Monday, June 28, 2010

Unexpected Visitor Drops by Senator Wilson's Office

This morning Senator Jason Wilson's legislative aide glanced into the Senator's office and noticed a set of large eyes peering back at him through the window blinds. The eyes turned out to be a young peregrine falcon from a nest the Ohio Department of Natural Resources maintains on the 40th floor of the Rhodes state office tower.

Senator Wilson's staff contacted ODNR to let wildlife officials know what they have found--and that was a good thing because the falcon had left the nest too early. At five and a half weeks old, the falcon is too young to fly properly.

Thanks to the call from staffers Jason Phillips and Josh Williams, an ODNR representive was able to catch the bird with a net and return it to the Rhodes tower.

To see the live ODNR 'FalconCam', visit:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Senator Morano Calls for Extension of Medicaid Funding

Columbus – Today State Senator Sue Morano (D-Lorain) and Progress Ohio urged members of Congress to support a six month extension of the current enhanced rate used to reimburse states for Medicaid. Without the extension, the State of Ohio will be forced to make cuts to Medicaid services.

“An extension in Medicaid funding will avoid cuts to programs that many people are relying on to survive,” Senator Morano said during a rally at Lake Pointe Health Center in Lorain. “Seniors and their families count on these funds to help provide them with quality long term care that they otherwise may not be able to afford.”

The extension would give Ohio $750 million for programs that cover mental health services, home health care for Ohioans with disabilities and assisted living programs for seniors.

Ohio ranks seventh in the nation for residents relying on Medicaid for health coverage. There are currently 2.1 million Ohioans enrolled in Medicaid, including one in four children.
Coverage by Lorain Morning Journal (with video):

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Senator Joe Schiavoni - June 2010 E-Newsletter

Senator Joe Schiavoni's June 2010 E-Newsletter is now available to view and download online.

(To download, a free copy of Adobe Acrobat is required. Click here to get Acrobat.)

Senator Schiavoni - June 2010 E-Newsletter

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Senate Fails to Pass Critical Legislation Before Summer Recess

COLUMBUS – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus today expressed great concern that the Ohio Senate went on a lengthy summer recess without passing critical legislation to protect Ohioans. Several bills introduced by Senate Democrats in the 128th General Assembly are caught in legislative limbo while Ohio’s citizens wait for help.

“It’s very disappointing that the Ohio Senate has largely ignored the foreclosure crisis affecting so many across our state,” said Senator Cafaro. “Senate Democrats are committed to doing all we can to help Ohioans keep their homes because it’s the right thing to do for Ohio families and because it’s good for our economy.”

It has been 350 days since the Judiciary-Civil Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 13 to require landlords to provide written notice to renters when their rental property goes into foreclosure. The entire Senate has never had an opportunity to vote on this common sense legislation or two other foreclosure bills the Ohio House passed more than a year ago. In fact, while the Senate passed 32 bills immediately before the summer recess, the Senate majority even failed to pass foreclosure legislation sponsored by its own members.

“The Senate should place the highest priority on addressing the ongoing foreclosure crisis,” said Senator Dale Miller (D-Cleveland), the sponsor of SB 13. “The problem has not gone away since I introduced my legislation last year.”

Despite strong bipartisan support, the Senate has also failed to pass legislation establishing a separate criminal offense for human trafficking. Senate Bill 235 has 25 co-sponsors but remains stuck in committee.

“Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery that demands swift action by the Ohio Senate,” said Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a joint sponsor of SB 235. “Ohio lags behind 44 other states in strengthening our human trafficking laws. Unfortunately, we apparently will have to wait several months before we have the opportunity to vote on a bill.”

Other bills proposed by Senate Democrats to ban texting while driving (Senator Shirley Smith--SB 164), crack down on wage theft (Senator Sue Morano--SB 212) and prohibit hiring discrimination based on credit history (Senator Ray Miller--SB 91) also languish in committee while the Senate goes on a recess that could last until November.

Senator Cafaro Introduces Speed Enforcement Bill

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Senator Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) today announced the introduction of Senate Bill 280. The bipartisan legislation would prohibit law enforcement officers from issuing speeding tickets based solely on visual estimates.

“When Ohio motorists are pulled over for speeding there should be measurable proof rather than someone’s estimate,” said Senator Cafaro. “This legislation clarifies the Ohio Revised Code to require verifiable evidence to issue speeding tickets.”

SB 280 is in response to a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that said officers can issue speeding tickets without using radar or laser. The Court’s ruling allows estimates based on visual observation if the officer has been properly trained. The bill says in part:

“No person shall be arrested, charged or convicted of a violation of any provision of section 4511.21 or 4511.21 of the Revised Code or a substantially similar municipal ordinance based on a peace officer’s unaided visual estimation of the speed of a motor vehicle, trackless trolley or streetcar.”

Under SB 280, law enforcement officers would need verifiable evidence of speeding such as radar, laser or similar devices. Or in the case of airborne speed enforcement, a calculation based on the amount of time it takes for a vehicle to travel a specific distance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Senator Fedor Casts Vote for New Ohio Statue

Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) encourages Ohioans to vote for one of ten candidates to be honored with a statue at the U.S. Capitol.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cyberbullying continues after bell rings

A letter from State Senator Teresa Fedor
(Columbus Dispatch link, click here)

School districts must have a path and victims must have recourse to address harassment by electronic devices when it affects the educational environment. To claim that anti-cyber bullying legislation is an overreach, as in the Dispatch’s May 28 editorial, is to overlook the reality of both today’s school environment and legal precedence.

Cyber bullying has a more far-reaching impact than traditional bullying, because it doesn’t end when the school bell rings. Students can (and do) cyber bully their classmates from their computers, BlackBerrys, iPads, and cell phones well beyond the school day.

There is Supreme Court precedent holding that schools may intervene in off-campus expression when it materially or substantively disrupts learning in the physical school setting. Senate Bill 126 and House Bill 520 do not, in any way, “order schools to police interactions” between students. It is the responsibility of the student victim, parent, or other witness to bring forth the evidence of cyber bullying to the administrator. When such information is brought to their attention, it is up to the administrators to proceed with the information as they would with other bullying cases. In fact, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators is in favor of this legislation and testified in support of Senate Bill 126.

To ignore such bullying, simply because it doesn’t happen between the walls of a school, would be unconscionable.

Teresa Fedor
State Senator, 11th District
Sponsor of Senate Bill 126

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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