Thursday, March 31, 2011

Senator Turner Discusses Final Passage of Senate Bill 5 on MSNBC

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Senator Cafaro Comments on Final Passage of Senate Bill 5

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) issued the following statement after the Ohio Senate voted 17-16 to give final approval to amended Senate Bill 5, the anti-worker legislation that takes collective bargaining rights away from public employees:

“Senate Bill 5 is a direct attack on worker’s rights that will have a devastating impact on Ohio families and communities. There is nothing in this hurtful legislation that creates jobs or grows our economy. Instead, this bill guts collective bargaining which means more hard-working Ohioans will lose their jobs or see their wages and benefits drastically cut.

“I am grateful Ohio’s constitution gives our citizens the power to overturn legislation that is so blatantly unfair to teachers, firefighters, police officers and other dedicated public servants. I look forward to a statewide referendum where Ohioans will have the opportunity to veto Senate Bill 5.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Senator Skindell's Letter to the Columbus Dispatch

Dear Editor,

To borrow words used by the Dispatch and State Budget Director Tim Keen, I am not sure if “inexplicable” or “inexcusable” is the best way to describe the failure to provide start-up funding for the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Despite a Dispatch editorial’s assertion to the contrary, someone in the General Assembly did consider the necessity of paying for the commission’s start-up costs. Legislation passed last May by the Democratic controlled Ohio House of Representatives provided $7.6 million in operating funds. However, the Republican controlled Senate stripped the funding from the bill.

Furthermore, the work of the Casino Control Commission has been needlessly delayed by partisan politics. The commission started meeting in October to establish guidelines for opening and operating Ohio’s casinos. However, the commission’s work ground to a halt when Governor Kasich insisted on removing the board’s original members to stack the commission with his own appointees.

We should not allow partisan politics to delay economic development in our cities. Unfortunately, that is a consequence of the political games that are being played with the Casino Control Commission.

Respectfully yours,
State Senator Michael J. Skindell
(D) Lakewood

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Senator Turner and Mayor Jackson Call for Legislation to Share Services

Columbus –State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) introduced Senate Bill 125 this week which would give cities and municipalities more authority to share services. The legislation, proposed by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, would allow municipalities to enter into contracts that would let them perform services for one another while sharing cost and resources.

“The current fiscal environment forces us to think how we can work collaboratively to address the needs of our citizens while saving taxpayer dollars,” Senator Turner said. “I am pleased to work with Mayor Jackson and Senator Seitz to empower our communities to work together to provide vital services more efficiently.”

The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), would help cities share services including snow removal, road repair and waste management.

“I would like to thank Senator Turner and her co-sponsor Senator Seitz for getting Senate Bill 125 introduced,” Mayor Jackson said. “We are living in an environment where rapid change is the reality of the moment. Just one year ago I engaged Senator Turner on the idea of expanding the scope of authority for municipalities to be able to provide service outside their boundaries. Fast forward to a short time later, what was a good and prudent business solution then is a matter of necessity today.”

The bill has also received support from Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association.

“This legislation carries even more importance given the difficult economic climate along with proposed cuts in funding to local governments from the State. Communities in Northeast Ohio are committed to collaboration and sharing services,” said John Licastro, President of the CCMCMA. The General Assembly must give us the legal tools to allow that to happen. We thank Senator Turner for her continued efforts to have this legislation become state law and applaud both her and the bill's co-sponsor Senator Bill Seitz.”

Friday, March 18, 2011

Senator Kearney Honors Cincinnati High School Champions

Senator Eric Kearney presents a proclamation to the Saint Ursula Academy Field Hockey team for winning the Division – 1 Championship.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Senator Turner Talks About the Governor's Budget on MSNBC

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) appeared on the Ed Show on MSNBC to talk about the harmful effects of the Governor's budget and Senate Bill 5. Her interview begins at 3:45 on this clip.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Senator Cafaro Comments on Governor's Budget Plan

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) issued the following statement in regards to Governor Kasich’s budget plan:

“I am deeply concerned that the Governor’s decision to slash funding to local governments will put a tremendous strain on communities across the state. Even with additional flexibility to share resources, the state is creating a fiscal crisis for local governments that will likely lead to tax increases, reduced services and additional layoffs.

“I am also apprehensive about the sale of five prisons and the closing of other correctional facilities including two in my Senate district and the impact that it will have on jobs and public safety. We should not forget that convicted murderers escaped from a private prison in Youngstown while we search for ways to balance our budget. What assurances do we have that more privately owned and operated prisons won’t pose the same risk to our communities? Furthermore, selling five prisons is an example of one-time money that Republicans have blamed for our current budget deficit.

“Finally, the education portion of the budget is voodoo budgeting. The administration claims its budget increases funding for K-12 education, when in reality it makes significant cuts.”

Friday, March 4, 2011

Senator Schiavoni Debunks Collective Bargaining Memo

Columbus – As the ranking Democrat on the Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield) is urging Ohioans to take a closer look at the so-called Senate Bill 5 savings memo released by the Office of Collective Bargaining and the Department of Administrative Services.

“The memo fails to calculate the real-life impact that SB 5 will have on Ohio families,” said Senator Schiavoni. “The memo does not take into account the money that this bill takes away from our public employees. The less money they have to take home, the less they have to spend in our local economies.”

The memo claims that the state would have saved more than $75 million in 2010 by eliminating Step Increases for state workers. The memo neglects to point out that in the biennial budget (HB1) there was a step freeze that already saved the state this money. Through the existing collective bargaining process, public employees have already made this concession.

The memo also suggests that state employees increase health insurance premiums to 20% potentially saving the state more than $25 million. The amended bill reduces employee premiums to 15% and eliminates these potential savings.

A Legislative Service Commission fiscal analysis on SB 5 concluded that there was not enough information available to provide accurate savings amounts. This critical piece of information was omitted from the original DAS Memo. Instead, DAS tried to calculate local government cost savings.

“I was especially disappointed that DAS never came before our committee to defend their questionable conclusions,” said Schiavoni. “DAS speculates local government savings even though local government employees do not always receive step movements or longevity pay. It is nearly impossible to calculate any local savings under SB5.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Polls Show Strong Support for Collective Bargaining Rights

Columbus – Yet another national poll today shows that Americans do not support partisan legislation such as Senate Bill 5 that would take collective bargaining rights away from police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public employees. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 62% oppose efforts to strip government workers of their rights to collectively bargain.

“The public sees Senate Bill 5 for what it really is—a highly political assault on the rights of middle class workers,” said Senator Cafaro. “I am grateful that six republicans in the Ohio Senate joined with Senate Democrats in opposing this deeply flawed legislation. If it wasn’t for last minute chicanery, the bill would not have even reached the floor of the Senate for a vote.”

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also points out that 77% percent of Americans believe public employees should have the same rights to negotiate over health care, pensions and other benefits as workers in the private sector.

“Senate Bill 5 would turn our public employees into second class citizens,” said Senator Cafaro. “The sad truth is this legislation would leave public employees with fewer rights to negotiate on issues such as safety equipment than their counterparts in the private sector.”

The findings of the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey are backed up by other recent public opinion polls. A USA Today/Gallup poll puts support for public employee collective bargaining rights at 61% and a New York Times/CBS News poll has the number at 60%.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Video of Senate Bill 5 Protest 3/1/2011

Approximately 15,000 people took part in a worker's rally at the Ohio Statehouse to protest Senate Bill 5. The legislation would take away collective bargaining rights for public employees and is a direct assault on Ohio's middle class.

Photos of Senate Bill 5 Protest

Senate Democrats Still Oppose Amended Senate Bill 5

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) said today that a new version of Senate Bill 5 is a bad idea that has only gotten worse. The Senate majority presented a substitute bill in the Insurance, Commerce and Labor committee that would still take away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

“The amended bill still strips public employees of any means to effectively bargain and would put them in jail if they strike,” said Senator Cafaro. “Senate Bill 5 turns collective bargaining into a one-sided conversation where management always gets the last word.”

Even though the committee hearing was delayed until the afternoon, Senate Republicans did not provide Democrats with a summary of the amended bill until the hearing began.

“Senate Republicans gave us a 99 page document one minute before the hearing and expected us to ask questions about it,” said Senator Schiavoni, the ranking member on the committee. “That’s ridiculous. But, that’s what they did with the original bill. Polls show the public doesn’t want to strip public employees of their right to collectively bargain. We are wasting time on this bill when we should be working to create jobs.”

Today’s committee hearing took place against the backdrop of a “Rally to Save Ohio’s Middle Class.” An estimated 15,000 Ohioans showed up at the Ohio Statehouse to protest against ending public employees’ right to collective bargaining.

Senate Democrats have requested the opportunity for more witnesses to testify on the amended bill. However, the chairman has not announced if additional testimony will be allowed when hearings resume Wednesday morning.

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

This page may operate better if you download a free copy of Adobe Flash Player, found here.