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State ethics panel says Youngstown Schools CEO must comply with ethics laws

The Ohio Ethics Commission today confirmed in a letter* to state Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) that Youngstown City Schools CEO Kris Mohip is bound by state ethics laws and must file an annual financial disclosure statement with the commission. The letter comes in response to the lawmakers’ inquiry as to whether Mohip must follow ethics laws after news reports found he steered business to a partner company of his former employer. Mohip ended his status as a paid consultant with the partner company the same day the Vindicator confronted him about the seemingly cozy relationship.

Correspondence with state officials revealed that the Youngstown CEO has 'Carte Blanche' authority to manage the district, however the lawmakers say running government like a business becomes complicated with respect to appropriate checks-and-balances.

“I am thankful the Ohio Ethics Commission answered our questions and provided clarity that – even with the privatization of our public schools – a school district CEO still must be fiscally, legally and ethically accountable to the school district and taxpayers,” said Boccieri.

The ethics commission declined to provide an advisory opinion on whether or not Mohip hypothetically broke the law, instead noting an official complaint needs to be made to determine whether to open a confidential investigation. Under Ohio law, anyone may confidentially bring a complaint before the Ohio Ethics Commission for review.

“Our community deserves a system that puts the needs and best interests of our children over the business interests of one person,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Ultimately, we want to ensure that the structure we have in place isn’t fatally flawed, putting our kids at an even greater disadvantage.”

Thou

 
 

Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and state Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) yesterday announced their legislation that urges Congress to award Annie and John Glenn with a Congressional Gold Medal for their lifetime of public service unanimously passed the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee.

“John and Annie Glenn represent what is best about America. They inspired generations with hope, teaching us to reach beyond ourselves for something greater,” said Strahorn. “There is no duo that deserves this honor more than John and Annie Glenn.”

 
 
Resolution comes as Federal Communications Commission prepares to rescind existing consumer protections
December 6, 2017

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today announced the introduction of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 18, which urges Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the president to uphold existing net neutrality rules. Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all data equally. Under net neutrality, no user, platform or website can be accessed faster or slower than another.

 
 
HB 380 creates loopholes for corporations who actively hire undocumented workers
December 5, 2017

House Democrats today voted in opposition to House Bill (HB) 380, a Republican-sponsored bill to deny workers’ compensation benefits to undocumented workers who get injured or killed on the job. The House passed the bill on a largely party-line vote.

 
 
House Bill 380 creates loopholes for corporations who actively hire undocumented workers
December 5, 2017

House Democrats today voted in opposition to House Bill (HB) 380, a Republican-sponsored bill to deny workers’ compensation benefits to undocumented workers who get injured or killed on the job. The House passed the bill on a largely party-line vote.

 
 
Public Health staff will be on site to help people navigate healthcare exchange
November 21, 2017
Sheehy to host healthcare town hall, encourage public to sign up for coverage

State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Toledo) and Toledo Department of Public Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski will join public health officials Saturday, December 9 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Maumee Branch Library to discuss healthcare issues, open enrollment and the Affordable Care Act. Public Health staff will be ready to help people navigate the healthcare exchange and sign up for coverage before the Dec. 15 deadline.

This event is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in signing up for healthcare should bring income information documenting their annual earnings, their social security number and personal information of any dependents, including social security numbers. All information will remain private and confidential.

WHO:               State Rep. Michael Sheehy

                          Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski

WHAT:           Healthcare Town Hall, Healthcare Exchange Sign Up Drive

WHERE:        Toledo Lucas County Public Library

                         Maumee Branch

                         501 River Rd

Maumee, Ohio 43537

WHEN:            Saturday, Dec. 9

3:00-5:00 p.m.

 
 

Freedom is never a given. Its pursuit is not always easy. It often demands the sacrifice of those willing to give of themselves for a greater cause. It’s these values that most exemplify our nation’s veterans, many of whom sacrificed so much to secure the freedoms we too often take for granted. 

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, a holiday marking the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I. It quickly became a celebration of all our veterans who gave of themselves to defend our freedom and way of life. Because of their selflessness and determination, we are able to enjoy many of the freedoms we cherish today.

 
 

As Republicans in Washington try to dismantle healthcare and slash enrollment periods and public notice, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is encouraging Ohio taxpayers without health insurance to sign up and get covered during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which ends on Dec. 15, 2017.

“This about more than just finding healthcare insurance you can afford at a reasonable price,” said Sykes. “This is about you and your family’s economic security and stability. Though many of us don’t think we need healthcare, we are all just one accident or diagnosis away from a life-changing hospital stay or operation.”

Sykes notes that last year, eight out of ten taxpayers who signed up for healthcare during open enrollment took advantage of a significant financial discount. Sykes warns that if you miss this open enrollment period in 2017, you likely miss out on healthcare for all of 2018.

You can sign up through healthcare.gov or find more information at getamericacovered.org

 
 

State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit against Rover Pipeline LLC, months after the Ohio EPA referred some $2.3 million in fines to the attorney general for illegal dumping of toxic chemicals in the Canton area during the construction of the Rover Pipeline.

“It seems that with the outside threat of an Ohio Elections Commission investigation looming, Attorney General DeWine finally decided to take action to protect taxpayers from an out-of-state corporation’s reckless disregard for our safety,” said West. “This is welcomed news, but the timing of the lawsuit makes people wonder if the state could have done more, sooner. This was referred to Attorney General DeWine at the beginning of July. Meanwhile, local taxpayers have been forced to bear the brunt of toxic spills in our community and close to our drinking water supply.”

DeWine’s action comes one day after complaints were filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission, asking them to investigate DeWine for his potential conflict of interest in owning stock in Rover’s parent company, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

 
 
Says program is right thing to do morally, economically
November 3, 2017
Rep. Ramos testifies in support of DACA

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) testified this week in the House Federalism and Interstate Commerce Committee in support of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 15, which would call President Trump to immediately restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Rep. Ramos introduced HCR 15 in response to the Trump administration’s September decision to end the program.