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 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.
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.
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.
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.
State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland), State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced that the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office will receive a $28,035.99 Marine Patrol Assistance Grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The state grant is intended to help the local law enforcement agency provide emergency response to boating-related incidents, conduct routine waterway patrols and purchase safety equipment for use on marine patrol vessels.
State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 510, legislation to ensure coal miners and their families receive fair disability compensation should they contract the deadly black lung disease in the course of their work. According to federal experts, rates of black lung disease are the highest they’ve been in 40 years among Appalachian coal miners.
State Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) yesterday sat down with WKRC-TV to discuss a recently introduced proposal to create Ohio’s first-ever paid family and medical leave insurance program. The bill, a joint sponsor with Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights), would allow all Ohio workers to continue earning a portion of their pay during a family medical emergency or the birth or adoption of a new baby.
House Assistant Minority Leader Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma) and State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today asked the Inspector General to investigate alleged illegal hiring practices connected to summer youth employment opportunities with the Ohio Department of Transportation.