Senator Thomas Talks About His Police And Community Relations Bill
Discusses legislation during an appearance on Ohio in Focus
March 30, 2015
 
 

Columbus--State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) discusses his legislation to improve police and community relations (SB 23) and to give cities across Ohio additional opportunities for economic development (SB 95).

 
 
  

 

Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) recently visited the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center's (OVESC) Bright Beginnings Preschool class at Belpre Elementary to learn more about the service that early childhood programs provide in Ohio. 

 
 
  

During Senate session on March 25th, Senators Edna Brown (D-Toledo) and Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) honor the life and legacy of former Toledo Mayor and Ohio House of Representatives Democratic Leader Jack Ford who passed away at the age of 67 on March 21, 2015. 

 
 
  
 
Editorial: Mandatory Submission Of Rape Kits For DNA Testing Is Smart Legislation
The Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board highlights efforts by Senator Capri Cafaro to get justice for rape victims in Ohio.
March 25, 2015
 
 

The state legislature should be commended for taking a tougher stance on the submission of untested rape kits for DNA analysis.

Under a law passed last year that took effect on Monday, law enforcement agencies are now required -- rather than "encouraged" -- to comply with a statewide protocol established by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for processing the kits, which contain genetic evidence of sexual assault.

The law -- sponsored by state Sen. Capri Cafaro, a Hubbard Democrat -- does not provide penalties for noncompliance. 

"There was concern that penalties might serve as a deterrent," Cafaro said. She said she would monitor compliance over the rest of this year to determine if "we need to go back to the drawing board."

Fair enough.

But DeWine needs to keep the spotlight on the police departments that haven't submitted kits -- right now, most police departments in the state.

To read more from the Plain Dealer Editorial Board on why compliance to test rape kits is critical to the healing process for rape victims in Ohio, click here

 
 
  
Columbus – Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D - Columbus) gave sponsor testimony today in the Ohio Senate Medicaid Committee on two bills that would remove barriers to healthcare improvements for Ohioans.  Senate Bill 32, The Telehealth Act, would require insurance companies and Medicaid to cover telehealth services in Ohio.  Under the proposal, telemedicine service is defined as a medical service that is delivered by a physician through the use of any communication, including oral, written, or electronic communication.
 
“I have and will continue to work with stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that we are expanding access, peer support and effective culturally proficient care to all Ohioans,” stated Senator Tavares. “This legislation will enable us to expand care while we continue to build our healthcare workforce in the coming months.”
 
Senator Tavares was the first legislator to introduce telehealth legislation in the State of Ohio in the 129th General Assembly. According to the American Telemedicine Association, 35 states (including Ohio) have introduced 100 telemedicine-related bills in the United States.
 
Senate Bill 72, also sponsored by Senator Tavares, would require Medicaid managed care organizations to follow Ohio’s existing prompt pay law. The state requires a claim to be paid or denied no later than 30 days of receipt and an additional 15 days are allowed if supporting documents are needed for the claim. This will ensure continued service to patients and that healthcare providers receive timely payments that are needed to maintain financial security.
 
“Providers who serve patients whose benefits are managed by a Medicaid managed care organization deserve assurance that they will be compensated for services in a prompt manner," stated Tavares. 

 

 
 
  

Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and the members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to veto provisions of the state transportation budget (HB 53) that will discourage college students and active duty military personnel from voting.  As a result of this legislation, individuals who register to vote have only 30 days to obtain an Ohio driver’s license and vehicle registration or they risk criminal prosecution.
 
The letter says in part:
 
“We ask you to veto these provisions because the burden of the new requirements will unduly fall upon college students and active duty military personnel and because all the consequences of these hastily added sections are not fully understood.  We also fear this legislation will send the wrong message across the country that Ohio is not a welcoming place for people who might consider moving here.”
 
The entire letter can be read here.

 

 
 
  

Today, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) joined the Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition at a press conference to advocate for putting Ohio youth on a pathway to success.

According to the coalition, "each year nearly 100,000 Ohio youth go through Ohio’s juvenile court system for delinquency and status offense cases.  Research over the past decade has shown what works to give these youth opportunities to start and stay on a path to becoming positive members of our communities instead of remaining system-involved." 

To learn more about the advocacy work of the Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition to create pathways of success for Ohio youth, click here
 
 
  
 
Senator Williams Appears On Ohio In Focus
Discusses educational opportunities and police-community relations
March 24, 2015
 
 

State Senator Sandra Williams appeared on Ohio in Focus to talk about her legislation to help Ohioans earn high school diplomas and college degrees.  She also discusses her efforts to improve community and police relations.

 
 
  
 
Senator Williams Testifies To Establish Address Confidentiality Program To Keep Crime Victims Safe
Senate Bill 83 would conceal address to protect rights of victims
March 24, 2015
 
 
Senator Williams testifies before the Senate State and Local Government Committee to protect the rights of crime victims.

Columbus –Today, Senator Sandra R. Williams (D-Cleveland) testified before the Ohio Senate State and Local Government Committee on her legislation that would establish the Ohio Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) to conceal the addresses of victims of stalking, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. Senate Bill 83 would allow Ohioans who fear their safety is threatened to use a placeholder mailing address and would prohibit the disclosure of a participant’s address in the public record.
 
“This program will be a critical component of safety planning for victims who fear further violence or even lethal retaliation from their offenders,” stated Senator Williams during her testimony. “It will also allow victims to continue to engage in the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”
 
The state of Washington was the first to establish an ACP in 1991 in an effort to stop offenders from using public data such as voter or drivers’ license registries, to find a victim’s address. Since victims cannot falsify their address on public documents without facing criminal penalties—even to protect themselves—ACP laws bridge the gap by allowing victims to use an alternative ACP address when submitting information to public agencies. To date, 37 states have established Address Confidentiality Programs.
 
Under the proposal, the Office of the Secretary of State will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the Address Confidentiality Program. Ohioans who enroll as participants must be able to attest to threats to their safety or that of their children.  
 
Additional qualifications include:

  • Those who have protection orders for menacing by stalking or domestic violence;
  • Those who are victims of assault, sexual assault and/or battery, domestic violence;
  • Other crimes that may apply. 

 
Once an applicant qualifies for the program, the Secretary of State’s office will assign a placeholder address which must be accepted by governmental entities, employers, and the United States Postal Service.  The Secretary of State’s office will also be charged with determining the process in which the participant’s mail is collected and forwarded to the confidential address.
 
“Ultimately, the passage of Senate Bill 83 will make Ohio the 38th state to pass such a program and would provide a significant step toward freedom and safety for victims who are forced to escape from violence,” said Senator Williams. 

 
 
  
Senator Brown testifies before the Senate Insurance Committee to require insurance companies in Ohio to offer coverage for hearing aids.

Columbus – Today in the Senate Insurance Committee, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) provided sponsor testimony for Senate Bill 98, which requires insurance companies in Ohio to offer coverage for hearing aids, and related services as a rider to basic health plans.
 
Currently, many insurance plans in Ohio consider hearing aids an elective form of treatment and do not cover them as part of basic health coverage. Without insurance coverage, the out of pocket costs for hearing aids can easily reach into the thousands of dollars.
 
“Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss is extremely detrimental to a child’s development and may be linked to increased instances of dementia in adults,” said Senator Brown. “SB 98 will help Ohio families receive the much needed treatments for hearing loss which they are currently unable to afford.”
 
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 36 million Americans suffer from a loss of hearing, while the Ohio Department of Health reports 3 in 1000 children are born with hearing impairment in Ohio.
 
“Given the prevalence of hearing loss, the inability of many families to receive proper treatment, and the negative impacts of untreated hearing loss in children and adults, I believe it is time to take action and give Ohioans the resources they need to properly treat this medical condition that is far too often ignored,” Senator Brown said.
 
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 20 states mandate some form of insurance coverage for hearing loss services.

 
 
  
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Senator Gentile Visits Bright Beginnings Preschool

 

Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) recently visited the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center's (OVESC) Bright Beginnings Preschool class at Belpre Elementary to learn more about the service that early childhood programs provide in Ohio. 



 
 

Senators Brown And Gardner Honor The Life Of Former Toledo Mayor And House Democratic Leader Jack Ford

 

During Senate session on March 25th, Senators Edna Brown (D-Toledo) and Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) honor the life and legacy of former Toledo Mayor and Ohio House of Representatives Democratic Leader Jack Ford who passed away at the age of 67 on March 21, 2015. 



 
 

Editorial: Mandatory Submission Of Rape Kits For DNA Testing Is Smart Legislation

 

The state legislature should be commended for taking a tougher stance on the submission of untested rape kits for DNA analysis.

Under a law passed last year that took effect on Monday, law enforcement agencies are now required -- rather than "encouraged" -- to comply with a statewide protocol established by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for processing the kits, which contain genetic evidence of sexual assault.



 
 

Senator Tavares Testifies On Bills To Remove Barriers To Healthcare Improvements In Ohio

 

Columbus – Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D - Columbus) gave sponsor testimony today in the Ohio Senate Medicaid Committee on two bills that would remove barriers to healthcare improvements for Ohioans.  Senate Bill 32, The Telehealth Act, would require insurance companies and Medicaid to cover telehealth services in Ohio.  Under the proposal, telemedicine service is defined as a medical service that is delivered by a physician through the use of any communication, including oral, written, or electronic communication.