Senator Turner Celebrates Women's Equality Day
Encourages Ohioans to continue to exercise their right to vote
August 26, 2014
 
 
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:

“Today, we remember our foremothers who worked tirelessly to expand the opportunity to cast a ballot for women in America,” said Senator Turner. “Nearly 100 years later, the power of the vote remains just as important.”

“Let’s not forget the place where regardless of your background, all men and women are created equal: the ballot box. Participation in our elections is essential to preserving this great democracy and it is up to the citizens to elect leaders who will continue to fight for equality on all fronts.”

 
 
  
 
Senator Turner Tours Nationally-Recognized Assisted Living Facility In Cleveland
Facility named one of America's Best Nursing Homes
August 22, 2014
 
 

Cleveland –Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) visited McGregor Assisted Living and Retirement Center today with representatives from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) to speak with facility officials on successes and regulatory challenges they face as a small business. McGregor was recently awarded a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as named one of America’s Best Nursing Homes in the country by the U.S. News and World Report.

“It is always a pleasure to welcome dedicated legislators such as Senator Nina Turner, as they take time from their busy schedules to let us highlight our work, and opportunities, on behalf of the seniors we serve,” said Mary Beth Cappell-Bovee, Director of Sustainable Value at McGregor.

“It is clear from my visit this morning that McGregor is of the highest caliber, and the 25th District is lucky to have such a dedicated group of folks serving our elders,” Senator Turner said. “The staff here lead with strength, compassion, and purpose while providing a holistic range of services and active lifestyle for the elders of Greater Cleveland.” 

For 40 years, COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises) has been committed to empowering small business success through a series of programs, services, events, and resources that support entrepreneurs, their businesses—and their employees. COSE helps nearly 14,000 small businesses achieve their idea of success in order to build richer, more vibrant communities that improve the economic climate and enhance quality of life.

 

 
 
  
 
Appointee Doesn't Meet Qualifications
In this Letter to the Columbus Dispatch, Leader Schiavoni details why the appointee for the Ohio Department of Health should not serve as director.
August 21, 2014
 
 

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.

Ohio Revised Code 121.10 states that the health director “shall be” a physician or “have significant experience in the public-health profession.”

Since Hodges is not a physician, his resume must contain significant experience in public health.

It does not.

Hodges is a former state legislator who most recently served as the director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. His limited experience in the health-care field was more than a decade ago and was focused on marketing and administrative work at small hospitals.

Hodges does not hold a medical or health-related degree and has never led a public-health department or agency.

My request for hearings is consistent with the Senate’s constitutional role to advise and consent on gubernatorial appointments. With the health and well-being of 11.5 million Ohioans at stake, anyone chosen to lead the Department of Health should receive close scrutiny, especially one whose qualifications clearly fall short of state law.

SEN. JOE SCHIAVONI

33rd Ohio Senate District

Boardman

 
 
  

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.

 

 
 
  
 
Sen. Schiavoni & Rep. Driehaus Call For General Assembly To Take Action Now On Charter School Reform
More oversight is needed to protect students and tax dollars
August 14, 2014
 
 

COLUMBUS- Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) called on the House and Senate to pass reforms to deal with Ohio’s troubled charter schools.  Two recent incidents prompted the legislators to again call for public hearings on an issue the General Assembly has largely ignored.

This week VLT Academy in Cincinnati closed abruptly because of financial and academic problems.  The closing left hundreds of students without a school just as classes were set to begin.  And just last month the Ohio Department of Education launched an investigation of Horizon Science Academy in Dayton after teachers reported possible child abuse and manipulation of test scores and attendance records.  The FBI is also investigating the organization that runs Horizon charter schools across the state. 

“With students across the state heading back to school this week there is no more time to waste,” said Senator Schiavoni.  “Our current laws are too weak to protect our school children and tax dollars. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.”

Senator Schiavoni has introduced two bills in this General Assembly to strengthen the oversight of charter schools.  Senate Bills 190 and 329 would require charter schools and their sponsors and operators to undergo annual audits and to follow the same public records laws as traditional public schools.  The Senate Education Committee has not held a single hearing on the bills despite almost weekly reports this summer of failing charter schools across the state. 

“As our tax dollars continue to flow to more failing charter schools, the legislature has a responsibility to parents and students to get serious about putting our kids’ value and achievement above the status quo,” said Rep. Driehaus.  “Ohio’s charter school laws are out of date, leaving some of the worst performing charter schools running for up to five years before the state can close them. It is time to take action. Our businesses, schools, teachers—and most importantly, our children—deserve better.” 

Last month Senator Schiavoni and State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) sent letters to the chairmen of the House and Senate Education committees calling for hearings this summer on charter school reforms.  Neither letter has received a response.

 
 
  
 
Senator Brown Introduces Bill To Help Protect Lake Erie
SB 356 would require fertilizer applicator certification by December 2014
August 14, 2014
 
 

Columbus – Today, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) introduced Senate Bill 356, legislation to add animal manure to the list of fertilizers covered under current law for the purposes of fertilizer applicator certification. Senate Bill 356 is an expansion of Senate Bill 150, which was passed earlier this year. The legislation was introduced in light of the recent water crisis in which 500,000 Northwest Ohio residents were unable to use their tap water due to contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.
 
Some of the main contributors to toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie—the sources of this water contamination—are phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from fertilizers used by farms, waste from livestock pens, and inadequately treated sewage from sewer overflows and faulty household sewage septic systems. All these factors must be addressed to ensure Ohioans have clean, safe drinking water.
 
“Regulation of manure does not mean that I don’t appreciate the contribution of our farmers to the state’s economy and to its food supply,” said Senator Brown.  “I know that for many smaller farmers it is their family’s livelihood.  But, I also know that they want to be part of the solution in addressing the future health of Lake Erie and its tributaries.”
 
Senate Bill 356 includes an emergency clause moving the effective date for fertilizer application from August 28, 2017 to December 31, 2014. The recent water crisis in Ohio 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. The importance of mitigating the negative impact on commerce in the state caused by the contaminated water cannot be overlooked.

 
 
  
 
Senate Minority Leader Calls For Hearings On Governor's Appointee To Lead Department Of Health
Rick Hodges lacks the qualifications to hold the job as required by state law
August 12, 2014
 
 

Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) sent a letter to Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), the Chairperson of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, to formally request hearings on the appointment of Rick Hodges to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Health.   

Governor Kasich appointed Hodges to the position earlier this month despite the fact that state law requires the Director of the Department of Health to be a medical doctor or have significant public health experience.  Mr. Hodges, who previously served as the Director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, does not meet either qualification.

The letter reads as follows:

 
Dear President Faber and Chair Jones,
 
I write with deep concern regarding Governor Kasich’s recent appointment of Rick Hodges as director of the Ohio Department of Health. I address this to both you President Faber in hopes you would make this a priority for your caucus and to you Chair Jones given the jurisdiction of your committee. Despite Mr. Hodges’ history of public service and administrative work, his lack of a medical background or public health experience renders him unqualified for the position.
 
The director of the Department of Health, more so than many cabinet level positions, requires a specialized background given the breadth of responsibilities and crucial decisions that affect the health and well-being of 11.5 million Ohioans. In recognition of this, the General Assembly, in R.C. 121.10, has long required the director to be a medical doctor and just twenty years ago added an alternative option for an individual “with significant experience in the public health profession.” 
 
The Department of Health engages in critical work for the state ranging from the provision of health care, to waste water management, to response to disease outbreak.  Although the clinical staff at the Department and those recently appointed are eminently qualified, the director is ultimately responsible for the actions of the Department. Given this, it is imperative that full and open hearings be held to determine what if any qualifications Mr. Hodges possesses which warrant his selection for this position. 
 
Upon receipt of the nomination from the Governor’s office, I ask that hearings be promptly scheduled in the Medicaid Health and Human Services Committee or the appropriate committee as assigned. I further request, a vote of the committee and that the nomination then proceed to a vote on the Senate floor. Only if current concerns are sufficiently resolved should the Senate consent to the nomination.
 
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.  I would be happy to discuss this further and look forward to the hearing process.
 
Sincerely,                                                                                     
Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni
33rd District

 
 
  
 
Senator Brown Announces Funding To Center For Innovative Food Technology
Money to advance Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership Services
August 11, 2014
 
 

Columbus – State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) announced today that the State Controlling Board has released $1,000,000 to the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) located in Toledo, Ohio. The funding is a part of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA).
 
“CIFT is a great local resource in Northwest Ohio for anyone interested in the business of agriculture and food processing,” Senator Brown said. “I am happy to see this investment in CIFT as they continue supporting individuals and small businesses looking to enhance their economic performance and create new jobs.”
 
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program provides products, services, and assistance to Ohio's manufacturing industry designed to enhance their productivity, growth, and global competitiveness. The Center for Innovative Food Technology is one of six regional centers for the program which provide technical and business assistance for small and medium-sized manufacturers. Since 1995, CIFT has focused on providing technical innovations, solutions and support for the food processing, agribusiness, and agricultural sectors.

 

 
 
  

Columbus—Today, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Federal Judge Gregory Frost extended the moratorium on executions in Ohio until January 15, 2015.
 
 “I regret that this pronouncement is only a stay of Ohio’s continued experimentation in carrying out the death penalty rather than pronouncing the end of this practice.  A practice, that as I have stated before, shows no clear benefits for the state.”

 

 
 
  

On Wednesday, August 7, State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) helped representatives from MarkWest Energy break ground on new facilities in Harrison County. The new regional office will be located across from the cryogenic processing plant and serve as a base office for the entire state of Ohio. To read more about the new ground-breaking ceremony click here

 
 
  
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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

 

Cleveland –Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) visited McGregor Assisted Living and Retirement Center today with representatives from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) to speak with facility officials on successes and regulatory challenges they face as a small business. McGregor was recently awarded a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as named one of America’s Best Nursing Homes in the country by the U.S. News and World Report.



 
 

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.