Friday, January 29, 2010

Senator Smith - February E-Newsletter - Now Available

Senator Shirley Smith's February E-Newsletter is now available online.

To download, click here.

(Free Adobe Acrobat Reader required - to download, click here.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Senator Morano Announces City of Avon in First Round of FAST TRAC Projects

COLUMBUS – Senator Sue Morano (D-Lorain) is pleased to announce that the City of Avon has been approved by FAST TRAC, Ohio’s Transportation Review Advisory Council, to begin construction on the Interstate 90 Avon Interchange in Lorain County.

“The Interstate 90 Avon Interchange is a gateway to Lorain County,” said Senator Morano. “These improvements will increase job growth potential for the entire area, and add another opportunity for the citizens of Lorain County to access world-class health care at a new Cleveland Clinic project.”

The new interchange at I-90 and Nagel Road will be constructed to reduce traffic congestion of surrounding interchanges and improve access for the City of Avon. With only 25 percent of the industrial land near this location developed, the new interchange - paid for entirely by the City of Avon - will provide the infrastructure needed for future growth and serve as the main access point for a future Cleveland Clinic hospital/office facilities complex. The project cost is $23.7 million.

FAST TRAC was introduced earlier this month by the TRAC as an investment tool to consider important transportation projects on an “as needed” basis, instead of the typical four-year planning horizon. The members of the TRAC called for this regulatory reform to cut red tape and capitalize on the success of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) expedited project development process under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Our new regulatory reform initiative FAST TRAC will accelerate major transportation infrastructure projects – the kind that can quickly have a profound economic development impact for an entire region,” Governor Ted Strickland said in his State of the State address Tuesday. “By cutting red tape and advancing promising job-creating projects, more Ohioans will be put to work more quickly rebuilding Ohio.”

To read more about TRAC, visit:

Senator Schiavoni - January 2010 E-Newsletter II - Available

Senator Joe Schiavoni's 2nd January E-Newsletter is now available online.

To download, click here.

(Free Adobe Acrobat Reader required - click here to download.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State Senators Cafaro and Schiavoni Testify on Behalf of Delphi Retirees

COLUMBUS – State Senators Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield) delivered sponsor testimony yesterday on a resolution (SCR 23) calling on the Federal Government to treat all General Motors-Delphi retirees fairly and equitably.

“Senator Schiavoni and I have spent countless hours advocating for the local employees of the Delphi Corporation,” said Senator Cafaro. “The massive job loss that has occurred since Delphi first declared bankruptcy in 2005 has devastated our districts. Our constituents have had to endure mass layoffs, pay cuts, and questionable unbalanced buyouts. I cannot fully accentuate how damaging the additional loss of their post-employment benefits will be on the Mahoning Valley.”

As a result of bankruptcy proceedings, all Delphi Corporation pension funds were transferred to the Federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. General Motors has agreed to fulfill pension obligations for Delphi hourly retirees represented by the United Auto Worker, IUE-CWA and the United Steel Workers. However, a similar agreement has not been reached for Delphi salaried retirees or hourly retirees represented by other unions. In addition, many Delphi retirees have seen their health care benefits reduced or eliminated.

“Ohio should, at minimum, push this resolution through to urge the Federal Government to help these individuals,” said Senator Schiavoni. “I will work hard to get this through the Senate as soon as possible. These dedicated workers are entitled to the fair benefits they deserve.”

The resolution has bipartisan support in the Ohio Senate where six Democrats have been joined by two Republicans in co-sponsoring the bill.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Senator Cafaro Pleased with Governor's Committment to Creating Jobs

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) today offered the following statement on Governor Ted Strickland’s State of the State address.

“Governor Strickland’s speech should give Ohioans confidence that we are laying the foundation for a strong recovery after being faced with one of the most challenging economies in our state’s history. I am especially pleased with his initiatives to create jobs and spur economic development.

“The Governor’s call for a greater emphasis on renewable energy and bio products builds on the strengths of programs already under way in Trumbull and Ashtabula Counties, such as the Warren Incubator and the IBEW Training Center. In addition, the Governor’s proposal for a bio refinery will our help our farmers and encourage the development of green products.

“I am also excited about the Governor’s initiatives to promote small businesses through easier access to credit and a new “Build Your Own Business” program. And his proposal for manufacturing certificates will help workers find jobs with the skills they have learned.

“As the sponsor of a Transportation Innovation Authority bill in the Ohio Senate, I am pleased the Governor expressed his support for this important initiative to help local communities better address their transportation needs. Plus, putting more transportation projects on the fast track will improve our infrastructure while creating jobs.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Senator Fedor Brought Nationally-Renown Speakers to Statehouse for Human Trafficking Awareness Day Event

Many local advocates attended and spoke

Continuing her commitment to eradicate Human Trafficking through legislation and awareness, State Senator Teresa Fedor held an Awareness Day event at the Ohio Statehouse on January 11, 2010. Ambassador Mark Lagon, CEO of the Polaris Project, delivered the keynote address. Also addressing the audience was: Attorney General Richard Cordray, U.S. Attorneys Carter Stewart & Steve Dettelbach, Rep. Kathleen Chandler, Sen. Jim Hughes and Dawn Conway, the Sr. Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at Lexis Nexis.

The event featured two panels of experts addressing the victim’s assistance and law enforcement aspects of Human Trafficking. Local human trafficking experts: Mary Schmidbauer, Second Chance; Jake Hardie, FBI; Pete Swartz, Toledo Police Department; Amy Allen, ICE; Theresa Flores, Survivor and Gracehaven Director of Awareness and Training; Dan Brown, Assistant U.S. Attorney Southern District; Michelle Hannan, Central Ohio Rescue & Restore Coalition; Lt. Matt Warren, Commander, Ohio State Highway Patrol; and Hon. Connie Zemmelman, Lucas County Juvenile Court addressed the audience.

“Human Trafficking is a very real problem in Ohio. Ohioans must stop and take notice of the atrocities being committed against children in our State. By strengthening criminal penalties through legislation and by bringing together anti-trafficking groups and experts to spread awareness, we can begin to eradicate this horrible form of modern-day slavery,” said Senator Fedor.

Visit the following link to view video from the Human Trafficking Awareness Day event:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Senate Democratic Leader Calls for Strengthening Ohio's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law

COLUMBUS- Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) today called on the General Assembly to strengthen Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law to protect residents of long-term care facilities. Senator Cafaro urged Senators to support Senate Bill 130 during testimony presented to the Judiciary and Criminal Justice Committee.

“Too often residents of long term care facilities remain unaware of sex offenders living only a few feet away,” said Senator Cafaro, the lead sponsor of SB 130. “Current law requires county sheriffs to notify residents if sex offenders live within 1,000 feet of their home. However, the law does not require operators of long-term care facilities to inform residents or their guardians when an offender moves into the facility.”

Senate Bill 130 would require the operators of long-term care facilities to distribute Tier III sex offender notifications to the facility’s residents and their guardians. Facilities that do not fulfill the requirement would be subject to a fine of $100 a day for each violation.

There are currently more than 100 registered sex offenders residing in Ohio’s long term care facilities, according to an analysis done by the Columbus Dispatch. About two thirds of those offenders are classified as Tier III, the most serious classification under Ohio law. “I believe Senate Bill 130 will ensure that all Ohioans receive the notification they rightly deserve,” said Senator Cafaro.

Senator Turner Calls for Increased Monitoring of Sex Offenders

COLUMBUS – Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) today urged members of the Senate Judiciary and Criminal Justice Committee to support stronger monitoring of sex offenders. Senator Turner testified on behalf of Senate Bill 217, a bill she introduced in the General Assembly to enable law enforcement to keep better track of Tier III sex offenders, the most serious category of sex offenders under Ohio law. Senator Turner proposed the legislation to address concerns raised by her constituents following the Imperial Avenue slayings in Cleveland.

“The fact of the matter is that cracks exist within our system of monitoring sexual offenders; cracks which criminals are able to manipulate every day,” said Senator Turner. “This legislation will do much to provide law enforcement agencies the tools they need to ensure that tragedies such as what happened on Imperial Avenue do not happen again.”

Senate Bill 217 has five key elements that will apply to sex offenders within the State of Ohio, regardless of when they were originally registered. These mandates are as follows:

· Will increase the frequency of address verification by Tier III offenders from every 90 days to every 30 days.
· Requires law enforcement personnel to confirm the addresses of Tier III offenders every 90 days through face-to-face personal contact at the offender’s place of residence and track the outcomes of such visits.
· Upon initial registration as a Tier III sex offender, law enforcement personnel must confirm this person’s address through personal contact at the offender’s place of residence.
· Institute mandatory community notification of the presence of a Tier III offender once per year, on the anniversary date of their original address registration.
· For all sex offenders, address verification and registration would require demonstration of proof of residency, the same as is found in Ohio Election Law.

Senator Turner has offered to work with County Sheriffs across the state to address their concerns about the cost of implementing these necessary changes. “The aim of this legislation is to protect the innocent from known predators, a goal that is beyond financial considerations, and one we cannot cease working towards,” Senator Turner said.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Senate Staffers Featured in Columbus Local News

Senate Democratic staffers Brittany Boulton and Kristen Butterfield, who work as aides in the office of Senator Capri S. Cafaro, were featured this week in Columbus Local News as they visited a U.S. Census exhibit in the Statehouse.

Read the article here

For more information on the 2010 Census, visit: and

State Senator Nina Turner to Hold Community Forum in Shaker Heights

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) will lead a community forum this Sunday, January 17, from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM at the First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights.

Her topic, "Solving the Challenges of Our Time," will touch on finding meaningful support for families and public education in a down economy. She will also explore how to create a viable future for low-income African-American youth and how to build community leadership.

Childcare will be provided for preschoolers during the program.

Future forum topics include: genetics, our food supply, China, Buddhist perspectives, understanding terrorists, and other thought-provoking subjects.

First Unitarian Church
21600 Shaker Boulevard
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
Click here for map and directions

(216) 751-2320

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Support Grows for Senator Smith's Statewide Ban on Texting and Driving

Columbus –State Senators heard compelling testimony today from supporters of Senator Shirley Smith’s (D-Cleveland) legislation to create a statewide ban on texting and driving. Summit County Sheriff’s Office Chief Garry Moneypenny and Brian Newbacher, Director of Public Affairs of AAA East Central told members of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee why they are backing Senate bill 164.

“As a law enforcement official with almost 35 years experience, I have observed the damages that traffic accidents cause,” testified Chief Moneypenny. “A recent study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory shows . . . that those using a mobile phone to read or write a text message were almost guaranteed to veer out of their line, with steering control 91% poorer than it would otherwise be.” Chief Moneypenny also noted that a significant portion of the population would voluntarily follow a law that bans texting and driving, and compliance with the law will increase over time.

Mr. Newbacher testified that “The significant cognitive, visual and physical distractions involved in text messaging while behind the wheel make it an extremely dangerous activity that should be made illegal.” He also cited a recent Ohio AAA study showed that 91% of its members support a statewide ban on texting and driving.

Mr. Tom Whiteman also gave impromptu testimony in support of SB 164. Representing Leslie’s Wings, a group that promotes motorcycle awareness in memory of the death of his daughter, Whiteman argued that texting while driving is the most significant distracted driving behavior that motorists encounter on the road.

“I am grateful to Chief Moneypenny, Mr. Newbacher, and Mr. Whiteman for taking time to testify today in support of Senate Bill 164. Hearing the facts on the dangers of texting while driving, along with the moving testimony from Mr. Whiteman only strengthened my belief that SB 164 will make Ohio’s roads safer and its drivers smarter,” said Senator Smith. “I sincerely hope that my colleagues on committee weigh these testimonies as seriously as I do and support SB 164.”

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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Senator Smith Hails Unanimous Passage of Senate Bill 201 From Health Committee

COLUMBUS – Senator Shirley Smith is grateful for the bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 201 from the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, & Aging on Tuesday morning. This legislation designates October 13th as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

“Raising awareness about Metastatic breast cancer is the first step in advocacy about this disease,” Senator Smith said after the committee vote. “I am proud to have worked with University Hospitals on this issue and thank them for their leadership on this front against breast cancer. I look forward to a vote by the full Senate to show that this legislative body supports women’s health.”

Metastatic breast cancer is the spread of breast cancer to other organs. Because metastatic breast cancer usually stems from a reoccurrence, this stage IV cancer is exceptionally dangerous. It is considered an incurable, systemic, chronic disease. Treatments for metastatic breast cancer focus on extending the woman’s life.

The first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in October 1985. In 2004, New Yorkers Jane Soyer and Nina Schulman established the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, a national independent advocate group of and for breast cancer survivors. Three years later, New York City became the first political jurisdiction to declare October 13 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Today, 33 American cities and 9 states officially recognize Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Save the Date: Martin Luther King Day Celebration - January 18, 2010

The John F. Kennedy High School Students of Promise, in partnership with State Senator Nina Turner and Cleveland City Councilman Terrell Pruitt, presents The Second Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

Theme: The Fierce Urgency of Now

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keynote address by Ginn Academy Founder & Executive Director Ted Ginn, Sr.

January 18, 2010
12:00 noon; Doors open to the public at 11:00am
(Volunteer service project begins at 7:00am)

John F. Kennedy High School Auditorium

17100 Harvard Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44128
(Click here for map and directions)

Program admission: 1 canned good or non-perishable food item
- Item will be donated to the Lee-Harvard Community Center Food Pantry

View online flyer by clicking here

For more information, please contact Bob Ivory, JFK Students of Promise Linkage Coordinator at 216-324-9154 or email

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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