Thursday, December 1, 2011

Senator Tavares Calls for More Funding for AIDS Prevention and Treatment

Columbus – On this World AIDS day, Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) calls on the state of Ohio to commit more resources to HIV treatment and prevention and to stop the Ohio Department of Health from imposing rule changes that could restrict access to life saving drugs.

“Unfortunately, the scourge of HIV/AIDS has not diminished in the last 30 years and Franklin County has the highest number of new cases of HIV/AIDS in the state,” said Senator Tavares.

This week a Franklin County judge temporarily stopped the Ohio Department of Health from reducing the number of people eligible for the Ohio HIV Drug Assistance program. The Department had planned to cut eligibility for AIDS patients based on income—from 300 percent of the poverty level to just 100 percent.

“Instead of imposing new restrictions which limit patient access to life saving drugs, the state of Ohio should provide the funding that is needed,” said Senator Tavares. “If resources are scarce it’s because the state makes them scarce through misplaced budget priorities. We have a responsibility to ensure that the public we serve is aware of and involved in the development of policies, rules and guidelines for programming and funding of services with these finite federal dollars. ”

Senator Tavares contends that additional funding is available from either a $23 million Vioxx settlement or the state’s rainy day fund which currently contains $247 million.

Earlier this year, Senator Tavares offered a budget amendment to increase funding for AIDS prevention and treatment by $5.3 million over the next two fiscal years.

Lou Gentile Picked to Fill Vacancy in 30th Senate District

Columbus – The Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus has voted unanimously to appoint State Representative Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) to fill a vacancy in the 30th Senate District. Rep. Gentile replaces Jason Wilson who resigned to become Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia.

“Lou Gentile is hard-working and passionate about public service,” said Senate Minority Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard). “He will be a strong voice for the residents of the 30th District and a great addition to the Ohio Senate.”

Rep. Gentile currently represents the 95th House District which includes Jefferson County and parts of Belmont County. Prior to joining the General Assembly, he served as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia under former Governor Ted Strickland.

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to represent Southeastern Ohio in the State Senate,” Gentile said. “I am committed to working as hard as I can to give the people of the 30th District the kind of representation they deserve.”

Rep. Gentile received a unanimous recommendation from the Democratic chairmen of Belmont, Harrison and Jefferson Counties for an appointment to the Ohio Senate. Those three counties will continue to be part of the 30th Senate District when boundaries change due to reapportionment.

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.