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In a bipartisan 83-13 vote, the Ohio House today approved the proposed budget plans for the Ohio Department of Transportation and several other state agencies. House Bill 26, the $7.8 billion transportation bill, largely funds infrastructure projects and public safety programs over the next two fiscal years. 

“This transportation budget provides billions for much-needed construction work on Ohio’s roads and bridges and will create jobs,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), ranking member of the House Finance Committee. “With technology advancing at a rapid pace, there is still more work to be done to fully address Ohio’s future transportation needs. However, I am confident that this bill will move Ohio forward.” 

 
 
Ohio could join 48 states in protecting victims of dating violence under HB 1
February 28, 2017

State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 1, her bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. Joint-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia. 

“For far too long, Ohio’s antiquated domestic violence laws have left thousands of Ohioans vulnerable to dating violence,” said Sykes. “My colleagues and I agree: it is past time to pull Ohio out of the dark ages and join the rest of the country in protecting victims of abuse. I am pleased we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to help bring Ohio’s domestic violence protections into the 21st Century.” 

 
 
Lawmaker responds with legislative solution for clean and accurate voter rolls
February 27, 2017

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement that several dozen non-citizens may have voted in at least one election in the last year:

“This is a sad attempt to bolster the President’s lie about massive voter fraud. Secretary Husted’s own numbers again prove that ineligible people voting is almost nonexistent. My big concern is: why are we always hearing about this problem after an election when we can fix it beforehand? My Automatic Voter Registration bill, Ohio House Bill 14, would eliminate the problem of having any ineligible voters on the rolls— but Secretary Husted refuses to support my bill."

 
 

State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today introduced legislation to eliminate spousal exemptions for sex offenses, including rape and sexual battery. Ohio is one of just 13 states which legally treat marital rape differently from other forms of rape.

“We must modernize Ohio’s laws and eradicate unacceptable policy that allows someone to commit violence against their spouse,” said Boggs. “Women and men experiencing sexual violence at the hands of their spouses should not be denied the right to seek justice just because they happen to be married to the offender.”

 
 
Say tax-free shopping weekend will help families save hard-earned dollars
February 23, 2017

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced the introduction of House Bill 89, bipartisan legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. If enacted, HB 89 would establish the sales tax holiday for the third consecutive year. 

“The sales tax holiday is a great opportunity to help Ohio families as they prepare for the new school year, and for members of our communities to support local workers and local businesses,” said Kelly. “By saving families money, we can encourage Ohioans to spend their hard-earned dollars in their own backyard instead of crossing over the border into a neighboring state.” 

 
 
Commissioners say current budget proposal will harm local communities
February 22, 2017

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald) and Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) this morning hosted all three Mahoning County commissioners for a meeting with House Finance Committee Chairman Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton). 

Commissioners David C. Ditzler, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and Anthony Traficanti traveled to Columbus to voice their concerns regarding the negative local impact of Gov. John Kasich’s proposed fix to the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax formula.  

“I’m pleased our delegation’s meeting request to the budget chairmen was granted, and that our commissioners had the opportunity to express their concerns about local revenue loss,” said Boccieri. “The chairmen demonstrated that the legislature is still open to listening to local officials who are on the frontlines and can provide essential perspectives on what will keep our local communities strong and transportation systems running.” 

 
 
Today, Feb. 17, honors all Ohioans who struggle with communication disorders
February 17, 2017

State Reps. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today celebrate the first annual “Annie Glenn Communication Disorders Awareness Day” in honor of Mrs. Annie Glenn, to recognize all Ohioans who struggle with a communication disorder. The legislation passed last year and designates February 17, Annie Glenn’s birthday, as the official day of recognition.

“Today, the Ohio House of Representatives celebrates Annie Glenn’s 97th birthday by marking the first annual awareness day honoring her work as an advocate for communication disorders,” said Sheehy. “Afflicted with a severe stutter, Annie Glenn overcame her disorder and become a role model for others facing similar challenges.”

 
 
Bill would incentivize environmentally sensitive agricultural practices to ensure safe drinking water
February 16, 2017

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today reintroduced legislation that seeks to protect and improve the state’s water quality by establishing the Ohio Water Quality Improvement Program, which would incentivize farmers to conserve environmentally sensitive agricultural land rather than use the property for farming or ranching. The bill was first introduced in the 131st General Assembly as House Bill 62.

“There’s nothing more important than the health and well-being of our citizens,” said Patterson. “In addition to ensuring safe and clean drinking water, the Ohio Water Quality Program would promote healthier streams, rivers and estuaries across the state. By partnering with Ohio’s farmers, we can strategically conserve farmland and establish a robust agricultural environment.”

 
 

With Ohio “on the verge of recession” and continuing to trail the nation in job growth, Democratic members of the House Finance Committee Tuesday said it was time for state leaders and lawmakers to “wake up” ahead of the next round of budget deliberations

“Republicans promised trickle-down tax policies would grow our economy and create good-paying jobs, but these policies of the past have only held Ohio back from growth and opportunity,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Cera), ranking member on the House Finance Committee. “After six years in charge, Gov. Kasich now says Ohio is on the verge of a recession – and yet the state budget plan offers more of the fundamentally flawed tax shifting that got us here. Ohio’s middle class families cannot afford more of the same. It’s not working. It’s time to wake up to the on-the-ground reality in our state.”

 
 
Bipartisan bill would remove $4 million in annual discriminatory economic barriers
February 15, 2017

In the midst of state operating budget discussions, State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced they are introducing bipartisan legislation, House Bill 61, to eliminate the $4 million yearly sales tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads. The lawmakers and a recent lawsuit contend the sales tax on essential women’s healthcare items, also known as the “Pink Tax,” disproportionately affects women who already face economic hurdles given Ohio’s gender-based wage gap.

“A tampon is a medical necessity for Ohio women— not a luxury item,” said Johnson. “In a state where women are paid less for the same work as men, every cent counts. The “Pink Tax” takes unfairly more money out of the pockets of women and undermines the economic stability of working families.”