Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) spoke at a news conference in Warren to urge Congress to oppose fast track legislation on trade agreements.  The legislation allows only a “yes” or a “no” vote on trade agreements without the opportunity to amend deals that can cost American jobs.  Senators Schiavoni and Gentile will introduce a resolution in the Ohio Senate calling on Congress to oppose fast track.

After today’s news conference, the Senators released the following statements:

Senator Schiavoni

“Although this is federal legislation it is still our job as state legislators to make sure the citizens of Ohio have their voices heard. This is about the democratic process and protecting American jobs. We have seen the hardships that past trade agreements have caused in the Mahoning Valley and we need to do everything possible to stop that from happening again. As Minority Leader, I will be asking my Democratic and Republican colleagues to sign onto this resolution so that Ohio can be an example for the rest of the country in recognizing the urgency and significance of this issue.”

Senator Cafaro 

"Our region has suffered greatly from unfair trade agreements over the last two decades.  Trade agreements, such as the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, need to include standards that ensure fair wages, workplace safety and environmental standards in the nations we intend to work with. The absence of such provisions places us on an uneven playing field and drags the global workforce down, rather than bringing them up to the standards we are proud to have in the United States. Providing Fast Track authority to the President to negotiate trade agreements quickly and in secret diminishes our nation's ability to advocate for such fair trade provisions that would protect the workforce here and abroad."  

Senator Gentile 

"Communities throughout my Senate District have seen economic devastation as a result of fast track trade agreements. Growing up in the Ohio Valley with relatives who worked in the steel industry, I have witnessed up close and personal the effects these unfair trade agreements have had on our families, friends and neighbors when living wage jobs leave our shores.  The loss of good paying manufacturing jobs has created great economic hardship on our communities and has driven our young families in search of work beyond Ohio's borders. Congress must recognize that their actions have consequences that will bring harm to our workers, their families and the local communities we represent.  We will offer a Senate Resolution to urge our members of Congress to oppose fast track legislation and to give Ohioans a voice at the table when negotiating trade agreements.  We call on Ohio's Congressional delegation to protect Ohio's workers, families and local communities and vote no on fast track legislation. "

 
 
  

Columbus- State Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) has introduced legislation that will help protect consumers and providers of health care in Ohio. Senate Bill 129, also sponsored by Senator Gardner (R-Bowling Green), is a bill that would create a standard prior authorization form for medications and treatments and place a time limit on the approval of these requests. The legislation, which has the strong support of the Ohio State Medical Association, received its first hearing on March 24th, 2015 in the Senate Insurance Committee.

“SB 129 is going to have a significantly positive impact on the 20,000 physicians, residents, and medical students the OSMA represents” said Tim Maglione, Senior Director of Government Relations for the Ohio State Medical Association. “This bill is simple: it is about making the Prior Authorization process more transparent, effective and fair. Too often, physicians spend countless hours working to get insurance company approval for recommended medical services. As a result, patients are left in limbo not knowing whether their doctor’s recommended treatments will be “approved” by the insurance company. This legislation is about the patients who many times wait days, weeks and even months to receive the proper care they need. The OSMA applauds Senators Gardner and Cafaro in their efforts and thanks them for bringing this necessary legislation forward.”

SB 129 is supported by the state’s top medical groups including the Ohio Hospital Association.

Senator Cafaro and Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) have also introduced Senate Bill 135 to require health insurance companies to create a contract that ensures a specialty drug co-payment would not exceed $150 for a one month supply. The bill would also allow a patient to request coverage of the drug under the cost sharing requirement if the specialty drug is not covered by a health insurance company. The insurance company could then approve or deny the request.

“Many medicines used to treat chronic diseases are breakthrough treatments that often prevent disability, save and improve lives, and allow patients to function and remain in the workforce,” said Chris Smith, Chief Executive of the Arthritis Foundation Great Lakes Region. “Unfortunately, certain insurer practices, whether they are referred to as “co-insurance” or by some other name, threaten to put medications financially out of reach for many Ohioans as they shift the cost of medicines to consumers. The Arthritis Foundation supports SB 135 in its effort to cap the high out-of-pocket costs of medications for patients.”

“I have been at the forefront of both of these issues for many years,” said Senator Cafaro. “I have always believed that it is very important that our health care system works efficiently and in the interest of our citizens. After many months of hard work, I believe we have introduced bills that will make Ohio’s health care system stronger for patients, providers, pharmacists, and insurers. Senate Bill 129 creates a smooth process and ensures everyone can get their life saving treatments and medications in a timely manner. Senate Bill 135 will help them get their medications and treatments at an affordable cost. Together these bills relieve the stress that many Ohioans feel every day from the rising cost and complicated processes. I am looking forward to working with the cosponsors, advocates, and committee chairs to ensure these bills are given full consideration by the General Assembly.”

 

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

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Senate Democrats Stand Up For Ohio Jobs By Calling On Congress To Oppose "Fast Track" Trade Deals

 

Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) spoke at a news conference in Warren to urge Congress to oppose fast track legislation on trade agreements.  The legislation allows only a “yes” or a “no” vote on trade agreements without the opportunity to amend deals that can cost American jobs.  Senators Schiavoni and Gentile will introduce a resolution in the Ohio Senate calling on Congress to oppose fast track.



 
 

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