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Says tax-free shopping weekend will help families save hard-earned dollars
February 9, 2016

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced the introduction of legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. Not only will the holiday help offset Ohio’s 4.5 percent sales tax increase enacted by the 2013 state budget, but for three days shoppers will pay no sales tax on itemized purchases as they prepare their children for the coming of the new school year. A similar proposal launched Ohio’s first temporary sales tax holiday in August 2015.

 
 
Rep. Hearcel Craig recognized as a leader in the advancement of the African American community

The Central Seventh-day Adventist Church of Columbus, Ohio honored Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) Saturday with the Black History Achievement Award. Rep. Craig received the award during the Church’s Worship Experience.

 
 
State Leaders Working to Replace Incivility with Compromise and Cooperation
February 5, 2016

Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) has been selected to co-chair a national network of state legislators, a program of the National Institute of Civil Discourse (NICD), which is committed to returning civility, rationality and respect to American politics. The new leadership will work to expand the Network just as the presidential primary season opens and with new polls showing American are fed up with hyper-toxicity in politics.

 
 
Lawmaker urges adoption of her full slate of fixes on the postmark problem
February 3, 2016

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) sent a letter to Secretary of State Jon Husted today urging him to issue an additional directive to ensure all ballots with missing postmarks are counted. 

 
 
Several amendments requiring the use of local workers tabled on party lines
February 3, 2016
Sykes offers changes to lessen local blow of proposed local hiring ban

A House legislative panel today came one step closer to passing legislation, Senate Bill 152, that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.

Some Ohio communities use local hiring requirements on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. The City of Akron – currently in the midst of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.

“I am very disappointed that the legislature continues to ignore The City of Akron and our freedom to make decisions that get people back to work and stabilize our local economy,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes. “My colleagues and I worked diligently to present alternatives that would employ city residents.”

 

 
 
Environmental lab documents confirm state agency notified of elevated lead levels in August
February 2, 2016

State Rep. John Boccieri today wrote to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) regarding outstanding concerns over when the agency claims it first learned of test results revealing water contamination in Sebring, Ohio. Boccieri's office recently received documentation from the state's water testing vendor, Ream and Haagar Environmental Lab, that confirms the vendor first notified the Ohio EPA in August of test results showing elevated lead levels in Sebring's water.

 
 
Says EPA accepting responsibility is a step in the right direction to correct notification process, puts forward legislation to prevent water crisis repeat
February 1, 2016

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today announced legislation to establish clear standards for water testing and public notification procedures in cases of lead contamination. The legislation comes in the midst of the Sebring water crisis, in which records have revealed that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to notify residents of Sebring, Ohio that area water had higher-than-normal levels of lead for almost five months.

 
 
Gender pay disparity persists on seventh anniversary of Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
January 29, 2016

Marking the seventh anniversary of the federal Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Ohio House Democratic Women Democratic (OHDWC) lawmakers today highlighted efforts underway in the legislature that would level the economic playing field for women in Ohio, including “Equal Pay for Equal Work” legislation. 

“A lot has changed for families, women and workplaces since the 1950s. It is time to stop treating women only as homemakers and recognize the fundamental leadership roles we hold in the corporations, public service and the family unit,” said OHDWC Chair and State Rep. Fedor (D-Toledo). “Equal pay for equal work is a keystone of our American values of freedom and fairness. It is time for our state to take the lead and show women, families and the nation that equal pay can’t wait.” 

 
 

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today called on the Ohio House of Representatives to subpoena Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler to answer questions relating to the state’s failure to protect the public for some six months after toxic drinking water was found in Sebring and Beloit, Ohio.

The lawmaker has repeatedly called on the director of the Ohio EPA to provide the public with answers to basic questions surrounding the renewal of water permits and sluggish communication that forced seniors, pregnant mothers and children to unknowingly drink water contaminated with copper and lead.

“We have received no answer to our repeated questions about steps taken by the EPA, which shares a moral and legal obligation to notify the public when such a crisis evolves, to remedy this crisis.” Boccieri wrote in the letter to Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger.

EPA Director Butler is Gov. John Kasich’s former policy advisor and was appointed by Gov. Kasich to the Ohio EPA after the former director resigned amid questions of improper political pressure on state water regulators.

A copy of the letter is attached with text available below: 

 
 
Annual recognition week to honor public school educators
January 28, 2016

State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) this week introduced House Bill 438, legislation to designate the week before Thanksgiving as “Ohio Public Education Appreciation Week.” Proposed as an occasion to celebrate public education and honor individuals that make a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education, the annual period of recognition will coincide with the national American Education Week, which was initiated by the National Education Association in 1921. 

“A child’s education is an invaluable asset that they carry with them for their entire life. Now, more than ever, it is important to show our strong support for public education,” said Patterson, who is a retired public school teacher and coach. “Educators across our state are dealing with budget cuts and unprecedented scrutiny at the local and state level. We should use this opportunity to affirm our support of Ohio’s dedicated public educators and recognize the important role they have in our communities.”