COLUMBUS—Today, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) introduced companion legislation to examine Ohio’s troubled compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), or Motor Voter law.
In a repeat of the situation that plagued the November 2012 general election, the secretary of state again failed to send thousands of registration updates to local boards of elections until just days before the May 2013 primary. Failing to send this information in a timely manner is a violation of both state and federal laws.
“Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Motor Voter law,” Rep. Clyde said. “And we should do everything we can in Ohio to ensure our compliance with this important federal law.”
In addition to investigating data-sharing delays, the Motor Voter Study Committee would examine why so few voters register at Ohio BMVs. Only 16.4% of the state’s registrations at public agencies come through the BMV, compared to 80.5% in Pennsylvania and 87.1% Michigan.
“The goal of the NVRA was to make it easier to register and cast a ballot, but this has not been the case in Ohio,” Senator Turner said. “Taking a hard look at how the state is falling short is just common sense.”
“We can and must to better for all Ohio voters,” stated both Sen. Turner and Rep. Clyde. “We encourage our colleagues in the legislature to give these bills the strong consideration they deserve.”
SB 146 and HB 214 would create a bi-partisan study committee to look at how to improve Ohio’s compliance with the Motor Voter law and increase training requirements for BMV employees.
COLUMBUS—Today, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona:
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today reaffirms that states have an important role to play in elections, and that we have to get it right. In the 2012 election, we saw long lines at polling places, restricted voting hours, and suppression of the vote—particularly in low-income and minority neighborhoods. This verdict should be a reminder that we must work diligently to protect the voting rights of our fellow Ohioans.”
COLUMBUS– Members of the Ohio Senate today announced the introduction of a new bipartisan bill aimed at systemic reform of Ohio’s Medicaid system. The legislation, jointly sponsored by Senators Dave Burke (R–Marysville) and Capri Cafaro (D–Hubbard), seeks to help Ohioans gain access to affordable health care while minimizing costs to Ohio and maximizing the benefit to Ohio taxpayers.
“My colleagues in the General Assembly take very seriously the need to assist struggling Ohioans with basic services that provide a hand up rather than a hand out,” said Senate President Keith Faber (R–Celina). “This bipartisan working group has given thoughtful consideration to reforms that will make the Medicaid system more efficient and sustainable over the long-term. This bipartisan bill is the next step in the process.”
“The House and Senate have spent many weeks holding hearings and listening to testimony and now is the time for action,” said Senate Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati). “The legislation is a good start, but only a start. We should seize the opportunity now to encourage workforce development, protect Ohio businesses and provide health coverage to more Ohioans.”
Senators Burke and Cafaro have engaged with colleagues in the Ohio House over the last several weeks to discuss possible Medicaid reform legislation. This bill, along with a companion bill introduced today in the House, aims to reduce health care costs and define performance metrics that create accountability for the Medicaid program.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to find ways to provide more services to more people in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Senator Burke. “We have to remember when it comes to Medicaid, the taxpayer is the provider. Tax dollars we spend on Medicaid are dollars we are taking away from education, economic development, and other items important to Ohio. I believe it’s possible to achieve our objectives and bring true reform to Medicaid that is cost-effective and outcome driven. This bill will enable us to determine what that looks like.”
"This legislation represents a first step toward providing health coverage to more Ohioans especially the working poor and veterans," said Senator Cafaro. "The goal is to make sustainable reforms that improve health outcomes that contain costs and hold all parties involved accountable to continued health care and workforce innovation. While I am encouraged by the progress we have made, there is still much work to be done. We are at a critical crossroads to take action."
Among the policy priorities:
COLUMBUS—State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) was stunned by the introduction of House Bill 200, legislation that would impose a wide array of restrictions upon women seeking to make their own healthcare decisions.
“Women and their families have the right to make their personal healthcare decisions in a safe and supportive environment,” said Senator Turner. “House Bill 200 is an affront to that right. Taken together with the preposterous provisions in the state budget, the personal freedom of women in Ohio is under attack.”
House Bill 200, introduced by Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and cosponsored by 34 other Republican members of the Ohio House would impose an extensive set of new restrictions upon women considering abortions in the state, including:
“To force doctors—medical professionals—to provide their patients with medically inaccurate information in the name of political ideology is unconscionable,” Turner commented. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, multiple studies have demonstrated that having an abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer.
Doctors that do not comply could be punished with a first degree felony and a fine of up to $1 million.
“These are personal decisions that should be made by a woman in consultation with her family, her doctor, and her God,” Senator Turner said. “There is no room for the General Assembly in that equation.”
The state budget, currently in conference committee, strips federal family planning funding from family planning clinics and creates new levels of red tape for ambulatory surgical facilities.
On June 12, Senators Lou Gentile (D- Steubenville) and Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) honored Executive Director Mr. Mike Mennett and representatives from Keep Ohio Beautiful including for their work to keep Ohio’s communities beautiful places to live.
Keep Ohio Beautiful is a part of the national Great American Cleanup initiative that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities.
The Great American Cleanup of Ohio involves people from across the state in cleaning up litter and trash from alongside roads, streams, beaches, parks, forests and neighborhoods.
During the 2012 Great American Cleanup of Ohio, more than 185,000 volunteers from across the state cleaned up more than 4.5 million pounds of litter and waste and recycled more than 7 million pounds of paper products and plastic bottles.
To learn more about Keep Ohio Beautiful, visit www.keepohiobeautiful.org.
Senator Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) issued the following statement after he was selected to serve on the conference committee that will resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the state budget (HB 59):
“I hope the conference committee seizes the opportunity to improve the state budget bill (HB 59) so that it better meets the needs of all Ohioans. Throughout the budget process, Senate Democrats have called for greater investment in our schools and communities, expanded healthcare, job creation and stronger government accountability and transparency. The conference committee represents another chance to advocate for those priorities, and I intend to do so. I encourage my colleagues on the conference committee to think about how we can craft a better budget that invests in Ohio’s future and protects our citizens.”
Senator Capri Cafaro speaks about healthcare access and coverage for all Ohioans during the Ohio Senate debate on the state budget.
Columbus – Today, Senator Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) issued the following statement in response to the passage of the state budget (HB 59) by the Ohio Senate:
“This bill ignores our most vulnerable Ohioans including women, children, and local communities. While no budget can benefit or affect different groups in the same manner, we believe they deserve a better budget.
I am disappointed that the school funding proposal does not adequately fund our school districts that need it the most. As a result, we have compromised the quality of education and safety for the students that we are obligated to provide for.
The greatest way we could have provided for the health and well-being of Ohioans is by expanding Medicaid. It is the right thing to do and it is my hope that the 275,000 Ohioans will get the health care that they deserve.
However, the legislature’s continued attack on women’s reproductive rights and access to quality healthcare sends the message to the women of Ohio that partisan politics are being put before their needs.
Finally, the state must do a better job of working with the communities that comprise our state. They are the engines that drive Ohio’s economy and deserve additional funding.
By committing to invest in the health of our citizens, providing our children with a fully funded, quality education, and strengthening our local communities, we could have shaped this budget into policies that would have positive effects on the greatest number of Ohioans while bolstering our economy and attracting others to our state.
My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for policy changes that will contribute to the health, education and quality of life for all the people of Ohio.
(Columbus) State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) reacted to the passage of the two year budget plan for the State of Ohio today. Dozens of amendments were put forth for deliberation on the Senate floor that would have made improvements to Ohio’s public education system, public safety, community investment, workforce training programs, and the health and wellness of all Ohioans. House Bill 59 passed the Senate by a vote of 23-10.
“There were several opportunities today to give back to the people of Ohio for the sacrifices they’ve made in recent years,” Gentile stated. “Local leaders continue to struggle to keep police and firefighters on the streets, and teachers in the classroom. The Ohio Senate failed to invest in Ohio’s communities and children.”
Among the amendments offered during today’s budget debate, Senator Gentile proposed the following changes:
“Strengthening Ohio’s communities and schools should be our top priority,” Senator Gentile said. “Local communities play a critical role in helping spur economic growth and development. I will continue my efforts to improve our communities and strengthen our schools.”
COLUMBUS – State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) today expressed her disappointment that the state budget passed by the Ohio Senate failed to take advantage of the opportunity to reinvest in public safety and education in Ohio’s communities.
“The strength of our state lies in the strength of its communities. Promoting safe and vibrant neighborhoods through exceptional police and fire protection along with a quality public education system makes Ohio a great place to raise a family and ensures it will remain that way into the future.
“Since Governor Kasich took office, funding for schools has been reduced by $1.8 billion while funding for local governments has been reduced by $1.4 billion. At the same time, 80% of the proposed small business tax cut would go to 5% of local business owners, only 1.5% of whom would receive enough to pay the base salary for one additional employee making minimum wage.
“Unfortunately, the budget passed today fails to support our local communities and schools at a level that puts the people of Ohio first.”