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Landmark legislation will give patients, doctors alternatives for treatment of severe injuries, illnesses
May 25, 2016

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today announced the final passage of House Bill (HB) 523, legislation to legalize the use of certain forms of medical marijuana in Ohio to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, including cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, spinal cord injury, HIV and AIDS. Ohio will become the 26th state in the nation to grant access to legal medical marijuana once the bill is signed into law.    

“After an historic vote, Ohio citizens suffering from severe pain or chronic illness will now be able to seek relief through the use of this non-addictive medicine,” said Ramos, who served as ranking minority member of the Select Committee on Medical Marijuana, was a founding member of the Medical Marijuana Task Force, and was instrumental in penning HB 523. “From children with seizure disorders to returning war heroes with PTSD, this bill will help to manage symptoms that get in the way of everyday life. I am honored to have had the opportunity to take part in drafting monumental legislation that will dramatically change so many people’s lives for the better.

 
 
Bipartisan legislation will close loophole that leaves victims vulnerable to intimate partner violence
May 25, 2016

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill (HB) 392, legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. The bill, sponsored by Democratic freshman State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati), will allow victims of domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker. 

If enacted, HB 392 will close a loophole in existing state law that leaves thousands of Ohioans without recourse in the event of domestic violence. Ohio only defines domestic violence as occurring between spouses, family members, those cohabiting, or parents. People in ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships are not included in Ohio’s definition. 

“The most dangerous moment for a victim of domestic violence is when they try to separate from their abuser,” said Sykes. “By modernizing Ohio’s domestic violence laws to include individuals in serious dating relationships, we can help victims in any abusive relationship access the recourse they need to end the cycle of violence.” 

 
 

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) and members of the OLBC today introduced a resolution to remove slavery references from the Ohio constitution, calling the references archaic and offensive to all Ohioans, including those whose ancestors were kidnapped and held captive as slaves.

 
 
Legislation makes common-sense changes to OVI sentencing, vehicle impoundment
May 24, 2016

State Reps. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Robert Cupp (R-Lima) today hailed the House passage of House Bill (HB) 436, legislation to addresses inconsistency in state law with regard to OVI license suspension and offender vehicle immobilization.   

 
 
Sponsor says it's good government, Boccieri says Legislature isn't really serious about public corruption
May 24, 2016

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today reiterated his call for comprehensive campaign finance reform while affirming his support for House Bill 284. The bill adds extortion, perjury, and certain federal offenses to the list of convictions that could cause an individual to lose public retirement system benefits. The House passed the legislation earlier this afternoon by a vote of 88-2.  

 
 
Says bipartisan legislation will prevent fatal accidents, protect communities
May 24, 2016

State Rep. Michael P. Sheehy (D-Oregon) today applauded the House passage of House Bill (HB) 154, bipartisan legislation aimed at improving safety standards for cyclists in Ohio. 

 
 

State Rep. and House Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today released the following statement in response to federal Judge Michael R. Barrett’s issuance of temporary restraining order against Ohio, through June 6, to block the implementation of a state law designed to defund Planned Parenthood. 

“Judge Barrett’s ruling today sends a positive signal to healthcare advocates and women throughout our state. By temporarily blocking the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Ohio, the courts are effectively recognizing this bill for what it is – political posturing that puts women, infants and families in greater danger. I remain hopeful that these politically motivated healthcare restrictions will be stopped once and for all. Ohioans deserve comprehensive access to healthcare services.”

 
 
Pending legislation would restore minority representation on important state oversight body
May 20, 2016
Leland calls for restored bipartisanship on utilities commission via open seat

State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) today called on the governor and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) nominating council to return bipartisanship to the utilities oversight commission by filling an upcoming vacancy with a Democratic commissioner.

The PUCO nominating council is accepting applications for the commission seat Chairman Andre Porter vacates today.

“Bipartisanship is vital to good government – it ensures we have checks and balances so that decisions are measured and fair,” Leland said. “With an agency like the PUCO, which makes multi-billion dollar decisions affecting millions of Ohioans, bipartisanship is absolutely essential.”

Without Porter, a Republican, the commission is comprised of two Republicans and two independents. Leland’s legislation, House Bill 122, would require that both major political parties be represented on the PUCO.

 
 
Urges House to adopt HB 181, Ohio's Automatic Voter Registration legislation
May 19, 2016

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and other elected officials and advocates for the Brennan Center at NYU’s “Automatic Voter Registration: Why and How” convening in New York earlier this week. The event detailed automatic registration efforts across the country and how these efforts are welcoming millions of Americans to the ballot box.

 
 
Fedor responds to national news report of Ohio's largest failing online charter school

The highest ranking Democratic member of the House Education Committee, Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), today responded to a New York Times article which reported that “more students drop out of the Electronic Classroom (of Tomorrow) or fail to finish high school within four years than at any other school in the country."

“Today’s report confirms what so many of us in Ohio already know: failing charter schools continue to defraud taxpayers while our children fall further behind. Story after story from journalists in Ohio and throughout the country detail deep problems within Ohio’s charter school industry, yet the state refuses to take serious action,” Fedor said. “How many generations of kids must we fail before politicians find the political courage to crack down on profiteers that peddle broken promises to our taxpayers, parents, teachers and children?”

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is Ohio’s largest online charter school and was founded by William Lager, a software executive with subsidiary education companies that took in nearly $23 million in tax dollars for providing ECOT services in 2014. ECOT received about $115 million in tax dollars that year.