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Quarterly report indicates state prisons' private food service provider fails to meet contract requirements
April 22, 2014

On Monday, State Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) called for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) to terminate its contract with the state’s privately-run prison food service staffing company, Aramark Correctional Services. On Friday, the DRC released a quarterly report indicating that the company did not provide adequate staffing nor meet sanitary regulations and dietary needs. DRC issued a $142,000 fine to Aramark for the specified failures and indicated that the company could lose its state contract for “persistent defaults.”

 
 
Efforts bring about second look at prohibiting same-sex couples from renting the People's House
April 11, 2014

State Reps. Stephen Slesnick (D- Canton), Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) released the following joint statement today in response to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board’s vote to review its terms of use for special events at the Ohio Statehouse:

“We are pleased that the governing body of the Statehouse will review the current policy that excludes people without an Ohio marriage license from using the grounds for a reception or ceremony. We are hopeful that they find that all Ohioans should have equal access to the ‘People’s House.’ Non-criminal legal circumstances shouldn’t dictate who is allowed to rent space at our taxpayer-funded capitol.”

A review of neighboring states reveals no similar standards for use of capitol facilities.

 
 
New permit terms vindicate Rep. Hagan's tireless push for stronger regulation of oil and gas industry, renew skepticism of political targeting
April 11, 2014

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio– After one month of denying any link existed between recent earthquakes in Poland Township and nearby fracking activity – and over two years after the first round of major earthquakes hit the Mahoning Valley – officials at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources finally acknowledged today that the state’s current permitting procedures for fracking are exceedingly lax.

Today, ODNR officials announced tougher permit conditions after finally admitting that the recent seismic events in Poland Township show a probable connection to fracking activity near a previously unknown microfault.

“We clearly have a situation where Kasich administration officials ignored repeated calls for greater safeguards against seismic activity caused by the fracking process,” said Rep. Hagan. “Instead of responding to my calls for action, ODNR and the Kasich Administration unfairly targeted me as an enemy of fracking, and even developed a plan to discredit my concerns. If they truly worked in a bipartisan, democratic way to address public health and safety concerns, our state wouldn’t be so slow to recognize these obvious shortfalls.”

An August 2013 memo from Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources was released that shows the regulatory agency working closely with big oil and gas companies and Gov. Kasich to identify, stifle and suppress groups and elected officials concerned with drilling in state parks. The document targets Democratic legislators and environmental watch groups as part of a strategy to marginalize public concern and advance oil and gas interests.

Over the past two general assemblies, Rep. Hagan has introduced nearly a dozen bills aimed at strengthening Ohio’s fracking regulations. Rep. Hagan’s legislation has been largely ignored by the Re

 
 
Community, transparency measures tabled in favor of political gamesmanship
April 10, 2014

State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today on Wednesday in opposition to part of the state’s mid-biennium review, House Bill 483. Noting that the original intent of the MBR is to fix mistakes in last year’s state budget, Democrats offered several amendments that highlighted community needs and reversed previous harmful legislation.

 
 
Community, transparency measures tabled in favor of political gamesmanship
April 10, 2014

State Rep. Ramos (D-Lorain) on Wednesday voted in opposition to part of the state’s mid-biennium review, House Bill 483. Democrats highlighted that, although the original intent of the MBR should have been to fix mistakes in last year’s state budget, the bill had turned into a thinly-veiled attempt by the GOP to abolish state protections against pay-to-play in state government. 

 
 

State Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), a member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee assigned the task of vetting the state’s mid-biennium review proposals, was deeply disappointed with actions of the majority party during Tuesday’s hearing. In recent years, the budget review process has traditionally been a time to fix mistakes of the previous budget.  However, this year, it was not the case.    

 
 
Three year anniversary of Gov. Kasich signing SB5 into law sees new challenges
March 31, 2014
 
Bill would give hardworking Ohioans a much deserved raise
March 27, 2014
Reps. Foley, Hagan Look to Minimum Wage Increase for Stronger Economy, Stronger Families

State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced legislation—House Bill 502 –today to increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from the current rate of $7.95 per hour. Workers who rely on tips to supplement income would see their wages rise from $3.98 to $5.05 per hour under the proposal.

The Democratic lawmakers say the increase will create a stronger Ohio by putting more money into the pockets of minimum wage workers while providing struggling families with an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.

“CEO pay has been increasing 127 times faster than employee pay over the last 30 years, and that disparity ultimately hurts our economy,” said Rep. Foley. “Ohio families just can’t get by on such paltry wages anymore. They are increasingly forced to rely on public assistance because they struggle to make ends meet even working two and three jobs.”

It is estimated that the proposed increase in Ohio wages would inject an additional $2.1 billion into the state’s economy and create close to 6,000 new jobs.

“Low-wage workers are older and more educated today than thirty years ago, and our state’s policies have yet to reflect this reality,” said Rep. Hagan. “This is money that will go directly back into our economy, not in some offshore account or overseas investment. Instead of being pushed into public assistance lines, Ohioans who play by the rules deserve a shot at making it in an economy that rewards hard work.”

Reports show that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would have positive outcomes for Ohioans from all different backgrounds; of those who would be affected:

  • 56% are women;
  • 86% are over the age of 20;
  • 60% live in households that make less than $50,000 a year. 50% live in households  that make less than $40,000 a year;
  • 23% of Ohio&r
 
 
Bill includes $62M in funding for Cuyahoga projects, cannot make up for state cuts
March 26, 2014