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Local reservists want hangar at Air Reserve base to assist deploying soldiers
April 26, 2016
Portions of the capital bill put 'pork' and puppets ahead of Ohio's patriots

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today highlighted some of the community projects that won funding in the 2016 capital budget over the Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS)’s request to create a Regional Joint Readiness Center (RJRC) to provide a central point for deploying reservists. The request centered on the cargo apron and hangar that reservists from the 910th Airlift Wing would immediately utilize.

According the Vindicator, the Federal Aviation Administration financed an $11.5 million 13-acre paved cargo apron area on the west side of the airport in 1999. A private developer built a building for airport cargo shipping next to it, but both facilities have remained practically unused since. On a recent visit to the area, U.S. military officials expressed interest in the idea of using the cargo apron and building as a deployment hub for troops and other military assets from all branches of the military from Northeast Ohio as well as nearby portions of neighboring states.

“I’m really surprised that the initial introduction of the capital bill placed ‘pork’ ahead of Ohio’s patriots,” Rep. Boccieri said. “The irony is almost pathetic – legislators want to construct a fifty-foot statue of the Wright brother’s first airplane ahead of prioritizing a project that will have an immediate impact on deploying soldiers who fly out of the Air Reserve Station.”

Instead of appropriating even one dollar to Western Reserve Port Authority, the legislature is on track to give $80,000 to the Bowling Green Curling Club and $500,000 toward a soccer stadium in Columbus. In addition, the state is granting the full funding amount requested by the Madcap Production for a new puppet theater, and $1 million to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum for a single exhibi

 
 
Akron lawmaker will work to combat infant mortality rate, other minority health disparities
April 26, 2016

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced her recent appointment to the Ohio Commission on Minority Health (OCMH). As a board member, Sykes will work to support the commission’s efforts to address health disparities among minority populations, including the infant mortality rate for African Americans. According to the Ohio Department of Health, African American babies die at roughly twice the rate of white babies in Ohio.

 
 

Every Ohioan depends on clean, safe water. Water is easy to take for granted. Turn on the faucet, and it is available.

Ohio is a water-rich state, bounded by Lake Erie on the north and the Ohio River on the south, with many streams and rivers within its borders.

In recent years, there have been concerns about the role Ohio’s agriculture community plays in protecting our environment, specifically as it relates to water quality. The good news is – through the passage of comprehensive legislation and detailed environmental regulations, Ohio has in place a robust infrastructure that can and does efficiently and effectively preserve our land, air and water.

 
 
Celebrated feminist, journalist discusses Ohio issues during "Real Talk" forum
April 21, 2016
Gloria Steinem joins women lawmakers for day at the Statehouse

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC) today is hosting nationally renowned American feminist, activist and journalist Gloria Steinem for a series of events at the Ohio Statehouse. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Gloria Steinem was a key figure during the women’s rights movement of the late 1960’s and has received numerous bestselling book awards for her novels on women’s issues on personal, national and global levels. 

“Gloria Steinem is an inspiring hero and role-model for women in Ohio and across the nation,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), chair of the OHDWC. “From the gender wage gap, to restrictions on women’s access to healthcare, to outdated and incomplete laws against rape, many of the challenges women in Ohio face today are the same issues Gloria has been fighting against and raising awareness of for decades. The challenges we face in Ohio are certainly real, but they are not insurmountable if we come together, speak with one voice and make a stand.” 

 
 
State estimates Ohioans will lose coverage under plan signed by Kasich
April 21, 2016

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), the lead Democratic member on the Health and Human Services House budget panel, today joined House Democratic lawmakers to file a formal protest with the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), opposing proposed restrictions and additional barriers to healthcare for working poor Ohioans. 

 
 
State lawmakers say U.S. Senate must uphold constitutional duty to advise and consent on Supreme Court nomination
April 20, 2016

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and State Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today introduced companion legislation in their respective chambers to urge the U.S. Senate to consider the nomination of Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. The president nominated Garland on March 16, but the U.S. Senate has so far refused to hold hearings to consider his nomination.

 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today applauded the selection of Harriet Tubman as the new face of the U.S. $20 bill.

 
 
Legislation would give caller direct access to 9-1-1 responders
April 15, 2016

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of “Kari’s Law”, legislation that aims to make it easier for Ohioans to dial 9-1-1 in cases of emergency. The bill would require multi-line telephone systems—such as the ones used by hotels and offices—to allow direct access to 9-1-1, eliminating the need for a dial out number.

 
 
State report reveals minority-owned businesses receive disproportionately low percentage of state highway contracts
April 15, 2016

President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) and State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) called on the state Friday to take action to reduce barriers between state highway contract opportunities and minority-owned businesses in Ohio. A “disparity study” released Friday by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) revealed that minority and women-owned businesses receive a disproportionately small percentage of the state highway contract opportunities available. 

“Today’s news confirms what we already knew: that minority-owned businesses still face too many barriers – historic and systemic – to economic opportunities in this state,” said Reece. “It took over 30 years for the state to finally meet its Minority Business Enterprise benchmarks, and we cannot wait another 30 years to close the gap in connecting minority-owned businesses with highway construction contracts and jobs opportunities. The state can do more to create a fair and equitable environment for minority-owned businesses.”

Reece said the OLBC wants to see the state do more through increased diversity within the ODOT organization, greater access to capital and bonding for minority companies, a statewide urban apprenticeship and on-the-job training program, Minority Business Enterprise inclusion for ODOT projects, and an internship initiative with Ohio’s historically black colleges – Wilberforce University and Central State University.

Reece also said the OLBC is calling for a legislative halt to proposed local hiring bans, Senate Bill 152 and a House-passed companion version, which would prohibit communities from setting local workforce participation standards on infrastructure construction projects – a tool that has been used in urban cores with high-minority population density like Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Cincinnati.

 
 
Say mergers could reduce competition, raise consumer costs
April 13, 2016
Lawmakers push for public hearings on potential health insurance company mergers

The two highest ranking Democrats on the House and Senate Insurance Committees today called for public hearings on the potential mergers of four of the five national health insurance companies in the United States. State Rep. Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) and State Sen. Edna Brown (D-Toledo) were joined by a mother with a child with asthma in requesting that the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) hold public hearings on any proposed mergers.