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Last Thursday, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and the Ohio Department of Medicaid held a forum with community members and activists to discuss ways to reduce the state’s high infant mortality rate. Attendees included nonprofits, faith-based organizations, all local hospital systems, and all five managed care organizations. State lawmakers set aside $13 million in the recent state budget to address infant mortality in Ohio, including a number of hotspots in the Akron area.

 
 
Lawmaker will focus on modernizing severance tax, restoring cuts to local communities
August 11, 2015

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) announced today that he has been selected to serve on the Ohio 2020 Tax Policy Study Committee, a panel created to review the state’s tax policies and develop a plan that reflects Ohio’s changing economy. The Bellaire lawmaker hopes the newly formed committee will study tax changes to reverse the recent state budget cuts that have devastated local communities and underfunded public education. Rep. Cera also serves as ranking member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

 
 
National civility movement started after 2011 assassination attempt of Arizona congresswoman
August 7, 2015

State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) convened this week with thirty-four legislators from sixteen states to kick-off the National Network of State Legislators Committed to Civil Governance. The event took place in Seattle, home of this year’s National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Annual Summit. 

 
 
Will attend 50th anniversary celebration of historic voting law
August 6, 2015

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) was invited to and will attend the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Voting Rights Act at the White House today.

Rep. Clyde will join President Obama and key leaders from around the country in marking the historic signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The White House event will also call for the renewing of the Voting Rights Act in order to combat attacks on voting rights in states like Ohio that have sought to limit access to the polls. 

“I am honored to be asked to participate in this White House event,” said Clyde. “Voting is our most fundamental right, and we must do all we can at the local, state, and federal levels to protect people’s access to the polls.”

 
 
August 7-9 back-to-school sales tax holiday temporarily halts impact of state sales tax increases
August 5, 2015
Slesnick encourages Ohio families to take advantage of tax-free shopping this weekend

State Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton) today announced Ohio’s first-ever sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 7-9. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials. Not only will the temporary holiday help offset Ohio’s 4.5 percent sales tax increase enacted by the 2013 state budget, but for three days shoppers will pay no sales tax on itemized purchases as they prepare their children for the coming of the new school year.

“Back to school shopping can be financially burdensome for many families in Stark County. My hope is that with this tax-free weekend we can ease the hardship for many Ohioans and better prepare our students for the upcoming school year,” said Rep. Slesnick.

Clothing priced at $75 or less per article, school supplies priced at $20 or less per item and school instructional material priced at $20 or less per item will all be exempt from Ohio’s sales and use tax this weekend.

 
 
Says widespread fraud, transparency issues make state ineligible
August 4, 2015

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today wrote to the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to request that Ohio not be awarded any federal grant money for charter schools. The Toledo lawmaker says she has learned that Ohio’s top education officials have applied for federal money through the Charter Schools Program for State Educational Agencies to boost funding for Ohio’s failing charter schools. Fedor cited the lack of adequate state regulations and minimum standards for charter schools-- in addition to recent violations of state law by top education officials --as reasons why Ohio should not qualify for federal charter school dollars. 

 
 

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today praised the Board of Trustees of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) for its resolution condemning the fast-track takeover of the Youngstown City Schools. The resolution calls on the members of the Ohio General Assembly, the State Board of Education, and Governor Kasich to seek changes to the law that would “preserve and enhance democracy and local control.” 

 
 
Says drug testing welfare recipients has been proven ineffective, costly
August 4, 2015

State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) criticized today’s announcement of revived legislation from two Republican legislators to establish a pilot program to drug test state welfare recipients. 

 
 

State Representative and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) sent a letter Friday to Governor John Kasich urging him to work toward removing Ohio’s front license plate requirement and to implement a statewide mandate for body-worn cameras for law enforcement officials.

 
 
Lawmaker says infant mortality bill nothing more than political maneuvering
July 31, 2015

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today criticized the introduction of legislation that restricts women’s access to critical healthcare services.  House Bill 294, sponsored by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Margaret Conditt (R-Liberty Township), would prohibit state and federal funds from funding any entity that performs elective abortions. Lauded by its sponsors as a way to address “infant mortality,” the bill dictates that state funds cannot be used to perform an abortion, which is already state law.