Democratic Legislators Introduce "Not My Boss's Business" Act
Bill would protect women from discrimination and their boss's interference in personal healthcare decisions
July 22, 2014
 
 

COLUMBUS – Today, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) held a press conference announcing legislation to address the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In that decision, the Court ruled that some corporations cannot be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception methods that would violate the religious beliefs of company owners. The development was widely panned as a setback to the personal liberty of hard-working American women. 

“We are introducing this legislation to protect the health care decisions of women and their health providers. Physicians are best able to decide appropriate health care and prescriptions needed by their patients. Employers should not be able to selectively decide which care or prescriptions can be given to whom,” stated Tavares.

The Not My Boss’s Business Act will prohibit employers from excluding birth control from coverage and from discriminating against an individual based on reproductive health decisions. Recent polling from Hart Research indicates that 84 percent of women agree that birth control “should be a woman’s personal decision.” 

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), a joint sponsor of the Senate bill, commented that the bill “ensures the right that women should be the sole decision makers regarding their reproductive health—not their bosses, their insurance company or their government.”

“Women work hard to earn their workplace insurance plans, and to have CEOs dictate what forms of birth control are acceptable is a slap in the face to American women.” said Turner.

“Women can’t afford these recent attacks on this very basic part of their preventive health care, not when the costs of some birth control methods are as much as a minimum wage worker’s monthly take-home pay. It is not fair to target medicine taken only by women for exclusion from basic health coverage,” said Rep. Clyde, who will be introducing the bill in the House.

Rashida Manuel, a patient from Cincinnati, elaborated on the need to have guaranteed access to contraceptive coverage. “I’ve had two surgeries in the last few years because of my polycystic ovarian syndrome, and birth control pills are the preventative care that I need to ensure my body functions at its best,” Rashida said. “I’m more than willing to share my story, but I shouldn’t have to. My medical conditions are not my boss’s business—they’re mine and my doctor’s.” 

“When we force women into deeper poverty or force them into a situation in which they must rely on an employer’s religious beliefs in order to make decisions about their own health care, we are not being kind,” said the Reverend Kate Shaner, Minister of Missions at the First Community Church in Columbus. “The thought that my daughters and your daughters would have their reproductive decisions made by an employer instead of themselves in consultation with their families, their clergy and their God seems archaic and inhumane at best.”

 
 
  
Columbus –An article authored by State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) and Senate Democratic Counsel Pavan V. Parikh and Bethany E. Sanders analyzing Election Day error in Ohio was recently published by the Cleveland State Law Review. “Perfect is the Enemy of Fair: An Analysis of Election Day error in Ohio’s 2012 general election through a discussion of the materiality principle, compliance standards and the Democracy Canon” proposes a framework for improving election administration to ensure fairness in Ohio’s voting system and all legitimate votes are counted.
 
“In order to have fair elections, Ohio must enact common sense reforms that contain voter-oriented principles far superior to current law,” stated Kearney. “These reforms should be designed to respect each voter’s intention and honor each individual vote.”
 
This goal can be achieved by implementing a system that does the following: invalidates ballots only for material error, accepts substantial or constructive compliance of completed ballots and uses the Democracy Canon to guide pre- and post-election litigation and administrative remedies.
 
Democracy Canon states that when the law is unclear, the law should be construed for the benefit of the voters. The materiality principle states that votes should be counted so long as no reasonable decision maker could question either the voter’s eligibility or ballot preference.
 
Assisted by students from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Legislation Clinic, Senator Kearney and counsel reviewed evidence from court cases, data from the Secretary of State’s office and 24 counties including meeting minutes from boards of elections and canvass results.
 
The data revealed that counties frequently had difficulty giving voters provisional ballots or applying the identification standard in a way that threatened to disenfranchise. In another instance, a voter inadvertently selected more than one candidate for a race. When the in-precinct scanner gave the option to recast, the poll worker selected “no” on behalf of the voter. These examples led to the following conclusions:
 
  • Ohio should collect and use better data for Election Day functionality with a goal of creating real time Due Process protection for Election Day concerns.
 
  • Too much of our current knowledge of Election Day errors is obtained through litigation that occurs well after the Election Day.
 
  • Ohio should manage elections and related disputes through legislative adoption of policies incorporating the materiality principle and the Democracy Canon.
 
  • The Election Assistance Commission and federal agencies should provide more support for election review and analysis.
 
“It is important that we create comprehensive election day procedures to prevent honest mistakes from costing someone’s vote from being counted, “said Kearney. “The ultimate goal should be to support Ohioans efforts to exercise their right to vote, not restrict it.
 
An electronic version of Perfect is the Enemy of Fair: An Analysis of Election Day error in Ohio's 2012 General Election is available below. 
 

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Husted Is Trying To Rewrite History
In the Plain Dealer, Leader Joe Schiavoni discusses why Husted's victory lap should be cut short
July 09, 2014
 
 

Thanks to a decision by Federal Judge Peter Economus, Ohioans will have the opportunity to cast in-person ballots on the last three days before an election. This significant win for Ohio voters was the result of a lawsuit, OFA v. Husted, filed nearly two years ago to protect equal access to the polls during the early voting period.  

Secretary of State Jon Husted now wants to claim victory despite losing the lawsuit at every step of the process, including the United States Supreme Court. This is evidenced by recent press releases from his office that have attempted to rewrite history.

When Husted issued a directive last month requiring Boards of Elections to be open for early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before an election — something he was ordered to do — he said, "The federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated: That all voters in Ohio should have the same opportunity to vote." 

If that were true there never would have been a lawsuit in the first place.

Here are the facts: Beginning in 2012, Husted fought to allow only certain Ohioans to cast in-person ballots on the last three days of early voting. When challenged, he resisted changing the policy through a lengthy appeal process. Many months ago, he could have settled the case and protected the rights of voters. Prolonging the lawsuit cost the state thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Now he wants us to believe he meant to give voters equal access all along, not withstanding his legal maneuvers to the contrary. Ohio voters are smarter than that.

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni,

Ohio Senate Minority Leader

 
 
  

Columbus –Today, members of the Ohio Senate Democrats comment on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation which prohibited segregation in public spaces and schools to bring about social equality and fairness to America’s voting system.

Democratic Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman):

On this day we honor the work of our civil rights champions who fought hard to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race have equal access to good paying jobs, quality education and the voting booth. The passage of this legislation moved us toward a more perfect union in which all people are created equal. Now, it is up to us to continue this work and keep moving forward.

Assistant Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus):

"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended racial segregation and prohibited most forms of discrimination in the workplace, schools and public facilities based on race. The Act was passed because of the courage and death of men, women and children - Medgar Evers, William L. Moore, the bombing deaths of the four little girls in Birmingham at the 16th Street Baptist Church, who wanted equal rights for all.  The Civil Rights Movement was comprised of advocates, students, religious leaders and labor leaders who came together to stand up for those who were marginalized and discriminated against.  And, there was the political will and courage of the President and members of Congress to do what was right, moral and just! On this Anniversary, we must vow to continue to be ever vigilant in protecting these fundamental rights of equal protection and non-discrimination and honor and support those who have courage, take risks and are determined to do what is just and fair for all."

Democratic Whip Edna Brown (D-Toledo): 

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we must remember the sacrifices of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders.  Of course, we cannot forget the legislative efforts of Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois that were vital to the passage of the Civil rights Act.  In spite of the bill being unpopular with a great many persons in our country at that time, these leaders knew it was the right thing to do.  As did President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the bill within hours of its passage on July 2nd 1964.”

Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland): 

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 rooted out the scourge of racial discrimination in this country, and today we reflect on the 50th anniversary of this monumental act with renewed purpose. A comprehensive bill that sought to guarantee equal treatment under the law for all Americans, it is incumbent upon all of us to renew our commitment to the spirit and force of justice embodied by this Act. We have come a long way thanks to the personal sacrifices of the civil rights champions, but we must still exert more collective effort to reach full equality of opportunity for all Americans.”

Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard):

“The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is a monumental moment for all people. While there is still a long way to go for complete equality, this shows the good that can be accomplished when people of all backgrounds come together to better our country.”

Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland):

“Today as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let us pay tribute to the courageous men and women who fought tirelessly for the rights we enjoy today. These individuals were the catalyst for change – they broke down barriers and demanded parity in the face of persecution. As we watch the fireworks color the sky to commemorate Independence Day, we must remember that America was made greater by the equalities contained within The Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

 
 
  
Senator Gentile with recipients of the Educational Excellence Competitive Grant.

On June 20, Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) served as the guest speaker at the Southern Ohio Agricultural Community Development Foundation where he presented letters of congratulations for students receiving the Educational Excellence Competitive Grant. 

 
 
  

Four members of the U.S. House from far-flung districts currently represent Akron and Summit County in our nation’s Capitol. Can you name all of them? Chances are you can’t. In fact, not one of them currently lives in Summit County. But, it didn’t used to be that way.

For close to a century, Summit County stood at the center of a congressional district. House members from both parties were chosen to represent a community of common interest with Akron at its center. This unified representation benefited the city’s clout in Washington.

In recent decades, the drawing of congressional and state legislative districts has become so hyper-partisan that the interests of communities like Akron and Summit County have become secondary to political interests. So, why should voters care about the way districts are drawn? Simply put: It can take away meaningful choices at the ballot box. Too often the outcome of a race is predetermined by how lines are drawn.

While elections in Ohio are evenly split for presidential races, elections for Congress are lopsided simply because of the way districts are drawn to favor one party over another. As a result, Summit County and the entire state have become poster children for gerrymandering.

That’s why I am a strong proponent of redistricting reform. In the past two General Assemblies, Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley Township) and I have sponsored strong bipartisan legislation to change the redistricting process to make it fairer and more representative.

Unfortunately, reform efforts have stalled in the Ohio legislature. One year ago this week the Ohio Senate State Government Oversight Committee passed S.J.R. 1. The joint resolution would improve the redistricting process by requiring both political parties to agree on new maps. The legislation establishes a seven-member Redistricting Commission that would draw lines for U.S. House and state legislative districts. Unlike the current system, the commission could not approve a plan unless it receives at least one vote from a member of a minority party, guaranteeing bipartisan support. No longer would one party be able to impose its will and ignore the interests of voters.

Sadly, S.J.R. 1 has not been brought to the floor of the Ohio Senate for a vote. The legislation remains in limbo despite the fact that a nearly identical resolution passed the Ohio Senate in 2012 by a vote of 32-1. If S.J.R. 1 passes both chambers of the General Assembly, it would go on the ballot so the citizens of Ohio could decide.

At the beginning of the current General Assembly, Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said passing redistricting reform was a top priority. And, good to his word, he is an original co-sponsor of this legislation. But President Faber has since deferred to House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) who wants the state’s Constitutional Modernization Commission to consider the issue for possible amendments to our state constitution.

I am a member of that commission, but I believe a better approach would be for the commission to continue its deliberations while the General Assembly proceeds with legislation to go to the ballot. Pursuing both options gives us a better chance of success. Either pathway would work. The next step is for the Ohio Senate to pass S.J.R. 1 as soon as it reconvenes in the fall so the House has time to consider the measure before this session ends in December.

The overriding goal should be this: to pass a bipartisan redistricting reform plan, either through the legislature or the.commission by the end of the year, so it can be put before the voters on next year’s May ballot. History has taught us that the closer we get to the drawing of new district lines, the more resistant one party or another becomes to reforming the system. I am deeply concerned that a lack of urgency on this matter is a friend of the status quo.

I encourage my colleagues in the Ohio Senate and on the Constitutional Modernization Commission to move with a renewed sense of purpose. Redistricting reform is within reach if we act now.

Sawyer, an Akron Democrat, represents the 28th District in the Ohio Senate.

 
 
  
 
Local Leaders Gather To Push For Equal Pay
Testimony Tuesday calls for action to address wage inequality
June 24, 2014
 
 

CLEVELAND—State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) joined legislators, ministers, and labor leaders at an event today at the Cleveland Public Library to highlight the need to address wage disparities in Ohio. The event, dubbed Testimony Tuesday, was designed as an opportunity for community leaders and activists to advocate for issues that GOP leaders in Columbus refuse to tackle.

“This is 2014—it’s past time we make sure all Ohioans are treated fairly in the workplace,” said Senator Turner. “It is unconscionable that in this day and age a woman would have to work one year, four months, and eight days to earn what her male counterpart would in a single year. Working to uplift our citizens out of poverty and help them provide for their family is good public policy, and Columbus needs to wake up and take action on behalf of struggling Ohioans.”

State Representative Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) addressed how raising the state’s minimum wage would benefit all Ohioans:

“Rising income inequality is having a detrimental impact on Ohio’s economy,” Rep. Foley said. “If we increase the minimum wage we would give hardworking Ohioans a long over-due raise, while generating roughly a billion dollars in economic activity to help stimulate Ohio’s economy.”

In addition to raising the minimum wage, speakers reiterated the need to address the wage gap between men and women through legislative action. 

“With so many single-parent households headed by women, it is critical that women have equal pay for equal work,” said Harriet Applegate, Executive Secretary at the North Shore AFL-CIO. “This shouldn’t even be a question—mothers must make a decent wage to raise their children to be successful and productive members of society.”

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, women's earnings were 76.5 percent of men's in 2012, compared to 77.0 percent in 2011, according to Census data released in 2013 based on the median earnings of all full-time, year-round workers. In 2012 men's earnings were $49,398 and women's were $37,791, a difference of $11,607.

This was the fourth Testimony Tuesday event, and more are expected to follow in the coming months.

 
 
  

Columbus - Staff members from the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus volunteered to distribute food to families on the west side of Columbus at Gladden Community House.  Their volunteer work was part of the Emma Project, an on-going bipartisan effort in the Ohio Senate to give back to the community.

 
 
  
Senator Gentile was joined by David Maple, Caroline Harris, Jamie Richardson, Laurel DuBek, Elizabeth Ferron and Melanie Cooley at the Elder Abuse Awareness Month event.

On June 13th, Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) was the guest speaker at the first Elder Abuse Awareness Month event held at the Primetime Senior Center in Steubenville. 

 
 
  
 
Governor Signs Three Bills Sponsored By Senator Tavares
Senate Bills 43, 99, and 278 focus on helping Ohio families
June 17, 2014
 
 
Senator Tavares with Senator Jones, SIDS health advocates and staff members at the bill signing ceremony.

Columbus – Today, State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) saw three bills signed into law aimed at helping families with loved ones suffering from mental illness, cancer, and loss of an infant child. Senate Bills 43, 99 and 278 will impact families today and future generations in the state of Ohio.
 
Senate Bill 43, jointly sponsored with Senator Burke, provides clarity to existing law and ensures that the full range of options are available to the courts and more importantly, that those with mental illness are provided treatment in the least restrictive environment where appropriate.
 
“Court ordered outpatient treatment not only saves lives and needless suffering, it saves taxpayer money by allowing the courts to order treatment instead of hospitalization, jail/prison or harm to themself or another person. This bill will also allow patients to stay within their communities to get the treatment they need” stated Tavares.
 
Senate Bill 99, jointly sponsored with Senator Oelslager, prohibits health care providers from providing less favorable coverage for prescribed, orally administered medication than for intravenously administered or injected medications.
 
“This is about fairness and choice for the patients and the providers,” said Tavares. “I sponsored this legislation to improve the quality of life and health of a patient that is going through cancer treatment.”
 
Senate Bill 278, jointly sponsored with Senator Jones, requires the completion of a Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation reporting form (SUIDI reporting form). This form is used to ensure that all investigations are handled consistently and that data is collected and reported properly.
 
“In order to monitor state trends, ascertain risk factors, and design and evaluate programs to prevent these deaths, we need to have consistent reporting” stated Tavares. 

 

 
 
  
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Democratic Legislators Introduce "Not My Boss's Business" Act

 

COLUMBUS – Today, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) held a press conference announcing legislation to address the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In that decision, the Court ruled that some corporations cannot be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception methods that would violate the religious beliefs of company owners. The development was widely panned as a setback to the personal liberty of hard-working American women. 



 
 

Senator Kearney And Senate Democrats Publish Law Review Article Analyzing 2012 Election Day In Ohio

 

Columbus –An article authored by State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) and Senate Democratic Counsel Pavan V. Parikh and Bethany E. Sanders analyzing Election Day error in Ohio was recently published by the Cleveland State Law Review. “Perfect is the Enemy of Fair: An Analysis of Election Day error in Ohio’s 2012 general election through a discussion of the materiality principle, compliance standards and the Democracy Canon” proposes a framework for improving election administration to ensure fairness in Ohio’s voting system and all legitimate votes are counted.



 
 

Husted Is Trying To Rewrite History

 

Thanks to a decision by Federal Judge Peter Economus, Ohioans will have the opportunity to cast in-person ballots on the last three days before an election. This significant win for Ohio voters was the result of a lawsuit, OFA v. Husted, filed nearly two years ago to protect equal access to the polls during the early voting period.  



 
 

Senate Democrats Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

 

Columbus –Today, members of the Ohio Senate Democrats comment on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation which prohibited segregation in public spaces and schools to bring about social equality and fairness to America’s voting system.