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Legislation would establish procedures for microcystin testing requirement
September 22, 2014

State Reps. Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) announced today the introduction of legislation to require the monitoring of the harmful toxin microcystin in Ohio’s public water systems.  

 
 

The state jobs report released today showed that the number of unemployed Ohioans grew to 324,000 people, an increase of 1,000 from last month. The unemployment rate remained unchanged, while the state created 200 jobs. In response, State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) released the following statement:

“Our state’s economic development entity is hoarding hundreds of millions of dollars while Ohio’s job growth rate continues to trail the national average. Gov. Kasich promised Ohioans a lot with the privatization of state economic development, but delivered no new results. JobsOhio looks more and more like a failing, fantasy playground of an unsuccessful businessman rather than an economic development powerhouse.”

According to limited data provided by the entity, since its inception JobsOhio has spent $22,219,000 on economic development—roughly 7.8% of the total liquor profits they've received.

Gov. Kasich’s $10 million pledge to the RNC on behalf of JobsOhio would be the largest single economic development investment to date—larger than the total of any single loan or grant program.

 
 
Educated workforce critical to getting Ohio's economy back on track
September 19, 2014

The state jobs report released today showed that the number of unemployed Ohioans grew to 324,000 people, an increase of 1,000 from last month. The unemployment rate remained unchanged, while the state created 200 jobs. In response, State Representative and House Education Committee member Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) released the following statement:

“This month’s jobs numbers reflect an economy that remains stuck in neutral. While the Governor continues to rely on his so-called economic development agency, the results continue to disappoint. Instead, the state must reverse the historic cuts made to local schools and invest more time and money into establishing an educated workforce. Educational attainment is crucial to putting Ohio’s economy back on track, and Ohio’s workforce will never flourish if we maintain our status as one of the least-educated states in the nation.”

 
 
Address Confidentiality Program designed to shield victims' location, empower them to vote
September 18, 2014

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), along with Executive Director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network Nancy Neylon, announced today the introduction of legislation to help protect survivors of domestic violence in the state. The Address Confidentiality Program would establish safeguards to protect victims’ personal information from being accessed by abusers.

 
 
Ohioans support renewable energy as way to create jobs, cut energy costs
September 17, 2014

Democratic lawmakers today contrasted harmful energy legislation passed by Republicans with recent findings on the attitudes of Ohioans on renewable energy. State Reps. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) and Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) pointed to energy policies such as Senate Bill 310, which contradict the attitudes of Ohioans, environmental experts and business leaders on the need for renewable energy in Ohio.

A recent bipartisan poll released by Re-AMP, a Midwest collaboration of environmental advocacy organizations, found that Ohioans strongly support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, especially as methods of job creation. Yet, Gov. Kasich and Republican lawmakers passed SB 310 this year, which puts a two-year freeze on all renewable energy standards and threatens energy efficiency projects in Ohio.

“Many of the concerns we heard in committee on SB 310 are the same concerns we’re hearing from Ohioans today,” said Rep. Ashford. “Ohioans know that a commitment to renewable energy leads to job creation, energy savings and a safe environment in the future. Ohio should not be catering to special interests at the cost of good jobs and energy savings.”

The renewable energy standards, passed with support from both parties in 2008, created more than 3,200 jobs in Ohio and saved Ohioans $1.3 billion over the course of four years. The freeze on these standards is estimated to cost Ohioans $4 billion in energy savings and 4,000 jobs in renewable energy fields. Despite the opposition of 73 companies and organizations in Ohio to the freeze, the legislature passed SB 310 essentially

 
 
Legislation would ensure public money is used for students, classrooms and teachers
September 15, 2014
Lawmakers Seek Regulations on Charter Schools' Use of Tax Dollars for Lobbying, Self-promotion

State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) held a press conference today outlining proposed legislation to protect Ohio students and taxpayer dollars. The lawmakers’ bill would prohibit for-profit public charter schools from using state funds for lobbying purposes or public relations activities.

Currently, for-profit charter schools, which received over $1 billion from the state last year, can use this state funding to pay for lobbying events, consulting costs and public relations campaigns. The bill proposed by the Democratic legislators today would prevent public charter schools from using state funding for these purposes.

“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is our responsibility as legislators to ensure that state funding is spent in a responsible manner,” said Rep. Foley. “The funding is sent to public schools for the purpose of educating Ohio students, not for lobbying luncheons or television commercials. While charter schools are certainly welcome to lobby legislators or organize supporters with outside funds, they should not subsidize these activities with tax dollars meant for students and teachers.”

The Democratic lawmakers also highlighted the low performance of for-profit charter schools in Ohio, pointing to recent school report card data that shows 62 percent of charter schools’ report card grades are a “D” or “F” according to an analysis by the policy think-tank Innovation Ohio. The state has closed several public charter schools in recent months due to underperformance and mismanagement.

“These public charter schools should me focusing more on providing a high-quality education to their students and less on generating revenue,” said Rep. Hagan. “If these for-profit charter schools were truly effective at teaching our kids, they wouldn’t need to spend money on advert

 
 

COLUMBUS– State Reps. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma), legislative members of the state’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, today released the following joint statement on Thursday night’s escape of three prisoners from the Allen County Correctional Facility:

 “The escape of three prisoners last night raises serious safety and procedural concerns regarding the administration of Ohio’s correctional facilities. Unfortunately, Thursday’s incident is just the most recent example in a troubling trend of prison mismanagement that ranges from overcrowding to pest-infested food, understaffing, general inmate unrest and jailbreaks. It is becoming clear that our state’s corrections department is failing to live up to safety and security standards expected by the general public.”

 
 
Ask DeWine for same access to legal representation as GOP members
September 10, 2014

House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) sent a letter today to Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine requesting representation from the AG’s office or approved outside counsel for Democratic members seeking to intervene in the NAACP v. Husted early voting case.