Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore illegally purged Ohio voters to the rolls and count the vote of any voter who should never have been purged in the first place. Yesterday, Husted ended negotiations with voting rights advocates and filed a motion in federal district court seeking to keep purged voters off the rolls and to continue to throw out the ballots of the wrongly purged.
“Over the past five years, under Husted, Ohio has led the nation in purging voters from the rolls. That's not on accident. That's on purpose. And the court caught him. And like so many other GOP officials across the country who want to tip elections in their favor, Husted is still refusing to make things right even after he was caught red-handed,” said Rep. Clyde.
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today decried the lack of results from Ohio charter schools in light of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE)’s release of unflattering school sponsor evaluations. The Mahoning County ESC was one of many sponsors that received an overall rating of “poor,” the lowest on the scale, while also earning a “D” for academic performance, an “ineffective” for compliance, and a “significantly below standards” rating for quality practices.
“These ratings show just how ineffective charter schools have been under the current law and what a financial bust they are for taxpayers and students,” Rep. Boccieri said. “Ohio spent $1 billion in the recent state budget— the most ever documented— on for-profit charter schools that cannot make the grade above the worst performing public schools. We have been far too flexible in allowing our sponsors to duck quality measures, conflicts of interest and performance standards.”