Thursday, March 29, 2012

Senator Cafaro Offers Sponsor Testimony on Jobs Bill

Columbus – State Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) issued the following statement after offering sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 314, a bill that would innovate Ohio’s economic development strategies. The bill would ensure job creation and increased economic activity by supporting business development across the state.

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this bi-partisan legislation that will make Ohio’s development efforts more efficient and effective. This bill would have a tremendous effect on Ohio’s tourism, particularly in areas such as Ashtabula County along Lake Erie in my district. It would also increase support for the Appalachian region, as well as minority- and family-owned businesses throughout the state.”

Senator Cafaro is sponsoring this legislation with Senator Mark Wagoner (R – Ottawa Hills).



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Senate Democrats Stand Up for the Right of Ohioans to Hold a Referendum on Election Law

Columbus – Today the Senate Democratic Caucus voted unanimously against the repeal of House Bill 194. More than 300,000 Ohioans signed petitions calling for a statewide referendum on the controversial voter suppression bill. However, Republicans in the General Assembly are moving to repeal HB 194 before the citizens of Ohio have the opportunity to vote on the referendum.

“This will set a dangerous precedent for future referendums,” said Senate Minority leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati). “If the General Assembly can repeal a bill that is subject to referendum and then pass the same or similar legislation, it makes the referendum process meaningless. The citizens of this state would no longer have the power to fight hyper-partisan legislation such as last year’s Senate Bill 5.”

The Ohio Senate today voted along party lines to pass Senate Bill 295, which repeals HB 194. This unprecedented legislative maneuver circumvents Ohio’s constitution.

“The framers of our state constitution set up a system of checks and balances where the ultimate power belongs to the people not legislators,” said Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland). “After losing their effort to strip collective bargaining from public employees, Republicans are undermining citizen rights to avoid another defeat at the ballot box.”

HB 194 would make it harder for Ohioans to vote by shortening the early voting period and by prohibiting counties from mailing unsolicited applications for absentee ballots. The changes would have an adverse impact on minority groups and urban areas and would likely lead to longer lines at polling places.

“We are willing to work on a bipartisan basis to ensure the fairness and integrity of our elections,” said Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville). “However, we are not willing to violate the constitution to avoid a referendum.”

Senate Democrats believe Ohioans should vote on the referendum, and then if the General Assembly decides to consider other election related legislation after November, it should be drafted and passed with bipartisan support.



Senator Schiavoni Introduces Legislation to License and Regulate Sweepstakes Terminal Devices

COLUMBUS — State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield) is introducing legislation today that will license and regulate sweepstakes terminal devices within the State of Ohio.

Unlike gambling activities and skill-based amusement machines which are regulated under Ohio law, sweepstakes operations at internet cafes are currently unregulated. The effort to regulate these machines began in the Ohio House of Representatives, after Rep. Nan Baker and Rep. Marlene Anielski introduced similar legislation on this issue.

“I decided to take on this effort here in the Senate, and with the support of the Attorney General’s office I think we have put together a very balanced and comprehensive piece of legislation,” said Senator Schiavoni. “With the introduction of casinos, racinos and internet cafes to our state, it is important to make sure that every form of gaming is regulated in order to provide our citizens with an understanding of the odds of the games they choose to play.”

Under Senator Schiavoni’s proposed legislation, the Ohio Casino Control Commission will have the authority to license, regulate, investigate and penalize vendors and operators found to be operating illegally. By licensing and regulating these operators, the legislation is intended to protect Ohio consumers from potential fraud. The bill also gives local governments the authority to allow or (opt-in) to having sweepstakes operations within their jurisdictions; as well as the ability to levy and collect fees on these establishments.

Senator Schiavoni worked alongside Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Casino Control Commission in putting this bill together.

“Regulating internet caf├ęs is a sensible thing to do,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine. “By imposing common-sense regulations we can ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of and that the law is consistent statewide.”

The regulations in this legislation, however, were not created to hinder the viability of sweepstake businesses. There are no restrictive limits placed on cash prizes, and it does not cap the amount of licenses available to potential operators.



Senator Turner Urges Legislators Across the Country to Fight for Women's Reproductive Health Rights

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Senator Kearney Issues Statement on Possible Repeal of HB 194

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement today in response to Republican efforts to repeal House Bill 194 before Ohioans have a chance to reject the voter suppression legislation through a statewide referendum:


“Republicans apparently learned their lesson from Senate Bill 5. To avoid suffering another stinging defeat at the ballot box, they have decided to repeal House Bill 194 before Ohioans have an opportunity to reject it.


“It has become abundantly clear that the repeal is a political maneuver designed to circumvent Ohio’s constitution. This sets a dangerous precedent for future referendums.


“Referendums are an essential component of the checks and balances in our constitution. It is a right that belongs to the people and the General Assembly should not infringe upon it. Repealing HB 194 would make a mockery of the referendum process.”

The repeal of HB 194 is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday morning in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee. The repeal legislation is designated as Senate Bill 295.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Senators Kearney and Turner Call for Action on Democrat Jobs' Bills

Senate Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) and Senate Minority Whip Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) spoke at news conference today where they called on the General Assembly to hold hearings on jobs bills introduced by Democrats.  There were joined by Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, House Minority Leader Armond Budish and House Minority Leader Matt Szollosi.

Senators Kearney and Turner have proposed a jobs plan called Forward Ohio that will create an estimated 16,000 jobs.  But, the bill has yet to have hearing in the Ohio Senate.




Friday, March 9, 2012

Senator Schiavoni Issues Statement on Earthquake Report


Columbus – State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield) issued the following statement today in response to a report by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that blames a waste-water injection well for causing earthquakes in Youngstown:

“I am not surprised by the report’s findings based on my conversations with state geologists and other experts. It seems pretty clear we’re talking about more than just a coincidence that the earthquakes were centered near the waste water injection site. “I think the state is trying to take responsible steps in addressing the earthquake issue. But, the regulations proposed by ODNR ignore the larger issue of what to do with waste water from fracking. “State legislators and the Kasich administration need to work together on a bipartisan basis to find a solution that strikes the proper balance between encouraging economic development, protecting the environment and keeping our citizens safe.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Senator Turner Introduces Legislation to Protect Men's Health

(Columbus) –State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) announced legislation today that would protect men in Ohio from the risks of PDE-5 inhibitors, drugs commonly used to treat symptoms of impotence. Turner’s legislation would include provisions to document that the symptoms are not psychological in nature, and would guide men to make the right decision for their bodies. Physicians would be required to obtain a second opinion from a psychological professional to verify that a patient has a true medical malady before the medication could be prescribed.

“The men in our lives, including members of the General Assembly, generously devote time to fundamental female reproductive issues—the least we can do is return the favor,” Senator Turner said. “It is crucial that we take the appropriate steps to shelter vulnerable men from the potential side effects of these drugs.”

The legislation follows the FDA’s recommendation that the evaluation of erectile dysfunction should include a determination of potential underlying causes and the identification of appropriate treatment following a complete medical assessment. Similar bills to more closely regulate reproductive health issues have been introduced in the state legislatures of Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, and most recently Pennsylvania.

“When a man makes a crucial decision about his health and his body, he should be fully aware of the alternative options and the lifetime repercussions of that decision,” Senator Turner said today. Men will be more easily guided through the process of obtaining treatment for impotence so they can better understand and more effectively address their condition. PDE-5 inhibitors can carry serious side effects such as priapism, hearing loss, and vision loss, and can be detrimental to men with heart problems, including heart pain, abnormal heart rhythms, high or low blood pressure, or a history of stroke.

“By implementing more intensive screenings before prescribing the medication and requiring outpatient educational services, we can do more to prevent the potential side effects linked to PDE-5 inhibitors,” Senator Turner explained. “We must advocate for the traditional family, protect the sanctity of procreation, and ensure that all men using PDE-5 inhibitors are healthy, stable, and educated about their options—including celibacy as a viable life choice. This legislation will do just that.”

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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