Friday, January 28, 2011

Senator Skindell Earns Key Committee Assignments

Columbus – This week State Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) was appointed to several key committees by Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro, including being named as Ranking Member on the important Senate Finance Committee.

"I am truly honored by this appointment and grateful for the confidence Senator Cafaro and my Democratic colleagues have placed in me," Senator Skindell said.

In addition, Senator Skindell will serve on the Financial Institutions, Judiciary-Civil, and Ways and Means Committees.

Senator Skindell previously served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010. In the House, he spent six years on the House Finance Committee and three of those years as the Ranking Member.

“Senator Skindell brings a tremendous amount of expertise to these committees. Considering the budgetary challenges the State of Ohio faces, we are fortunate to have his experience serving us on the Finance Committee,” stated Leader Cafaro.

The Senate Finance Committee will play a major role in determining the State of Ohio’s biennial budget, including filling a projected $8 billion deficit.

Senator Sawyer Named Ranking Member of Education Committee

Columbus- State Senator Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) is pleased to announce that he has received his committee assignments for the 129th General Assembly, including his appointment as the Ranking Member of the Education Committee.

A former educator, Ohio State Board of Education member, and member of the Education Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Sawyer brings over 40 years of experience to the Senate Education Committee.

In addition, Senator Sawyer will return to the Energy and Public Utilities Committee and Finance Committee. He is newly appointed to the Insurance, Labor and Commerce Committee, and also was named to the State of Ohio Controlling Board and the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

Upon hearing of his appointments, Senator Sawyer said, “I am looking forward to continuing my work on the Education Committee, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, and the Finance Committee; and I am very excited to begin work on the Insurance, Labor and Commerce Committee.”

Senator Brown Announces Committee Assignments

Columbus – Committee assignments were released today for the Ohio Senate. State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) received six total assignments, including being selected for the position of Ranking Minority Member of the Health, Human Services & Aging Committee.

“It is an honor to continue the work that I’ve previously done in the area of human services, and I’m happy to serve as the Ranking Member for the committee.” Senator Brown said. “Serving on six committees is a heavy workload, and I look forward to the challenges it may present.”

Senator Brown’s full committee list is as follows:

· Agriculture, Environment & Natural Resources

· Financial Institutions

· Health, Human Services & Aging (Ranking Member)

· Insurance, Commerce & Labor

· Rules & Reference

· State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs

In the 128th General Assembly, when Senator Brown was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, she served as the Chair for the Health & Human Services Subcommittee of the Finance & Appropriations Committee.

Committees are expected to begin meeting next week.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rejection of Strickland Appointments is Unconstitutional

Columbus – The Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus filed a formal protest today after the Senate’s unconstitutional rejection of Governor Ted Strickland’s appointments to various boards and commissions. The appointments included highly qualified Ohioans of both political parties who were appointed to serve on the State Board of Education and the Ohio Lottery Commission.

“This is another disappointing example of partisan politics in the Ohio Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard). “Many of the appointees have already proven themselves to be outstanding public servants. It’s a shame they will not be able to continue their service to this state.”

Former Governor Strickland made the 14 appointments after the Senate majority took the unprecedented action of rejecting 78 appointees in December without regard to qualifications or experience. Three of the latest appointees—Robert Boggs, Rhine McLin and Kimberly Zurz—have previously served with distinction in the Ohio Senate as well as other positions in state and local government.

“It is time for the Senate to re-examine the confirmation process so all appointees are treated fairly,” said Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland). “What the Senate did today was tell Ohioans they need not apply for public service if they are appointed by a governor affiliated with the wrong political party.”

Governor Strickland submitted the 14 appointments on December 21, 2010, which is one day before the final ten days of the 128th General Assembly (which is comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate, not just the Senate.) Because the Senate failed to act on the appointments in a timely manner, today’s vote to reject the appointments is unconstitutional. The protest by the Senate Democratic Caucus makes the following point:

“We believe that pursuant to Article III, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution, that the Senate has already consented to the confirmations of the 14 appointees to various boards and commissions by failing to act before the 128th General Assembly adjourned sine die.”

“Today’s vote by the Senate majority raises serious constitutional questions,” said Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati). “I am also concerned that outstanding people were rejected without the opportunity to properly evaluate their qualifications.”

The Senate Democratic Caucus’ protest will become part of the official Senate Journal.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Senator Cafaro Comments on Opening of 129th General Assembly

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro issued the following statement after the opening day of the 129th General Assembly, during which she was re-elected Minority Leader:

“I look forward to working with President Tom Niehaus and my colleagues in the Ohio Senate as we tackle the challenges facing our great state over the next two years. I am also honored to continue serving as Minority Leader in the 129th General Assembly.

“This General Assembly faces many challenges, not the least of which is balancing our next budget. But, I believe adversity leads to opportunity. Because of the size of the challenge before us, we must as Abraham Lincoln said “think anew and act anew.” Working together we have the opportunity to address long-standing issues that have been left unresolved by previous General Assemblies.

“Three and a half million Ohioans live in districts represented by Senate Democrats. My Caucus is honored to have the privilege and the responsibility to make sure their voices are heard in this chamber. While we are not the majority party, we are equally committed to representing our constituents. We will not hesitate in standing up for our principles and doing what is best for the people of Ohio.”

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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