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Statehouse summit to raise statewide awareness, spur dialogue
February 1, 2017

State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) will host the eighth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Thursday, February 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. The annual event will bring together law enforcement officials, advocates, experts and survivors for interactive educational workshops and informational and inspirational presentations regarding ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio. This year’s special guest is Dr. Elaine Richardson, an author, artist and inspirational professor.

“I believe that by bringing diverse voices from all across the state to the same table, we can help raise awareness and collaborate on strategies to combat modern day slavery,” said Fedor. “While we have made great strides at the state level against the spread of human trafficking, the real work is done out in the community by law enforcement, advocates, families and survivors.”

This year’s event will also include the first ever Ohio Youth Trafficking Prevention Summit focused on prevention and protection strategies for young people on Friday, February 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Unfortunately, human traffickers often target young and vulnerable children,” said Fedor. “By educating our youth on prevention and protection strategies, I believe we can help keep our children safe from predatory criminals.”

The youth summit is free to attend but tickets are required. Those interested can register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/8th-annual-ohio-human-trafficking-awareness-day-youth-summit-tickets-28770533440

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The lead Democratic legislator on the state’s budget and finance panel, state Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), released the following statement in response to today’s state budget unveiling:  

“Trickle-down tax promises of the last six years haven’t come true, and it’s dangerous to expect they will by shifting even more taxes onto working people. As our nation grows and realizes new opportunities since the recession, Ohioans have been running in place instead of getting ahead. We don’t just need to bring Ohio back from the recession - we need to make Ohio first in growth and opportunity. The economic underpinnings of this budget represent the governor’s plans from the past, not a plan for our future. 

 
 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) released the following statement in response to today’s state budget unveiling:  

“Though Governor Kasich has said Ohio is on the verge of a statewide recession, his budget proposal is largely built on the same failed economic ideology that has been holding Ohio back from sharing in the economic growth and stability our nation has experienced since the recession. Tax shifting from the wealthy few to the working and middle class has sidelined Ohio, and predictably failed to bring back middle-class jobs. 

 
 

<p>Democratic state lawmakers today unveiled an ambitious economic agenda focused on laying a foundation for economic stability and paving a path to the middle class for the next generation of working people in the state</p>

 
 
New three-drug lethal injection method ruled unconstitutional
January 26, 2017

Ohio House Democratic Whip Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) issued the following statement today in response to a ruling by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Michael Merz that declared Ohio’s new three-drug lethal injection process unconstitutional. Merz also indefinitely suspended three planned executions of Ohio inmates, including one scheduled in February.

“When the proposed drugs for lethal injection are found to be unconstitutional because they may cause ‘substantial risk of serious harm’, it is immoral for the state to continue to fight to use them,” said Antonio. “I believe it is long past time we abolish the death penalty in Ohio and replace it with a sentence of life without parole.”

 
 
Lawmakers say electoral college does not respect the will of the people
January 26, 2017

State Reps. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) and David Leland (D-Columbus) earlier this week announced the reintroduction of legislation that proposes Ohio join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a group of states that pledge their entire Electoral College delegation to the winner of the national popular vote during the general election.

“This is a change that is long overdue. Two-thirds of the presidents elected in my adult life will have been chosen by the Electoral College in their first term without receiving the majority vote,” said Ramos. “Our current framework does not respect the direct will of the people. This is patently undemocratic and undermines confidence in the people that we are truly a democracy.”

 
 

Democratic state lawmakers today unveiled an ambitious economic agenda focused on laying a foundation for economic stability and paving a path to the middle class for the next generation of working people in the state

 
 
Lawmakers voice concerns about June deadline for Medicaid tax fix
January 23, 2017

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald) last week wrote a letter to Gov. John Kasich urging him to preserve the revenue local governments and public transit systems receive from the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have given Ohio a deadline of June 30, 2017 to remedy its MCO tax structure so that it complies with CMS policy, but any changes may threaten the millions of dollars local communities currently receive from the tax. 

“Our concerns need to be heard on this issue and I want to work with the governor to include a fix to the MCO tax revenue in the upcoming state budget,” said Boccieri. “If local revenue sharing isn’t preserved, the legislature will cripple our communities with another unbearable budget hit.” 

 
 

As Americans reflect today on the impact and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s important we remember one often understated piece of that historic legacy: the reverend’s resolute advocacy for economic justice.

Dr. King professed that economic opportunity is the foundation on which disenfranchised groups may achieve social and political empowerment. He understood that without a job or an income, a worker “has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness.”

 
 
Expedited process for abandoned property foreclosure will prevent urban decay, boost revitalization efforts
January 6, 2017

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today commented on the enactment of House Bill 463, legislation signed into law this week by Gov. John Kasich that will help communities fight blight by establishing an expedited foreclosure process for abandoned and vacant homes.

“Abandoned homes stuck in the lengthy foreclosure process can depress neighborhood property values and attract vandalism and crime,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Modernizing Ohio’s foreclosure laws helps stabilize neighborhoods and prevent urban decay by giving communities a tool to speed up the foreclosure process.”