Friday, October 30, 2009

Senator Sawyer Appointed to School Funding Advisory Council

Columbus - On Thursday, October 29th, Senator Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) was appointed to the School Funding Advisory Council by Senate President Bill Harris. The Council was created by Governor Ted Strickland and the Ohio General Assembly as a part of the education reforms in the recent biennial budget bill, House Bill 1.

“I am pleased to serve on the School Funding Advisory Council,” said Senator Sawyer. “We have finally created a system where each school child can have a reasonable expectation of a thorough and efficient education no matter where they attend school, and this Council will be vital in maintaining that promise. I look forward to the work that lies ahead.”

The budget reforms include a bold transformation of the school funding system that had previously been ruled unconstitutional four times by the Ohio Supreme Court. This funding system is being replaced by the Ohio Evidence Based Model, a system that determines the cost of funding education based on adequacy and need. It is the School Funding Advisory Council’s duty to continuously review and improve these reforms going forward. Embedded in permanent law, the Council will help ensure ongoing comprehensive school reform rather than the traditional hit and miss reform efforts of the past.

Having a deep passion for the elevation of education policy and the stabilization of school funding throughout his entire career – first as an educator, and through the last four decades as an elected official – Senator Sawyer brings both history and expertise to the Council.

William Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding, was pleased with the appointment. “Senator Tom Sawyer’s appointment to the 28-member Ohio School Funding Advisory Council is encouraging to those of us who have an ongoing intense interest in improving the funding of public schools. Senator Sawyer’s long career in elected positions at the local, state, and federal levels, positions him to be a great asset to the council’s deliberations. His vast experience in public education policy issues and his total commitment to high quality education opportunities for all school children make him an extremely valuable addition to the notable advisory council,” said Dr. Phillis.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Senator Strahorn Congratulates Phil Nagle for Completing Record-Breaking Bicycle Ride

COLUMBUS – Today, Senator Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) congratulates Phil Nagle for his bicycle trip through the United States. Mr. Nagle broke the world record for fastest bicycle ride through all of the 48 contiguous U.S. States. His trip was in honor of his uncle, Alvin Nagle, and all of the proceeds surrounding it benefited the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So far, $8,000 have been raised, and efforts continue.

“What an outstanding achievement for such an outstanding young man,” said Senator Strahorn. “Phil Nagle’s trip is an inspiration to us all.”

Phil’s uncle, Alvin Nagle, died of leukemia at the age of 16. Alvin was known for being extremely athletic, so Phil decided to do something athletic to commemorate his life and bring awareness to this terrible disease.

Mr. Nagle set out from Tipp City on Monday, July 20, to cross 48 states in 48 days and to raise $48,000 for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. He did not quite make the ride in 48 days but he still set a world record and he continues making considerable progress raising money to fight leukemia.

“This summer Phil did a very selfless thing to help others dealing with a debilitating disease in honor of his late uncle, Alvin. It says a lot about his exceptional character and I was proud to meet him and to be able to recognize him for his achievement,” said Senator Strahorn.

Stats from Phil Nagle’s trip across the lower 48 States:
- Total distance: 8,180 miles
- Total riding time: 56 days, 10 hours
- Total time on bike: 650 hours
- Total calories burnt: 530,000 calories
- Total tires used: 8 tires
- Crashed once, while turning to avoid hitting a dog
- Total ascent: 230,000+ feet
- Bike used: 2009 Felt Z25

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Senate Democratic Caucus and Labor Leaders Call for Swift Passage of HB 318

Columbus — Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus joined with labor leaders today to call for swift passage of the Education Funding Protection Act (HB 318). The legislation, which passed the Ohio House last week with bipartisan support, protects education funding while ensuring Ohioans will not pay more taxes in 2009 than they did in 2008.

“Given the nation’s economy, Governor Strickland proposed the most prudent course of action to balance Ohio’s budget,” said Senator Cafaro. “Speaker Budish and members of the House have also showed tremendous leadership by introducing and passing HB 318 in a timely manner. Now it’s time for the Senate to follow the same course of action.”

Senators Dale Miller (D-Cleveland), Ray Miller (D-Columbus) and Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) also spoke at the Statehouse news conference that highlighted the urgency of passing HB 318. The legislation calls for a temporary freeze in income tax cuts to restore $851 million of funding to Ohio’s schools.

The news conference also addressed the following points:

*Ohio schools face potential cuts of 10.31% in FY 2009 and 15.74 in FY 2010 if funding is not restored.

*The Administration has already cut billions from the state budget and reduced the state workforce by 4,909 employees.

*Potential savings from additional government consolidation would not be adequate or timely enough to fix this current budget.

Senator Cafaro and the Senate Democratic Caucus were joined at the news conference by representatives of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio AFL-CIO, Ohio Education Association, OCSEA and SEIU.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Senator Smith - October E-Newsletter Available

Senator Shirley Smith's October E-Newsletter is now available to download online.

(Click here to download)

Adobe Acrobat required (To get it, click here)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Senator Nina Turner - 2009 Race for the Cure in Cleveland

This summer, Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Cleveland.

Senator Cafaro Applauds Effort to Revitalize Ohio's Auto Industry

Columbus — Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro is pleased with the recommendations contained in a report issued by the Joint Select Committee on the Impact of the Changing Automobile Industry in Ohio. Senator Cafaro was a member of the bipartisan legislative committee that held five hearings throughout the state to meet with auto workers, manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, labor leaders and elected officials.

“The Committee took a close look at all aspects of the auto industry,” said Senator Cafaro. “After hearing compelling and sometimes emotional testimony, we came up with recommendations which I hope will help revitalize an important part of Ohio’s economy.”

The Committee’s final report incorporates Senator Cafaro’s recommendation that the General Assembly adopt a concurrent resolution to urge Congress to take up the issue of bankruptcy reform as it pertains to protecting pensions and health benefits.

“The situation facing Delphi retirees shows the urgent need for reform to ensure retirees receive the pensions they deserve after many years of hard work,” said Senator Cafaro. “This issue requires changes on the federal level and I hope Congress will take swift action to protect workers when companies restructure their pension funds.”

The Committee’s report also makes the following recommendations:

*Designate an Auto Development Director within the Ohio Department of Development to streamline regulations and serve as a central point of contact for the auto industry.

*Restructure Ohio’s Job Retention Tax Credit and Job Creation Tax Credit so they are refundable and available to smaller suppliers.

*Retool worker training programs to allow more flexibility and better partnerships with development programs.

*Update Ohio’s motor vehicle dealership laws.

The automotive industry touches every corner of the state accounting for 20% of all manufacturing activity in Ohio. Automotive related manufacturing businesses can be found in 76 of 88 counties.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Statement from Senator Cafaro on SB 318

Columbus– Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) today released the following statement regarding passage of HB 318 in the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Now that Speaker Budish and the Ohio House of Representatives have passed Governor Strickland’s plan to ensure stable funding for Ohio schools, we look forward to the bill coming to the Senate. The Senate Democratic Caucus is united in support for HB 318. We hope the current version of the bill will have speedy passage in the Senate.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Senator Turner Testifies for Legislation to Improve Our Schools

COLUMBUS – State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) gave sponsor testimony for two bills she introduced in the 128th General Assembly to lower dropout rates and improve school security.

Senator Turner’s Senate Bill 102 would require the State Board of Education to recommend performance standards for dropout prevention and recovery programs operated by school districts. The goal is to identify the most successful dropout programs so they can be duplicated across the state. A recent report showed that non-graduates in Columbus and Cleveland earn less than half the annual income when compared to their peers with diplomas.

“We must be relentless in our efforts to develop an education system where earning a diploma that prepares one for college and a career is the expectation, and where dropping out becomes a rare exception,” said Senator Turner.

Senator Turner also testified in front of the Senate Education Committee on behalf of SB 122. The bill authorizes school districts and educational service centers to employ public high school law enforcement officers and grant them arrest powers.

“Besides protecting our schools, this bill could also foster healthy relationships between youth in the community and law enforcement officers,” said Senator Turner. “Hopefully through these positive interactions, students will begin to see law enforcement officers as a resource and an ally.”

This legislation allows high schools to hire their own law enforcement officers, reducing the burden on local law enforcement agencies to provide security. Every high school law enforcement officer must successfully complete an approved peace officer basic training program, provide a surety bond and not have a felony conviction.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Senator Smith Delivers Sponsor Testimony on Bill to Ban Texting While Driving

COLUMBUS – Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) delivered sponsor testimony today on Senate Bill 164 to ban text messaging while driving in the State of Ohio. Currently, 18 states have passed similar legislation.

“Multitasking behind the wheel is dangerous,” said Senator Smith to the Senate Committee on Highways and Transportation. “Because this practice is becoming more commonplace and is a growing danger on the roads, I believe that the Ohio Senate should move swiftly to join the growing number of city councils, legislatures, and federal officials who want to address the spread of this serious driving distraction.”

Senate Bill 164 does the following:
  1. Bans persons from text messaging on any “mobile communication device” while driving a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, street car in any street, highway property that is for public vehicular use.
  2. The original version of SB 164 calls for text messaging while driving to be a secondary offense. After discussions with safety experts, the bill will be amended to make it a primary offense.
  3. First-time offenders will be fined $200, second-time offenders $500. Each additional offense will warrant 100 hours of supervised community service work. Senator Smith welcomes discussion on adjusting these penalties.
  4. This legislation guarantees that an offender who is involved in an accident at the time of text messaging while driving will stand trial.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, approximately 6,000 deaths and more than a half a million injuries were attributed to distracted driving in 2008.

“I hope Ohio acts promptly to join the other 18 states and the District of Columbia that have banned text messaging while driving, to make it clear that texting while driving is not welcomed in Ohio,” concluded Senator Smith.

To view Senate Bill 164 as introduced, visit:

Senator Joe Schiavoni - October E-Newsletter

Senator Joe Schiavoni's October E-Newsletter is now available to download online.

Click here.

Adobe Acrobat required (to get it, click here)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Senator Jason Wilson Talks About Small Businesses on Ohio in Focus

State Senator Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) discusses small businesses and economic development on Ohio in Focus. Senator Wilson is one of only a few small business owners in Ohio's General Assembly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Senator Ray Miller Holds Family Stability Conference

Senator Ray Miller (D-Columbus) held a Family Stability Conference in Columbus to help come up with solutions to the problems of poverty, divorce, domestic violence and other family issues.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Senator Cafaro Speaks at United Nations on International Day of Older Persons

COLUMBUS – Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) delivered a speech today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on the International Day of Older Persons. Senator Cafaro addressed UN ambassadors and their colleagues about advocacy and activism on behalf of older persons.

“As a member of the Ohio General Assembly, I am working hard to promote public policy that will protect Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens while providing them with the means to maintain their current standards of living,” Senator Cafaro said to an audience at the UN.

The event, Aging Activism: A Global Tool to Create a Society for All Ages, featured talks by aging activists from around the world and a cross section of the world’s policy makers. The mission of the occasion was to develop strategies to move closer to a global society that “embraces all ages.”

Having participated in United Nations programs as a student, Senator Cafaro said of her visit to the UN Headquarters, “It was an honor to have taken part in this once in a lifetime experience. At the UN, I was privileged to speak about the issues that I am most passionate about as a State legislator, to an audience of global scale.”

Demographics show that 700 million of the world’s population of 6.7 billion people is over the age of 60, and that number is expected to triple within the next few decades. The goal of the International Day of Older Persons is to make certain that attention is paid to ensuring the rights of older persons within the context of global change – economically, technologically, and environmentally.

For more information on Aging Activism, visit:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Senator Schiavoni’s Property Transfer Bill Gains Approval of Civil Justice Committee

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Senate Judiciary-Civil Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 124 this week. The bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Schiavoni, will make it easier for Ohioans to transfer property upon death.

Senate Bill 124, co-sponsored by Senator Keith Faber (R-Celina), changes the transfer of death designation instrument from a deed to an affidavit. The bill also allows an individual who owns real property or any interest in real property as a survivorship tenant to execute a transfer on death designation affidavit.

“This bill simplifies a current, complex law,” said Senator Schiavoni. “Plain and simple: it makes it easier for the average person to transfer property upon death.”

This marks the first bill Senator Schiavoni has introduced to pass committee less than 10 months into his tenure as a State Senator. Senator Schiavoni was appointed to the Senate in January, 2009.

The Caucus

Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney - Cincinnati - 9th District
Assistant Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni - Canfield - 33rd District
Minority Whip Nina Turner - Cleveland - 25th District
Assistant Minority Whip Edna Brown - Toledo - 11th District
Senator Tom Sawyer - Akron - 28th District
Senator Charleta B. Tavares - Columbus - 15th District
Senator Shirley Smith - Cleveland - 21st District
Senator Michael J. Skindell - Cleveland - 23rd District
Senator Lou Gentile - Steubenville - 30th District
Senator Capri S. Cafaro - Hubbard - 32nd District

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