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Rep. Gerberry calls on Husted to testify on number of voter suppression bills
December 9, 2013

State Rep. Ron Gerberry (D-Austintown) on Thursday called on Secretary of State Jon Husted to testify on pending elections bills in the Ohio legislature. Rep. Gerberry sent a letter to House Policy & Legislative Chairman Mike Dovilla requesting that the Secretary of State attend committee to address these complex changes and the capacity of Boards of Elections and poll workers to prepare for them before statewide officeholder elections in less than a year.

 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement, paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela:

 

“Today we lost a world champion of change and peace. Because of his sacrifice and determination to fight against apartheid and for voting rights in South Africa, the world is a better place. In his spirit, we must continue to fight for voting rights, justice and equality for all—even in the face of great odds.”

 

                                                

 
 
Legislation would direct some $400M to "Straight A" fund
December 5, 2013

On Wednesday, State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) introduced legislation to grow the state’s “Straight A” fund with some $400 million in expected budget savings from Medicaid expansion. 

 
 
In light of recent train tragedies, Congress must act now on Safe Freight Act
December 5, 2013
 

The long-awaited JobsOhio report was issued by State Auditor Dave Yost in late November, but it created more questions than answers.

 
 

Discern—to separate (a thing) mentally from another; recognize as separate or different (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

 
 
Growing unemployment, increased food insecurity warrant closer look at impoverished Ohioans
November 26, 2013

Today, Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) and Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) called on Governor Kasich to restore access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for 134,000 low-income Ohioans. The call to action comes as Ohioans prepare to celebrate the start of the holiday season with Thanksgiving on November 28.

"During this holiday season we should do all we can to make sure every resident of Ohio has the food they need," said Sen. Tavares.  "That's why at this time of rising unemployment we are calling on Governor Kasich to request a statewide waiver like our neighboring states have done."

Ohio has participated in the statewide waiver program because of high employment rates since 2007. Current SNAP rules require childless adults who are not disabled to work or participate in a qualifying job-training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. However, the federal government will waive the requirement in light of Ohio’s struggling economy. There would be no additional cost to the state of Ohio to again seek the waiver. Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan have already requested and been granted waivers to extend SNAP benefits.

Gov. Kasich recently extended the SNAP federal work waiver to only 16 counties, disproportionately affecting Ohio’s urban areas and other rural counties around the state. Lawmakers cited Ohio’s troubling trend of growing joblessness, a stagnant economy and lack of Work Experience Program (WEP) opportunities as reasoning to equitably extend the SNAP federal waiver to all 88 Ohio counties. Currently, there are only 9,000 available slots in the WEP program.

“The regretful irony of this situation is that Governor Kasich is championing his work on Medicaid expansion for the poor, but, at the same time, he will take food off the table of some of these very same people,” said Rep. Ramos. “Instead of working to fix fundamental problems w

 
 
Recovery comes to grinding halt as top-down economic policies kick in
November 22, 2013

The state jobs report  for Sept. and Oct. was released today, highlighting a troubling trend of growing joblessness in Ohio. 427,000 Ohioans are out of work, making Ohio’s unemployment rate – 7.5 percent – higher than the national average. Ohio’s unemployment rate is the highest it’s been since Feb. 2012.

“Our economic recovery has come to a grinding halt as Gov. Kasich’s trickle-down economic policies continue to take effect,” said House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus). “This is the 7th time the unemployment rate has increased under Kasich since he inherited 10 straight months of declining unemployment. Tax cuts for the richest Ohioans simply do not create jobs.”

Ohio’s economy has stalled over the last year, and in recent months, layoffs have been announced from companies like Ormet, Lockheed Martin, Chase, Bank of America, Volvo, Meijer, Ben Venue Labs and others. Questions have also been raised about the effectiveness of Gov. Kasich’s controversial economic development program known as JobsOhio.

 
 
Highlight troubling trend of profitable companies taking advantage of taxpayers, employees
November 22, 2013
Lawmakers Call for Corporate Responsibility, Accountability

State Reps. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) were joined by the Ohio AFL-CIO on Thursday to highlight a proposal that would make Ohio companies more responsible to their employees and accountable to taxpayers.