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Today, House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard expressed frustration with Rep. Ron Amstutz’s (R-Wooster) recent announcement that he is now seeking legislative action for Medicaid expansion on October 1st of this year.

“I think we are all starting to become a little more frustrated every time one of these false deadlines is paraded about,” said Leader Heard. “Rep. Amstutz’s announcement is the seventh time in three months that a he or Speaker Batchelder have changed the deadline for action on Medicaid this year.”

Lawmaker says arrests affirm value of Ohio's Human Trafficking Laws
July 29, 2013

Today, Ohioans were made aware of the arrests of 150 people and the recovery of 105 children involved in child prostitution rings in 76 cities across the country, including the city of Toledo. After hearing of the arrests and subsequent recoveries, Rep. Fedor (D-Toledo) issued the following statement:


“I am grateful for the continued efforts to rescue victims from criminals who profit from these detestable crimes. It is imperative for lawmakers and law enforcement to remain committed to protecting Ohioans from the scourge of human trafficking. My legislation, Sub. H.B. 130, is designed to explicitly prevent and protect minors in the State of Ohio from becoming victims by punishing the criminals who partake in these heinous crimes.”


A letter from Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard
July 29, 2013
Stand Your Ground!

I have received several calls from concerned citizens, churches and civic groups since the decision in the Trayvon Martin case came out a week ago. All asking what I thought, how I felt, and what I planned to do.

I was deeply saddened for Trayvon’s family when I heard the verdict and at the loss of yet another young black male child. I am sick and sad like so many people who love Trayvon and mourn his loss. My feelings won’t change or soothe their frustration. I hope my prayers will.

Following my sadness, my thoughts turned to how long before this comes to Ohio and how can we stop it?

Ultimately, this senseless situation was a direct result of legislation – House Bill 249 introduced by Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-Florida) in 2005 and supported by a majority Republican legislature. 133 of 153 legislators voted to pass Stand Your Ground legislation in Florida.

Therein lies my fear, Ohio Republicans have supermajorities in both the House and Senate – 83 of your 132 elected legislators are prepared to bring Stand Your Ground to your state.

Ohioans deserve more, not more of the same
July 19, 2013
A letter from the Leader..

I was deeply disappointed when I saw Ohio's latest job numbers early this morning. Too many Ohioans are out of work; too many Ohioans are still in need; and too many Ohioans are missing out on opportunities that seem to be increasingly reserved for the wealthiest among us.

Ohio needs to build our economy from the middle out, not the top down. We need a strong middle class for our state to emerge from the national recession as a model for the nation, but Governor John Kasich and Statehouse Republicans just don’t get it.

Governor Kasich and the Republican Legislature continue to push an antiquated way of thinking about our economy that is steeped in rhetoric rather than reality. The idea that targeting income tax breaks for the wealthiest Ohioans will somehow create middle class jobs is a ruse. Wealth doesn’t trickle down-- Bob Taft and George W. Bush taught Ohioans that. Yet, Governor Kasich evokes the same tired rhetoric that they used, but with a different spin. Now, the failed policies of the past are trotted back out in recent state budgets and called the “Ohio Miracle.”

It is not a ”miracle” to lead the nation in job losses, or to continue hiding the state’s economic development efforts behind the wall of obfuscation  that is JobsOhio. It is not a miracle to propose even more tax breaks for the wealthiest Ohioans, while making the middle class pay for it. No, it is not a miracle. It is not innovation. It is not momentum.

It is simply more of the same.

Group plans action, petition drive against HB 203
July 19, 2013

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus announced their opposition today to House Bill 203, Ohio’s version of the recently criticized “Stand Your Ground” law. The group plans to initiate a petition drive and to work with government and community leaders throughout Ohio to draw attention to the controversial bill, with hopes of preventing any legislative action on the measure.

“Ohio already has reasonable self-defense laws,” said Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece. “The shooting of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that should have never occurred. Our constituents are outraged over this Stand Your Ground Law.  We will stand up with Ohioans across the state and oppose this dangerous legislation."

House Democrats say Gov. Kasich should focus more on solutions, less on public relations
July 9, 2013

Today, Ohio House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) was joined by State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) to urge Gov. Kasich to take meaningful action on Medicaid expansion. The call to action came just before Gov. Kasich was scheduled to appear at a public relations rally in the Ohio Statehouse.

“Public-relations rallies alone will not move Medicaid expansion forward,” said Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard.  “We are urging Gov. Kasich to join us in focusing on constructive solutions that will advance this broadly supported effort to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio.”

Tax increases, new tax code spending will disproportionately benefit the wealthy
June 20, 2013

Ohio House Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) released the following statement upon news that House Republicans have unveiled a new budget tax proposal.  The tax shift overhaul was announced today, only days away from a scheduled floor vote on state’s two year operating budget.

“Increases in our sales tax and property taxes will only hurt the elderly and working families in our state. I am disappointed that legislative Republicans are proposing some $1.5 billion in tax increases to pay for a tax cut that favors the wealthy.

Scope of audit should include scrutiny of resources used in promotional plan, says Columbus lawmaker
June 20, 2013
House Bill 190 to virtually eliminate prevailing wage, reduce pay for middle class workers
June 19, 2013

Today, Ohio House Democratic Leader and State Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) denounced House Bill 190, a bill to dramatically increase the prevailing wage threshold to $3.5 million for state funded construction projects. Ohio will soon be in the third phase of raising the prevailing wage threshold to $250K, as prescribed by HB 153 of the 129th General Assembly.

“This bill would encourage disreputable out of state contractors to flock to Ohio, bringing their undertrained, underpaid workers with them and depressing the wages of hard working Ohio men and women-- union and non-union alike,” said Leader Heard. “For Republicans in the Statehouse to talk about the importance of creating Ohio jobs, then propose a bill that directly undercuts quality jobs for Ohioans is both derisive and hypocritical.”