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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.” 

 
 
"Moses Fleetwood Walker Day" recognizes historic career of Ohio native
February 13, 2017

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus)—aka “Mr. Baseball”—and Thomas West (D-Canton) reintroduced legislation today to honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, the nation’s first professional African American baseball player, by designating Walker’s birthday of October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio.

“Walker prevailed against all odds, overcoming obstacles to break into professional baseball during one of our nation’s bleakest periods,” said Leland, who also serves on the board of trustees for the Columbus Clippers, the Cleveland Indians’ Triple A farm team. “We introduce this bill today with the hopes of cementing Walker’s rightful place in history as the first African American to play major league baseball in the United States.”

 
 
Latest trend in Voter Registration holds potential to add 1 million to voter rolls
February 9, 2017
Clyde introduces Automatic Voter Registration for Ohio

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the introduction of House Bill 14, legislation that would enact Automatic Voter Registration in Ohio. This system will require that eligible Ohioans in state and school databases be automatically registered to vote and have their registrations automatically updated unless they choose to opt out. Automatic voter registration could potentially add over 1 million eligible voters to Ohio’s voter rolls.

“Automatic voter registration is a far more sensible way to make the list of eligible voters in Ohio,” said Rep. Clyde. “House Bill 14 will allow Ohioans to be added to the rolls when they do everyday things like get a driver’s license, seek disability services or simply turn eighteen. Antiquated voter registration is a barrier to voting. Aggressive purging of voters is a barrier to voting. Automatic voter registration is the solution.”

 
 
Little-known law change from last state budget threatens Hoover Reservoir buffer zones
February 6, 2017

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) last week introduced legislation to keep Ohio’s drinking water clean and safe by preventing the destruction of natural buffer zones around drinking-water reservoirs, like the Hoover Reservoir in Franklin County.

“The Hoover Reservoir is a vital source of public water for Columbus, and the strip of land encircling Hoover and other reservoirs acts as a natural filter that removes contaminants that would threaten our water supply,” said Leland. “This provision, which was inserted into the previous state budget at the last minute without public input or participation, is a potential threat to the health and safety of all Franklin County residents.” 

 
 
Bipartisan legislation will close loophole that leaves victims vulnerable to intimate partner violence
February 2, 2017

State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 1, bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s dating violence laws. The bill is modeled after HB 392 of the 131st General Assembly, legislation that passed the House unanimously last spring and as an amendment during the lame duck session. House Bill (HB) 1, co-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), would allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection not allowed under current Ohio law.

“It is past time we pull Ohio out of the dark ages by modernizing our laws to protect all victims who are impacted by dating violence,” said Sykes. “By allowing this measure to become House Bill 1, we are sending a clear message that now is the time to close the loophole in Ohio’s dating violence laws. With every day we wait, more women and men in Ohio are placed in serious danger.”