Senator Gentile, pictured far right, presents proclamation. (Courtesy: Daily Sentinel)

Reedsville-State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) visited Meig County to present a proclamation honoring the girls basketball team at Eastern High School in Reedsville.  The Eastern Lady Eagles won the 2014 Divison IV state basketball championship.

 
 
  

Columbus – Today, State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 374 to designate a portion of State Route 562 in Hamilton County the “Barack Obama Norwood Lateral Highway.”  The highway would be the second in Hamilton County to honor a former president.  State Route 126 has been called the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway since the 1990’s—an honor bestowed on the former President while he was still alive.

“President Obama, like President Reagan won Hamilton County twice and was a two-term President,” said Senator Kearney.  “Such accomplishments deserve recognition.”

The Norwood Lateral Highway runs east to west for approximately 3.5 miles between I-71 and I-75 within the cities of Norwood and Cincinnati.

The notable accomplishments during President Obama’s time in office include:  national healthcare reform, repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, appointment of the first Hispanic to the U.S. Supreme Court and a decline in the national unemployment rate from 10.0% to 5.9%.

“President Obama’s presidency is historic and deserving of a lasting recognition through renaming State Route 562,” Senator Kearney added.

 

 
 
  

Cadiz - The Harrison County Farm Bureau honored State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) this week by presenting him with the organization's Friend of Agriculture award at a meeting in Cadiz.  The award recognizes Sen. Gentile's committment and dedication to Ohio's number one industry--agriculture. Sen. Gentile serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture committee.

 
 
  
 
Senator Schiavoni Proposes Grant Program For Bullying Prevention
Funding targeted at helping Middle School age children
October 21, 2014
 
 

Columbus – Today Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced Senate Bill 373 to create the School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program.  The bill’s introduction coincides with October being Bullying Awareness Month.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see the harmful of effects of bullying in schools in my district and throughout the state,” said Senator Schiavoni.  “After talking to students, parents, and school administrators it is clear that this is a problem we need to take seriously. The goal is to prevent these incidents from occurring and I want to ensure that school districts have the flexibility to decide how they want to enhance their existing programming.”

The legislation creates a grant program that would offer one time funding to school districts based on the size of their student population. The State Board of Education would oversee the program and application process. The funding is to be used specifically at middle schools, a time when intervention, education, and awareness is crucial for students.

“I’ve worked to address this issue in previous legislation but this new bill helps school districts with the financial resources they need to provide the type of programming that will make a lasting impact,” said Senator Schiavoni. “We have nearly $1.5 billion sitting in the Rainy Day Fund and the $1.85 million that would be dedicated to this program is a worthwhile and reasonable investment.”

Senator Schiavoni’s previous legislation on the topic includes the dedication of a week in October as Non-Violence week and a bill titled the Jessica Logan Act which added cyber-bullying to the definition of school anti-bullying policies. 

 
 
  
 
Senator Skindell Calls For Joint Health Committee Hearing On Ebola
Request for Director of Dept. of Health to Brief Legislators
October 15, 2014
 
 

Columbus—State Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) today sent a letter to the chairpersons of the House and Senate Health Committees requesting a joint meeting for the purpose of hearing testimony from state health officials.  The request follows news that a healthcare worker with the Ebola virus visited Akron and the greater Cleveland area this week.

Dear Chairwoman Jones and Chairman Wachtmann:

Due to the recent developments of a healthcare worker infected with the Ebola virus travelling to Northeast Ohio, I am respectfully requesting a joint meeting of the Senate Medicaid, Health, and Human Services committee and the House Health and Aging Committee. Testimony from Ohio Department of Health Director Richard Hodges and healthcare experts is imperative to ensuring that correct knowledge of the Ebola virus is heard and the safety of our constituents is guaranteed.

Please feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Sen. Michael J. Skindell                                                                                                        

 
 
  
 
Senator Schiavoni Introduces Bill To Protect Injured Workers
Legislation provides disability assistance for brain and spinal cord injuries
October 09, 2014
 
 

Columbus – Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced legislation that would make an individual eligible to apply for disability compensation when a brain or spinal cord injury causes the loss of use of a body part.  Senate Bill 368 is in response to a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling, Smith v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, that denied a workers comp claim to an employee of Ohio State University.

The employee suffered brain damage as the result of an accident and remains in a persistent vegetative state.  After approving earlier claims, the Industrial Commission denied a claim for the loss of vision and hearing.  The Supreme Court sided with the commission because the General Assembly has not included the loss of brain-stem function on a list for approved compensation.

“It’s completely unfair and shows the need for closing this loophole in state law,” said Senator Schiavoni.  “I’m concerned the decision by the Ohio Supreme Court will be used to deny future claims for other workers who’ve suffered devastating spinal cord injuries.”

Senator Schiavoni’s legislation changes current law to recognize that the loss of function of a body part related to a brain or spinal cord injury.  SB 368 also requires a medical examination and review by the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation to determine whether the individual would be eligible for partial or permanent disability compensation benefits.

 
 
  
Photo courtesy Herald Star

Steubenville-- State Senator Lou Gentile took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction for apartments in Steubenville that will provide permanent housing for homeless individuals and famlies.  The $1.8 million Lighthouse Haven project is being built at North Sixth and Dock Streets.

"It speaks volumes of the community helping those who need it. Without safe and affordable housing, it would be difficult to overcome the challenges (persons) face," Sen. Gentile said.

 
 
  
 
Senator Gentile Holds Town Hall Meeting In Martins Ferry
Discusses severance tax and creating jobs in the oil and gas industry
October 08, 2014
 
 

By KAYLA VAN DYNE - Staff Writer, Times Leader

MARTINS FERRY - A town hall meeting featuring State Sen. Lou Gentile was held Monday night at the Belmont County District Library.

Gentile covered multiple issues that have been on the minds of many Martins Ferry residents. One of the biggest has been the state severance tax.

"It is still uncertain about whether or not the severance tax will be debated and finally passed at the end of this year," said Gentile. "The Senate president has indicated that we may take more time with it, however, I don't think this issue is going to go away."

Gentile feels that it if it is not addressed immediately after the November election that it will come back in January.

The severance taxes come into play when a non-renewable natural resource are exacted within a taxing jurisdiction. In this case, the non-renewable natural resource is oil and gas, which is quickly growing in the area.

Gentile went on to say that in a recent Columbus Dispatch article, Ohio Gov. John Kasich stated that he was adamant about seeing the severance tax through.

"The issue before us now and I am glad that Mayor Paul Riethmiller asked me talk about it is this severance tax issue," said Gentile. "The House has passed this legislation and the Senate has, I believe, one hearing in what they call a sponsor hearing. We have had no further hearings and there is a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen in the future with respect to that the senate president has indicated that he may hold off for a little while first."

Gentile feels that the severance tax is an issue that the Senate needs to continue to talk about.

"Let me say this, we are in the very early stages of this oil and gas development and throughout this process and this goes for all of our natural resources that we can, in a responsible way, an environmentally friendly way, develop our natural resources here in Eastern Ohio, whether it be oil and gas or whether it be coal," said Gentile. "I think we have under our feet some great reserves if we can unlock them, but we have to do it responsibly and we got to make sure we are holding people accountable."

Gentile states that is what he has tried to do throughout this entire process and treat them like he would any other industry. He has also tried to work with them and have these industry hire more local people.

"I think if they are going to come here and exact our resources, then they have an obligation to work with Ohio companies, Ohio businesses and Ohio workers," said Gentile. "In private meetings that I have had with these companies, I have strongly encouraged them to consider our workforce and local suppliers. And I will continue to do that."

(This news story appears courtesy of the Times Leader newspaper.)

 
 
  
 
Senator Brown Announces Funding For Energy Saving Projects At UT And ToCI
Money to go towards electrical, HVAC and insulation improvements
October 06, 2014
 
 

Columbus – State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) announced today that the State Controlling Board has released $102,700 for energy cost reduction upgrades in buildings on the University of Toledo’s campus. Additionally, $83,850 has been approved for weatherization projects at the Toledo Correctional Institution (ToCI).

“Improving energy efficiency in public buildings is a sound investment whether we are looking at UT or the facilities at ToCI,” said Senator Brown. “I am glad to see the continued commitment to long term cost reductions these investments represent.”

The funding for the University of Toledo will be used to upgrade energy systems which control the heating, cooling and lighting of buildings on campus. These upgrades will improve temperature controls and automate scheduling for campus buildings, which will result in reductions in energy consumption and reduced utility costs.

The improvements at ToCI involve the installation and maintenance of weather proofing insulation on over 400 windows and thousands of vertical seams throughout the facility.

The State Controlling Board provides legislative oversight over certain capital and operating expenditures by state agencies and has approval authority over certain types of state fiscal activity.

 

 
 
  

Columbus –Today, Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) and Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) introduced bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 367, to eliminate the words “mentally retarded” from state law.  Despite previous legislation sponsored by former Senator Jimmy Stewart and passed by the General Assembly in 2009, the language still appears in portions of the Ohio Revised Code.

“Senator Stewart deserves credit for his work to eliminate this outdated term from our laws, but the words are still scattered across Ohio’s Revised Code in dozens of places,” said Senator Kearney.  “That’s why we are introducing legislation to resolve this issue once and for all.  It’s important that all Ohioans have a right to say what they should be called and to express their talents without stigma.”

“Though we as a culture have long accepted that the terminology ‘mental retardation’ is outdated and insensitive, this is not yet reflected in Ohio law,” said Senator Lehner. “The time has come for Ohio to recognize the rights of people with intellectual disabilities by striking stigmatizing language from our state law and join many other states which have already done so.” 

SB 367 would change all variations of “mentally retarded” in the Revised Code to “intellectual disability” or similar terminology such as “developmental disability”. There would be an exception for a few instances where the Revised Code must conform to language contained in federal law.

 
 
  
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Senator Turner Celebrates Women's Equality Day

 

COLUMBUS—To commemorate the 94th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in the United States, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) issued the following statement:



 
 

Senator Turner Tours Nationally-Recognized Assisted Living Facility In Cleveland

 

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Appointee Doesn't Meet Qualifications

 

I respond to the Aug. 10 op-ed “Democrats miss opportunities by not running in every race,” by Thomas Suddes, which mischaracterized my concerns about Gov. John Kasich’s appointment of Rick Hodges as the director of the Ohio Department of Health. I requested confirmation hearings in the Ohio Senate because I think Hodges fails to meet the qualifications for the job as required by state law.



 
 

Senator Cafaro Attends Lake Erie Caucus Forum

 

On August 15, Senator Cafaro attended the Lake Erie Caucus Forum at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge where she and members from the Ohio Senate and Ohio House listened to community residents and business leaders as they discussed the recent Northwest Ohio water crisis.  Nearly  500,000 residents were unable to use their tap water for more than two days due to contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. The water crisis highlights the necessity to keep Ohio’s water supply free from toxic algae and other pollutants that are harmful to the collective health of Ohio’s citizens.