After nearly two months of a Republican-led legislative impasse, the Ohio House is expected to resume legislative activity following today’s narrow, marathon election of new House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). Chaos and dysfunction have plagued the legislature since the abrupt resignation of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), after he announced he was under FBI inquiry in April. Federal agents have since raided Rosenberger’s home, his state office and storage shed, as rumors of pay-to-play tactics on payday lending reform legislation continue to churn.
Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) issued the below statement today following Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) throwing in another wrinkle to the GOP’s ongoing leadership battle by suggesting a change to the House rules that would let him assume control of the chamber. The House nears its 50th day without a speaker following the departure of Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), who resigned amid an FBI investigation on April 12.
This weekend—and every day—we honor the brave women and men who have sacrificed their lives to serve, protect and defend our nation, freedoms and way of life. We honor them when we speak out against injustice and give back to our communities. We remember them when we stand up for veterans, immigrants, teachers and all those who for generations have made America great. We respect them when we strive to live up to the ideals of fairness and opportunity for all.
Ohio House Democratic Assistant Leader Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma) issued the following statement in response to today’s session cancellation notice from House Republicans hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a new Republican speaker:
State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) issued the following statement in response to today’s session cancellation notice from House Republicans hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a new Republican speaker:
As Ohio college students don their caps and gowns this month, many will leave school with mountains of debt for four-year degrees. In fact, Ohio families and students face the highest burden of student loan debt in the nation, with the Buckeye State ranking 45th nationally for college affordability. With college out of reach for too many families and students, state Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today introduced legislation to cover 90 percent of the cost for students to attend public college in Ohio. The Ohio Lets Everyone Achieve Right Now (LEARN) tax credit would make Ohio the first state to make college truly affordable for all students.
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced legislation to support struggling communities hit hardest by Governor Kasich’s budget cuts and tax shifting policies over the past several years. Since taking office, Gov. Kasich cut the local government fund by forty-five percent. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to Kasich’s budgeting and tax decisions. These cuts have forced to communities to raise taxes, cut essential services, and delay needed repairs, just to keep their heads above water.
If passed, this legislation will allocate money from the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, to 26 communities on the Auditor of State Fiscal Distress List that received lower Local Government Fund (LGF) allocations than what they received in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today introduced the Keep it Open, Keep It Honest Act, which would ensure transparency in Ohio’s state and congressional redistricting processes. Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved the new process for congressional redistricting in a statewide vote Tuesday. In 2015, the Buckeye State saw the same overwhelming voter approval for a new process for drawing state legislative districts.
“It’s exciting that Ohio will have a new redistricting process when we redraw the state and congressional lines in 2021. The commonsense provisions in the Keep It Open, Keep it Honest plan will help ensure that all steps of the map-drawing processes are transparent and open to the public,” said Rep. Clyde. “No part of our map drawing should happen behind closed doors – that is what led to Ohio having some of the most undemocratic, gerrymandered districts in the country. Ohio voters wanted to take special interests out of redistricting and that requires a strong commitment to transparency.”
Clyde’s bill would:
-Require regular public reports and the release of draft maps under negotiation in real time.
-Mandate regular public briefings and allowing for ongoing public input.
-Require public redistricting meetings with sufficient notice, and prohibit any secretive meeting process.
-Require that those involved, including private consultants, preserve all redistricting records and related communications.
-Allow the Ohio Attorney General's Office to quickly bring suspected violations before a court of law for judicial review.
According to a recent Brennan Center for Justice report, Ohio ranks among the worst states for gerrymandered congressional districts, a direct result of the Republican-led, closed-door redistricting process after the
State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today sent a letter asking Attorney General Mike DeWine to appoint special state prosecutor to determine the extent of criminal activities of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) publicized by Auditor Dave Yost in a stalled audit released today. The lawmakers are also asking that a special prosecutor determine whether state negligence contributed to additional taxpayer fraud, and whether or not state officials are liable for any additional fraud that developed as a result of their negligence or malfeasance.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) today wrote a letter* to Gov. John Kasich asking him to reconsider his administration’s move to shutter Cuyahoga County’s local Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections, a behavioral health program that serves some 500 high-risk youth each day.