Senate Democrats believe all Ohioans deserve good-paying jobs, quality, affordable health care and fair treatment under the law. That’s why we support investing in Ohio’s future by building quality schools and strong communities. We are committed to giving everyone a fair shot at success regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We are focused on policies that reward hard work in every corner of our state, from the farms to the factories and from the cities to the small towns.
Creating jobs and protecting workers' rights
We are committed to creating good-paying jobs that allow all Ohioans to support their families and to giving workers access to training opportunities. We will fight to protect workers' rights and to make sure that all jobs pay a living wage and provide good benefits. We also believe that employees should always feel safe and free from any type of discrimination when at work.
Improving Ohio's economy and investing in infrastructure
We believe it's important that we fix our state's aging infrastructure. We have proposed a number of plans to maintain and improve our roads, bridges and water and sewer lines, as well as public transportation. We are also working to provide assistance to the business community, especially to small and minority-owned businesses, believing this will encourage innovation and build stronger communities in Ohio.
Making our tax system fairer
Giving all Ohioans a fair shot at success requires a tax system that is fair to working families. Unfortunately, in recent years, changes to Ohio's tax code have mostly benefited the wealthy. That's why Senate Democrats have proposed eliminating tax loopholes that reduce funding for our schools and local communities and that do not help to grow the middle class.
Guaranteeing affordable, quality health care
Today, more Ohioans than ever receive quality health insurance through their employers, the health insurance marketplace or Medicaid. It is a priority of the Senate Democrats to protect coverage and to make sure that Ohioans continue to receive quality health care. We believe that investing in greater health care access will improve health outcomes, reduce diseases and premature deaths and give every person a better chance to succeed.
Combating opioid addiction
It is a sad and disturbing fact that Ohio leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths. Senate Democrats are calling for comprehensive legislation to address this crisis by giving our local communities and first responders the resources they need to save lives. Our Senators also support expanding drug treatment services across Ohio to help more people break the cycle of addiction.
Providing quality education
Every child in Ohio deserves to receive a good education in a safe environment. As Democrats, we strongly support investing in early childhood education because evidence shows it provides the greatest benefits to children, giving them the tools they need to be successful in school and life. We also believe we should offer professional development to teachers throughout their career and require greater accountability for charter schools. Finally, we oppose greater privatization of education.
Defending voting rights
The right to vote is at the heart of America's democracy and so is the government's obligation to protect and promote this right at every level. As Democrats, we support investing in new voting technology that ensures elections are secure and fair. We want barriers to voting to be eliminated and voter education and participation to be encouraged. We also support ending gerrymandering so that voters can choose their representatives and not the other way around.
Protecting the environment
We want to provide a healthy environment for all Ohioans. This includes making sure that our communities have safe drinking water, free of harmful algal blooms, lead or any other dangerous contaminants. We also support investing in alternative and renewable energy sources as a way to both protect the environment and create jobs and economic development in the state.
Reforming the criminal justice system
We want to reform our adult and juvenile criminal justice systems to ensure they are fair to all citizens, no matter their background. It is also a priority to give police more funding and better training so that citizens can be confident officers can handle stressful situations. We are also working to reform our bail and bond system so that people are not punished simply for being poor.
Today, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, released the minority report on the subcommittee's work during state budget deliberations. In her report, Senator Fedor called for the end of academic distress commissions and focusing on barriers to learning for disadvantaged students.
Senator Sandra Williams (D- Cleveland) has reintroduced legislation that restricts firearm access to those who pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. Senate Bill (SB) 19 establishes a legal process for temporarily removing firearms from the possession of people who display signs of being a danger to themselves or others.
Today, state Senator Sean J. O'Brien (D-Bazetta) reintroduced the Reagan Tokes Act to change how Ohio monitors felons after they have been released from prison. The bill, which Senator O'Brien first introduced during the past General Assembly, is jointly sponsored by state Senator Nathan Manning (R-Ridgeville).
Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) and state Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) to examine how Alzheimer's and other dementias are impacting Ohioans.
Today, state Senator Tina Maharath (D-Columbus) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 78, legislation aimed at protecting small children from the hazards of secondhand smoke. The bill would prohibit smoking in cars when a child under the age of six is a passenger.
This week, State Sen. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 11, the "Ohio Fairness Act." This legislation would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing or public accommodations.
Today, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus presented its agenda for the 133rd General Assembly, which will focus on improving workers' lives and creating good-paying jobs. The nine senators said they will introduce and support legislation that builds opportunity, ensures a better quality of life for all Ohioans and increases fairness in the state.
State Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) applauded the signing of his bill to establish body camera accountability requirements, House Bill 425, into law. The law requires, for the first time, that body cameras worn by peace officers become public record with a few specific exemptions.