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State Representative Fred Stahorn (D-Dayton) met today with a group of local government officials to discuss interest in alternative fueled vehicles.  Also attending the meeting was a representative from Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide non-profit that works exclusively with alternative transportation fuel. 

The purpose of the meeting was to have Clean Fuels Ohio present the business case for alternative fueled vehicles and describe potential funding sources.  Jason Phillips, Policy Director, attended the meeting on behalf of Clean Fuels Ohio.  According to Phillips, because the price of alternative fuels are usually lower than traditional fuels, the return on the investment is usually around 3-5 years depending on how much fuel the vehicle uses.  Representative Strahorn has been a proponent of alternative fuels for businesses and has voted in support of legislation offering financial incentives for businesses converting to compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane.

 
 

State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today applauded the passage of House Bill 74, which reduces the amount of time elementary and secondary students will have to spend on standardized testing. The Belmont County legislator co-sponsored and voted in favor of the bill, which passed the House with a bi-partisan vote of 92-1.

“Instead of testing just to be testing, we need to focus on helping our children earn the skills they need to succeed and compete for jobs of the future,” said Rep. Cera. “I believe this bill gets us closer to that, and it ensures students and teachers are not sacrificing valuable time in the class room.”

 
 

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today applauded the passage of House Bill 74, which reduces the amount of time elementary and secondary students will have to spend on standardized testing. The former Jefferson educator voted in favor of the bill, which passed the House with a bi-partisan vote of 92-1.

“A well-rounded education that prepares students for college and life after graduation requires more time in the classroom, not more time taking standardized tests,” said Rep. Patterson. “This legislation helps ensure that our children are spending the necessary time learning the skills and gaining the knowledge necessary to succeed.”

 
 

State Rep. Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma) announced today that he has been appointed to the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, just days after welcoming a healthy baby boy into the family. The Parma lawmaker and his wife, Doctor Niki Celebrezze, celebrated the arrival of Luka James Celebrezze on Monday evening.

“Engaged and active fathers are the foundation of strong families,” said Rep. Celebrezze. “I’m looking forward to both growing in my role as a father and also helping to strengthen other Ohio families through my work on the commission.”

 
 

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio House unanimously passed a resolution declaring the state’s infant mortality epidemic a public health crisis. Ohio leads the nation in African American infant deaths and is third highest in infant deaths in the nation.

“The actions of the House today remind this body, the legislature and the governor that it is time to get serious about reducing infant mortality in our state by using resources to drive our efforts and actions to give credence to our words,” said Sykes. “We missed an opportunity to do that in the state budget when access to healthcare coverage for low-income, pregnant mothers was suddenly taken away. I remain hopeful the House won’t make the same mistake twice.”

 
 

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today applauded the House’s passage of legislation to extend the statute of limitations for rape, while saying the legislators could still do more to bring justice to victims of rape and sexual battery.

House Bill 6 will extend the statute of limitations for rape from 20 to 25 years for all cases. It will also extend the statute another five years for cases in which there is a DNA match. Today Rep. Johnson, a former assistant county prosecutor, spoke on the House floor about ways in which the bill could be improved, such as by eliminating the statute of limitations for rape entirely.

“This bill is a positive step forward, but removing the statute of limitations would go even further in helping victims. Having the courage and ability to speak out against such an atrocious act as rape should not be limited by a legislative timeline,” said Rep. Johnson. “I believe that we can and should eliminate the statute of limitations for rape in its entirety.”

 

 
 
Legislator seeks to expand voting access to all eligible Ohioans
May 8, 2015

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the formal introduction of House Bill 181, the Registration Modernization Act, which will modernize voter registration in Ohio and potentially add over 1 million people to the voting rolls. The bill was referred to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee of which Rep. Clyde is the ranking minority member.

“I am proud to offer HB 181, the Registration Modernization Act, to make the first step to the ballot box much easier for all Ohioans,” said Rep. Clyde. “There is a wide gap between the haves and have-nots in this country and voting access should not fall into that gap. We can move toward greater equality and a healthier democracy by welcoming and empowering every Ohioan to vote.”

The Registration Modernization Act will do the following:

-          Automatically register to vote all Ohioans with a drivers’ license or state ID.

-          Automatically register to vote all Ohioans who interact with Jobs and Family Services offices and other agencies designated by the federal Motor Voter law.

-          Automatically register to vote all graduating Ohio high school students who are eligible to vote.

-          Allow every person 21 days to opt out of voter registration in person or by mail.

-          Provide online voter registration for all eligible Ohioans, not just those with a photo ID.

-          Potentially add over 1 million eligible Ohioans to the voting rolls and update thousands more.

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Bill will allow Ohio schools to create their own wrap-around services
May 5, 2015

The Ohio House Education Committee today favorably passed Rep. Denise Driehaus’ (D-Cincinnati) bipartisan legislation, House Bill 70, unanimously. Based on Cincinnati’s Community Learning Centers (CLC), the model would allow any Ohio school to work with parents and community members to provide supplemental services for students such as on-site healthcare, dental care, tutoring, recreation and mental health services.

“I am thrilled by the bipartisan support for this legislation,” said Rep. Driehaus. “This was an important step in the process of allowing our schools to transform their buildings beyond the traditional place of providing only education. Many other states have come to visit Cincinnati’s model and now all of Ohio will have the opportunity to be on the forefront of twenty-first century education.”

HB 70 brings families, residents, students, educators and business leaders together to review the strengths and needs of their individual communities to decide how best to support students and their families. Together, the group decides which services are important for children in the neighborhood. Public-private partnerships are a key element to the CLCs. The partners use their own dollars to provide services so that no additional education funding is necessary.

 
 

Ranking Democratic member on the House Education Committee, State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to reported allegations that an online charter school, Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA), has been collecting taxpayer money for hundreds of students who should have been withdrawn for truancy many months ago:

“The detailed information my office received demands a thorough investigation. OHVA has a long history of poor academic performance, and now we are seeing a pattern of poor fiscal performance. We must put in place the reforms needed to ensure it does not happen again– for Ohio’s taxpayers and for our children.”

Today, Fedor sent a letter to the House Education Committee detailing the attendance rigging allegations.

 
 
Kasich signs Driehaus-Blessing effort that allows open container districts in certain cities
April 30, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 47 today, which was introduced by Reps. Denise Driehaus and Lou Blessing III.  The law will allow certain cities to create Outdoor Refreshment Districts, where the public can enjoy an alcoholic beverage outside, within a specified area of an Ohio community.

"This law will help create economic opportunity for our communities while growing local Ohio businesses. These districts will become destination spots which will create excitement and provide a critical mass of customers for the restaurants, bars and shops in the district and nearby,”  Driehaus said. 

The new law will allow cities with a population of over 35,000 to apply for Outdoor Refreshment District areas within their cities. Specifically, it will allow cities with a population between 35,000 and 50,000 to create one Outdoor Refreshment District, while cities with over 50,000 will have the opportunity to create two. After two years, cities with populations of less than 35,000 will be permitted to create a district if they meet certain requirements.