On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The historic 5-4 decision overturns a 6th Circuit Court case brought by Ohio native Jim Obergefell and invalidates bans on same-sex marriage across the country, including the one in Ohio. Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) issued this statement following the court’s historic ruling:
“Love does not discriminate. I am happy that from this day forward, marriage equality is a right available to all Americans. I celebrate this day and salute the decades of activism that helped bring about this victory.”
State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 64, the state’s two-year budget bill. Democratic legislators voted against the measure, which they say lacks a vision to grow the economy and offers little opportunity for average Ohioans to get ahead. Instead, Democrats argue the bill advances partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today stood in opposition to House Bill 64, the state’s two-year budget bill. Democratic legislators voted against the measure, which they say lacks a vision to grow the economy and offers little opportunity for average Ohioans to get ahead. Instead, Democrats argue the bill advances partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.
Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today issued the following statement on changes that affect water quality in House Bill 64, the state’s two-year operating budget bill:
“I’m concerned that language in the budget that was approved will circumvent recently-passed Senate Bill 1 and the progress we made for healthier, safer and more reliable water sources in our state. Unfortunately, this budget contains provisions that water down our progress on water quality. We must remain vigilant that the progress made is not eroded and that our drinking water is safe for millions of Ohioans.”
House Democratic Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) issued the following statement regarding last-minute legislative approval of the governor’s proposal to restructure the Youngstown City School system which was included in House Bill 70, a bill originally designed to make Community Learning Centers an official state education model:
State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today issued the following statement regarding last-minute legislative approval of the governor’s proposal to restructure the Youngstown City School system which was included in House Bill 70, a bill originally designed to make Community Learning Centers an official state education model:
State Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) issued the following statement regarding last-minute legislative approval of the governor’s proposal to restructure the Youngstown City School system which was included in House Bill 70, a bill originally designed to make Community Learning Centers an official state education model:
Democratic lawmakers today announced new legislation to eliminate the sales tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads, menstrual cups and sanitary belts. The sales tax on essential women’s healthcare items, also known as the “Pink Tax,” disproportionately affects women who already face economic hurdles given Ohio’s gender-based wage gap.
“Women only earn 77 percent compared to their male counterparts in Ohio, but are forced to spend a significant amount of their wages on these essential healthcare products,” said Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The “Pink Tax” is an additional burden placed on women that intensifies the gender wage gap and makes preventative healthcare for women more expensive.”
The average woman has her period for multiple days a month, every month, over the course of 30 to 40-years. Tampons alone cost women an average of $1,773 over a lifetime, according to a recent breakdown of essential feminine hygiene costs. Lawmakers say levying a sales tax on feminine hygiene products places an additional financial burden on Ohioans already at an economic disadvantage.
“Essential feminine hygiene products are a necessity, not a luxury,” said Representative Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Women have to fight to earn equal pay for equal work and the ‘Pink Tax’ is yet another hurdle that we must overcome.”
Without proper feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads, women are at risk of developing health complications such as vaginal infection, disease, and even infertility. The medicine prescribed to treat these problems is tax exempt, but the products that can prevent them are not.
“No one should face extra economic challenges simply because of their gender,” Rep. Kevin L. Boyce (D-Columbus). &ld
Senate Bill 63, which codifies the state’s online voter registration system already in place, was scheduled for a vote committee today in the Senate, before last minute changes ensured the bill would not be voted on today. This delay virtually guarantees that passage of legislation to codify online voter registration in Ohio will not happen before the 2015 general election.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement today in response to the delays in accepting new online voter registrations:
“Ohio’s online registration system is already built and in place, but it only accepts registration updates, not new registrations. Treating new voter registrations differently than voter registration updates is not authorized in Ohio law. We have only one set of requirements for both new registrations and registration updates. I have been urging Secretary Husted to switch on full online voter registration-- which he is permitted to do --for the past 18 months. With the legislature moving at such a slow pace, I again urge him to stop pretending there is any barrier to allowing online voter registration for all Ohioans.
Online registration would undoubtedly encourage more people to register for the first time and participate in elections. I urge Secretary Husted to switch on full online voter registration as soon as possible so that any difficulties with the larger influx of users may be worked out well in advance of the next major election. The many benefits of switching on full online voter registration will include immediate cost savings to our counties and easier access to the ballot box.”
In the last 18 months, the number of states, including the District of Columbia, that allow or have passed online voter registration has risen to 29. Ohio’s system is already in place, making it possible the state could be the 30th to adopt this important practice.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state.
“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”
“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”
Ranking Democratic member on the House Education Committee, State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today issued the following statement in response to findings of a review launched by The Ohio Council of Community Schools after allegations the Ohio Virtual Academy failed to withdraw hundreds of chronically truant students to pad its rolls.
“The detailed information my office received demands a thorough investigation and I do not feel an objective review was conducted. As the sponsor of Ohio Virtual Academy and recipient of three percent of its operating budget, the Ohio Council of Community Schools has a conflict of interest. I do not have confidence in a report conducted by its sponsor. I eagerly await the results of Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost’s inspection.”
This afternoon, Auditor Dave Yost held a press conference addressing a three-year audit review of inflated attendance at a Kids County Inc. of Dayton sponsored charter school. The auditor says officials at the now-closed school rigged attendance data by some 50 percent, defrauding the state’s taxpayers of $1.1 million.