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Lawmaker announces effective date of bipartisan legislation to ensure people call 911 for help when they need it
September 12, 2016

State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton) today released the following statement encourage citizens to become aware of Ohio’s new Good Samaritan Law which takes effect tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 13:

“As Ohio’s opioid epidemic reaches statewide emergency levels, it is now more important than ever that people don’t second guess doing the right thing. That is why I am pleased to announce my bipartisan Good Samaritan law takes effect statewide tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13. Now, if any Ohioan suspects a friend, family member or loved one is overdosing, they can call 911 immediately – free from fear that they will be punished or prosecuted for getting someone the help they need when they need it. I encourage all citizens to take that first step and make an emergency call for help when someone’s life is on the line.”  

 
 
Waiver would have left 125,000 Ohioans without insurance each year
September 9, 2016

Ohio House Health and Aging Ranking Member and State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) released the following statement on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denial of the state’s request to charge premiums for Ohio’s Medicaid Program, regardless of age. The federal decision cited concerns that such charges undermine access to coverage and the affordability of care, and do not support the objectives of the Medicaid program.

“On behalf of the thousands of low-income parents, foster care youth and beneficiaries with breast and cervical cancer, I am pleased to hear of the CMS decision to deny Ohio’s special demonstration project waiver application, which would have imposed additional premiums for those insured by Medicaid or Medicare,” said Antonio. “In the denial letter, CMS officials identified the same concerns that House Democratic lawmakers noted as fundamental flaws in the request to change Ohio’s Medicaid program by requiring premiums and excluding individuals from care indefinitely if they failed to pay premiums and all arrears premium payments. I hope this decision is a step toward evidence-based policy solutions that aim to improve the overall health of our state and all of its citizens.”

 
 
House Bill 523 gives patients, doctors alternatives for treatment of severe injuries, illnesses
September 8, 2016

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today praised the enactment of House Bill (HB) 523, bi-partisan legislation that authorizes the prescribed use of medical marijuana in Ohio and the creation of the Medical Marijuana Control Program. With the bill’s passage in May, Ohio became the 25th state to legalize marijuana for medical consumption. 

 
 
$271 million paid to save Ohio businesses, working people from increased taxes
September 2, 2016

State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today applauded the recent announcement that the state of Ohio has paid the remaining $271 million of its debt to the federal government for an unemployment compensation loan.

“This move will provide great relief to employers in Ohio who have been paying higher taxes as a result of the state’s debt,” said Sheehy. “Paying off the debt earlier than originally expected is projected to save employers a net estimated $351 million, an amount that can now be used toward supporting hardworking families and expanding local businesses.” 

 
 
Say state needs strong, unified approach to help communities suffering from growing crisis
September 1, 2016

Democratic lawmakers today called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference this morning the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.    

“The first step in any road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and it’s time for the administration to recognize the opioid addiction crisis as the public health emergency that it is,” said Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron). “Too many Ohio families are losing loved ones to drug addiction and overdoses. We must marshal all available state resources and attention to fight back against this rapidly growing threat to our communities.”

 
 

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today praised the enactment of House Bill 37, legislation that eliminates the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) limit in breweries across Ohio. The bill that Gov. Kasich signed on May 31 officially goes into effect today, Aug. 29.

Ohio’s old alcohol-by-volume limit on beer was 12 percent. The passage of HB 37 eliminated that limit, allowing Ohio breweries to make and sell beer with a higher concentration of alcohol.

“This law will bring Ohio breweries to a level playing field with breweries in other states that do not have this unnecessary burden,” said Ramos. “It provides a great boon for brewers in an already booming industry.”

 
 
Nearly 200 heroin-related overdoses in one week push emergency responders to limit
August 26, 2016

State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) today called for emergency state funding to be made available for local communities to combat the rapidly intensifying opioid abuse epidemic in Ohio. The state lawmaker’s call immediately follows after Gov. John Kasich delivered a speech on what he sees as the state’s success in dealing with the drug abuse crisis, but also as the Southwest corner of the state experienced a spike in heroin-related overdoses this week.

 
 
Lawmaker says current efforts aren't enough amid highest overdose numbers to date
August 26, 2016

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), today responded to Gov. John Kasich’s Thursday comments at the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and the state’s actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The governor’s optimistic comments came on the same day the Ohio Department of Health released the report on 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data stating fentanyl-related drug overdoses more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. And the numbers continue to climb. For July 2016, Summit County alone experienced an estimated 395 overdoses, which matched the total number of overdoses in the county for the four months prior combined.*

“State leaders still refuse to call the opioid epidemic what it is: a public health crisis,” said Johnson. “It is imperative we remain hopeful and positive, but only if we are also employing all available resources to the law enforcement officers and treatment providers on the front lines. There has yet to be a coherent, statewide response to this devastating public health crisis that is killing more Ohioans than ever before. Summit County is doing a tremendous job at treating and preventing overdoses in my district, but with greater funding and direction from the state, we could be doing far more.”

 
 
Lawmaker urges action on multiple bills to address gender, sexual orientation disparities
August 26, 2016

State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today released the following statement marking the 96th anniversary of the adoption of the nineteenth amendment granting women the right to vote. The lawmaker commemorated the historical significance of the day while calling for greater and swifter action on legislation promoting equality in the state of Ohio.

“Less than 100 years ago, women in this democratic nation were not permitted a voice at the ballot box— our most sacred freedom and civic right,” says Johnson. “Today—only a couple generations later—we are still demanding full political, economic and social equality. The discussion of equal pay, paid parental leave and LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws are not tired issues. These are very real issues which permeate our society and prevent our women, families and communities from reaching their fullest potential.”

 
 

Following today’s first meeting of the state’s bicameral, bipartisan legislative panel tasked with fixing the insolvency of Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, one of two Democratic members of the eight-member panel, state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) issued the following statement:

“I am hopeful today’s meeting marks the beginning of a thoughtful and balanced approach to shoring up our state’s ability to meet the needs of jobless Ohioans. I believe it is clear to many lawmakers, businesses and working people that the most recent one-sided partisan proposal, House Bill 394, is wrong for our state because it focused on extreme cuts to the lifeline we extend to vulnerable citizens and families in times of need. I look forward to working across the aisle to come to a fair solution that prioritizes the financial stability of Ohio’s economy and families.”