On Friday, State Rep. and Air Force Veteran Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) welcomed and introduced participants of the Celebrating Women Veterans healthcare event at the Marriott Kingsgate in Cincinnati.
On Wednesday, State Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton) attempted to create a Tax Expenditure Review Board, which would make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor about the value of awarding tax credits to entities that receive money from the legislature. Rep. Driehaus introduced an amendment to Substitute House Bill 107 that mirrors legislation (HB 81) she introduced at the beginning of the current General Assembly.
Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Mike Foley (D- Cleveland) are calling on Gov. Kasich to delay signing Senate Bill 193 until next week-- a move that would ensure Senate Bill 193 does not apply to the 2014 gubernatorial election.
“By delaying the effective date of this bill, Gov. Kasich can show the public that this isn’t a hasty, self-interested attempt to limit his third party competition for the 2014 election,” Rep. Foley said. “I think the Governor should do the right thing and rise above the cynical perception this bill has created.”
SB 193 would make it harder for third party candidates to qualify for the 2014 ballot if it is signed into law by Gov. Kasich within the next two days. The legislation has become known by many as the John Kasich Re-election Protection Act, as it seems to be an attempt to disqualify Libertarian candidate Charlie Earl from the 2014 gubernatorial race.
Rep. Chris Redfern (D- Catawba Island) announced that on Wednesday the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 20, commemorating the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812, by a vote of 96-0. The battle was a turning-point in the War of 1812 and a catalyst for the eventual American victory over the British.
State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) expressed concern today that historic state budget cuts to local public schools have shifted the responsibility of providing education for Ohio’s children to local taxpayers—resulting in $1.6 billion in new school funding levies since 2011.
Today, taxpayers throughout Ohio will be asked to consider a total of 72 new school funding requests at a cost of close to $260 million. The added downward pressure on local taxpayers comes at a time when the state is sitting on $1.5 billion in cash reserves and is close to realizing some $400 million in budget savings due to Medicaid expansion.
“The state has shifted the responsibility of funding public education to local taxpayers, hurting our schools, children and middle class families,” said Rep. Patterson. “It is irresponsible to abandon our state obligation to provide education for our children. This isn’t a sustainable way of funding public education in our state, and local taxpayers can’t afford it.”
Local school funding has been cut by roughly half-a-billion dollars since the enactment of Gov. Kasich’s first biennial state budget. The number of school funding levies since Gov. Kasich took office has increased dramatically—so has the dollar amount of proposed local tax increases.
“The escalating financial pressure to provide for an adequate and equitable education remains the principal responsibility of the State of Ohio,” Rep. Rogers said. “The continued trend of the current administration to shift the burden of school funding to the local taxpayer effectively hurts our schools, our communities and our kids. If we are serious about fostering economic growth and opportunity here in Ohio, then we should be investing in our children, our future.”
Rep. Connie Pillich (D- Montgomery), medical professionals and national community leaders joined together on Friday at the 7th Annual International SADS Foundation Conference on Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young to discuss the need for more awareness and procedures to protect student athletes from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) organized and led the inaugural meeting of the Ohio Education Funding Caucus (EFC) on Wednesday. Discussion revolved around forming a general framework for how the group will operate and deciding what goals they should pursue.
State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) along with their Democratic colleagues on Wednesday called on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to order county boards of elections to open their doors to early voters through the Monday before the upcoming election. Counties across the state are currently scheduled to end early voting on different days for some or all voters in violation of the law.
State lawmakers recently announced the need for legislation to make state government more open and accountable. Citing recent controversial legislative maneuvers and continued reports of secrecy at JobsOhio, Democratic lawmakers say that economic growth and stability can’t happen with a dysfunctional and unaccountable state government.
“Ohio’s economic recovery has come to a grinding halt over the last year,” said State Rep. John Carney (D-Columbus). “If we are going to turn this around, we need stability to help foster economic growth and accountability to restore trust amongst Ohio taxpayers.”
In recent reports, Ohio ranks low on issues of integrity and accountability. Ohio scored well below the national average in the Better Government Association Integrity Index Report published in July of 2013. Ohio scored a “D” in State Integrity Investigation. The Buckeye State had a near-failing grade in the Georgia PIRG, state-by-state study of spending transparency. And just last week, a new report was published, Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs, which outlined numerous problems at JobsOhio.
State Reps. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich on Thursday requesting that he immediately rescind the decision to unfairly alter requirements for individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Gov. Kasich recently extended the SNAP federal waiver to only 16 Appalachian counties, disproportionately affecting Ohio’s urban areas and other rural counties around the state. The federal waiver was preapproved for all 88 Ohio counties.