Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Senator Kearney on Webcast

Senate Democratic Leader Eric H. Kearney talks with about the importance of Ohio to President Obama in November and how Republicans are trying to suppress voting rights and women’s rights.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Senator Lou Gentile recognizes Dan Monteroso as the the 2011-2012 Division II Eastern District Player of the Year

Dan Monteroso, his mother Kathy Monteroso and Senator Gentile.

On Wednesday, May 23, Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) recognized St. Clairesville Junior Dan Monteroso on his achievement as the the 2011-2012 Division II Eastern District and Co-State  Basketball Player of the Year. “As you know in the Ohio Valley, we have a rich tradition of breeding great athletes and Dan is one of those athletes,” said Senator Gentile. Averaging 26.5 points per game and more than 10 rebounds per game, he was also voted a first team All-Ohioan.

Video-Senator Gentile Honors Dan Monteroso (14:40 mark)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Attorney General Mike DeWine Testifies in Support of Legislation to Regulate Internet Cafes

Senator Schiavoni listens intently as Attorney General DeWine testifies before the Government Oversight Committee
Today, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine testified in the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee in support of Senate Bill 317 sponsored by Senator Joe Schiavoni that will license and regulate sweepstakes terminal devices within the State of Ohio.

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. 

“I think this bill is a vast improvement to the status quo,” said Attorney General DeWine. I think it’s time that legislature took action.”

Ohio Senate Passes Senator Shirley Smith’s Legislation To Reform Collateral Sanctions

State Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) provides remarks on Senate Bill 337 during Senate Session

Columbus – Today, legislation introduced by State Senators Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) was passed by the Ohio Senate.  Senate Bill 337 is an extensive reform of the collateral sanctions that impose restrictions and limitations on over 2 million Ohioans with misdemeanor and felony convictions.

This legislation addresses a number of issues that have prevented ex-offenders from gaining successful reentry into society and their communities.  It expands Ohio’s records sealing laws by allowing the sealing of one felony and one misdemeanor conviction, or two misdemeanor convictions.  The legislation also creates a Certificate of Qualification for Employment that lifts the automatic disqualification for certain state-issued occupational licenses, and protects employers from negligent hiring lawsuits.

Senate Bill 337 also modifies Ohio’s Child Support laws by giving courts more discretion in calculating Child Support obligations of incarcerated parents and parents with a felony conviction.  The legislation also allows courts to work with individuals who would otherwise have their drivers’ licenses suspended, and it allows the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to create a repayment plan for license reinstatement fees.

“I have long advocated for expanding Ohio’s record sealing laws, and for giving ex-offenders a second chance when finding employment.  Senate Bill 337 accomplishes these goals,” Senator Smith said to her colleagues during Senate Session.  “It will benefit thousands of rehabilitated citizens who have paid their dues to society and want to move on with their lives.  This legislation eliminates barriers to employment, and it reminds society that ex-offenders have a place among us.”

“I have no doubt that people across the state will come to realize that, like us, ex-offenders want financial stability, employment, opportunity, a secure home, and the ability to support their loved ones.”

Senator Tavares Introduces Legislation to Protect the Electronic Privacy of Employees

Columbus – Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D - Columbus) has introduced legislation that would prohibit employers, employment agencies, personnel placement services, and labor organizations from requiring an applicant or existing employee to provide access to private electronic accounts such as Facebook. The bill does not apply to work related electronic accounts.  

This bill is in response to the recent trend both in Ohio and throughout the country of employers requiring current staff and potential employees to provide passwords to various social media sites with which they have a public profile.

“This bill is an effort to correct the invasion of the privacy of individuals who simply want to work. Employees should not have to give the keys to their personal and private information just to gain or maintain employment,” stated Senator Charleta B. Tavares.
Although it is well known that employers search for the public profiles of potential employees in order to make judgments about the applicant character and personality; however, requesting access to that individual’s personal profile reaches far beyond that scope. Tavares’ legislation would also seek to prevent negative repercussions for those who refuse to divulge the information. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ohio Senate Passes Senator Smith’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Legislation

Columbus – State Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) released the following statement today after the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 199, legislation she introduced to declare October 13th Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Metastatic breast cancer is the spread of breast cancer to other organs. Because metastatic breast cancer usually stems from a reoccurrence, this Stage IV cancer is exceptionally dangerous. The disease is not currently curable, so treatment for metastatic breast cancer focuses on extending the woman’s life.

“I am so pleased that the Senate has passed Senate Bill 199 and recognized the importance of increasing awareness about metastatic breast cancer. It is time for Ohio to join the 33 American cities and nine states that officially recognize October 13th as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

“Everyone has, in some way, been touched by breast cancer. This disease becomes part of our lives when our mothers, wives, sisters, and friends are diagnosed. Senate Bill 199 honors the memory of those women who have died because of this metastatic breast cancer, and it honors the women, their families, and their friends who are fighting it right now.

“My legislation will help raise awareness about this exceptionally dangerous disease. Advances in biology and medicine have led to new drugs that allow women with metastatic breast cancer to live longer, though it is still considered an incurable disease. However, with increased awareness comes increased attention, and I anticipate that this legislation will lead to new discoveries and treatments.

“Passing this bill gives us some hope for a brighter day in the future when we can work together to finally find a cure for this disease.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Senators Turner and Tavares Introduce the FAIR Act to Stop Wage Discrimination

COLUMBUS – Today, State Senators Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) introduced the Fair and Acceptable Income Required (FAIR) Act to update state laws that protect Ohioans, particularly women, from wage discrimination.

“It is unthinkable that in this day and age women in Ohio make only 77 cents for every dollar made by a man,” said Senator Turner. “Without question, equal work deserves equal pay. At a time when women are increasingly responsible for the economic security of their families, ensuring that they earn a wage commensurate with their work—and on par with a man’s—is absolutely critical.”

The FAIR Act would strengthen Ohio’s wage discrimination laws by requiring employers to substantiate pay differences—for causes other than seniority, merit, or quantity or quality of employee production—with legitimate, job-related or skill-based reasons. It would also prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss salaries with colleagues or raise concerns about wage inequality, and prevent wage discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

Current law provides that an employer may not base differences in pay on race, color, religion,
sex, age, national origin, or ancestry, but has proven far from effective in closing the wage gap between men and women in Ohio.

“While the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 improved some laws that govern pay discrimination, more must be done to close the wage gap and increase the economic security of women,” said Senator Tavares. “Fair pay would help close the wage gap and increase women’s economic security.”

According to the National Women’s Law Center, in 2010, women working full time, year round typically had lower earnings than men ( $35,284 compared to $45,859) and were more likely to live in poverty (15.2 percent of Ohio women compared to 11.6 percent of men).

This gap remains even when accounting for personal choices, industry, and educational attainment. At a time when women are becoming increasingly important to the economic security of their families, the continued lack of income fairness places hundreds of thousands of Ohioans at risk.

“I stand firmly with Senators Turner and Tavares in the fight for equal pay for women,” said Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney. “This is not a man versus woman issue. This is a right versus wrong issue. It is time that we close the gap and give women the pay that they rightfully deserve.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Senator Gentile appears on Ohio in Focus

State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) talks about jobs and economic development on Ohio in Focus.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Widener, Kearney Resolution on Land Grant Status for Central State Passes Senate

COLUMBUS—Today the Ohio Senate unanimously approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 30, co-sponsored by Senate Chris Widener (R- Springfield) and Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney (D- Cincinnati) that would designate Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio as Ohio’s second land grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1890.

Following unanimous approval by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, Senate Concurrent Resolution 30 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 33-0. The resolution will now go to the Ohio House of Representatives for consideration. During committee, Presidents John Garland from Central State and Gordon Gee from Ohio State testified in favor of the resolution. Chancellor Jim Petro also offered his full support to Central State’s bid for land grant status.

“It’s been more than 120 years since the Ohio Senate last debated this issue, and today’s vote shows that there is still strong support for Central State to become Ohio’s second land grant school,” said Widener. “We are committed to supporting and providing students of Central State with the educational opportunities they need to play an active role in Ohio’s workforce.”

“Recognizing Central State University as the second land grant institution of higher learning in the state of Ohio today is righting a wrong that was done many years ago,” said Kearney. ‘With this grant, it is my hope that Central State will enter into a collaborative relationship with Ohio State and continue to provide a wonderful educational experience to its students.”

In related news, House Speaker William G. Batchelder introduced House Concurrent Resolution 45, which is a companion measure to SCR 30.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Senator Kearney Comments on Passage of Pension Legislation

Columbus – Senate Democratic Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) released the following statement today after the Ohio Senate passed pension legislation he jointly sponsored with Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond):

“I am pleased the Senate has taken this long overdue action to protect the retirement benefits of nearly two million Ohioans. I want to thank President Niehaus, the executive boards of the four pension systems and various stakeholder groups for working hard to reach consensus on how to strengthen our state pension funds and guarantee their solvency.”

“Like all long-term investments, our pension system must make periodic adjustments that reflect the ever-changing economy and the growing number of retirees. While the reforms will not please everyone, they are necessary to keep our pension system strong.

“This bipartisan legislation will preserve the retirement futures of Ohioans who protect our homes and neighborhoods, educate our children and staff our government agencies.”

Senator Cafaro Supports Public Safety at Lake Erie Correctional Institution

Columbus – State Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) voted today in favor of House Bill 487, also known as the Mid-Biennium Review. Making a variety of changes across Ohio’s state agencies, language in HB 487 particularly affected the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut, Ohio.

The Conneaut prison has been privately owned and operated since January 1, 2012. While other correctional institutions in Ohio are also privately run, Lake Erie Correctional is the only facility that is privately owned. This discrepancy changes the way in which first responders have authority over the facility and inmates.

“I am voting yes today on HB 487 in order to protect the safety of the Conneaut community and Ashtabula County. While this legislation contains a variety of policy implementations, the effect that it has on my district is one of the most important to me and the reason that I am in support,” Cafaro said.

Senator Cafaro has been working with stakeholders since October 2011 to find a solution as to which safety forces have authority at Lake Erie Correctional. HB 487 provides the State Highway Patrol with the necessary authority to respond to security issues at the facility, while also requiring consultation with the Fraternal Order of Police and Buckeye Sheriff’s Association in submitting a report on this process.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Senator Kearney's Craniofacial Acceptance Month Legislation Passes Ohio Senate

Columbus – Today, State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) announces the passage of Senate Bill 135 which will designate the month of September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month in the state of Ohio. Craniofacial disorders are conditions that affect the physical structure and appearance of the skull and face of a person. Each year, more than 100,000 children in the United States are born with a craniofacial condition. The legislation passed the Ohio Senate unanimously.

“The inspiration for this legislation was Hope Chansky, a two-year old who suffers from a craniofacial disorder,” stated Senator Kearney. “She like many other children endure many hardships associated with this disorder and this legislation provides an opportunity to educate the public about prevention measures that can be taken.”

The most common craniofacial condition is cleft lip/palate. One in six hundred children are born with this birth defect. There are many problems associated with cleft lip/palate that cannot be seen. While each case is different and ranges in severity—trouble feeding, chronic ear infections, hearing problems, orthodontic problems and speech issues along with developmental and psychosocial problems may occur. Genetic and environmental factors are considered to be among the causes for the craniofacial conditions.


(Columbus)- State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) won support for an amendment to a Senate Energy Bill that would promote the use of Ohio workers, specifically Ohio skilled construction trades and qualified contractors.

“Ohio has a skilled and well-trained workforce ready to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry,” Gentile stated. “Our leaders have an obligation to support Ohio’s workforce. This amendment will give us a clear understanding of how many Ohioans and Ohio based firms are being employed by the oil and gas industry.”

Senate Bill 315, the Energy portion of the mid-term budget review, had seven hearings including revisions & testimony in the Senate Energy & Public Utilities Committee. The bill passed the Ohio Senate with a vote of 27-6 this afternoon. The mid-term budget review bill now moves to the Ohio House to undergo the committee process.

State Senator Lou Gentile has been representing Ohio’s 30th Senate district since 2011. He is working to improve the quality of life in Southeastern Ohio and to restore Ohio’s economy.

Senator Turner Rips Drug Testing Provision in HB 487

(Columbus) –State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) reacted today to a move by Senate Republicans to amend House Bill 487, the budget corrections bill, to include a measure that would force participants in the Ohio Works First (OWF) program to submit to drug testing.

“Given all of the challenges facing the citizens of Ohio, vilifying those who are poor is unacceptable,” said Senator Turner. “There is no question that those receiving public assistance should not be using these funds for anything illegal, but to infer that everyone on OWF is a criminal suspect is wrong. The true victims of this measure will not be irresponsible adults, but the families and children who depend upon these temporary benefits to get by.”

The amendment is modeled on legislation introduced last year by Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), and is similar to a law introduced in Florida that is currently facing a court challenge. To escape questions of constitutionality, the latest iteration of this provision will include an assessment that public assistance recipients must undergo to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that they use illicit drugs.

“This survey will open up yet another opportunity for profiling to occur based on race and class,” Turner commented. “Who will get to decide what is considered reasonable cause?”

The Florida legislation, marketed as a tool to save the state money, actually increased costs. The law requires the state to reimburse the cost of drug tests for those that pass them, a practice that costs more than savings gained from denied benefits. According to Florida state figures, 97.4 percent of applicants passed their drug tests. The language added to HB 487 will contain the same provision.

“Not only is this a frivolous distraction from the Senate’s examination of the policy-laden budget corrections bill, it unfairly targets families who have fallen on hard times. Moreover, this will result in a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money,” stated Turner. “Since when did targeting poor people become good public policy?”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Senator Schiavoni's Legislative Update on Ohio in Focus

Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) appears on Ohio in Focus to give an update on legislation in the Ohio Senate including regulations on oil and gas drilling.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Senator Turner joins students in discussion of Ohio African Americans in the Civil War

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) with students from Washington Courthouse High School
From The Columbus Dispatch:
For eight months, the students in Washington Court House High School’s research history class worked to get recognition for hundreds of Ohio African-American veterans of the Civil War.
Yesterday, clad in dresses and ties, they sat in an ornately decorated conference room in the Ohio Statehouse and heard firsthand how their efforts were paying off. Read more here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Senator Turner Issues Statement on House Vote on SB 295

COLUMBUS—State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) issued the following statement today regarding the approval by the House or Representatives of Senate Bill 295, legislation that will repeal HB 194: 

“It is a truly sad day for the people of Ohio.  Not only have their lawmakers plainly circumvented their will and rendered the pending referendum on HB 194 moot, they have passed legislation that clearly conflicts with provisions of the Ohio Constitution.

“HB 194 was an historic step backwards in the struggle for voting rights because it made it harder for voters’ voices to be heard.  Senate Bill 295 is an equally negligent blunder in that it disregards the voters altogether—300,000 of which signed petitions to vote upon HB 194 this November.  Moreover, SB 295 still bans early voting the three days immediately preceding an election, perennially the busiest time period of early voting.

“Instead of working to address the hardships faced by the long-term unemployed, putting more teachers in the classroom, or investing in the infrastructure of tomorrow, majority Republicans have made it their mission to help Jim Crow move north, keep women in the kitchen, and restrict workers’ rights.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Senator Schiavoni’s School Transparency Amendment Accepted for Education MBR

Columbus – State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) successfully amended the Education MBR bill (SB 316) in committee today. The amendment will require all public and charter schools to provide parents with the school’s most updated report card during the initial application process.

This amendment stemmed from legislation Senator Schiavoni previously sponsored, Senate Bill 175, which prohibited students from transferring from a quality public school to a lower rated charter school. He believes that this amendment will help achieve the overall goal of that bill.

“This notification requirement will make sure parents understand the quality of the school they are selecting for their child,” said Senator Schiavoni. “No matter how schools market themselves, it will be clear to parents how the school is actually performing after receiving the report card. This amendment will help add transparency to that decision making process.”

A second amendment offered by Senator Schiavoni in committee would have upheld teacher’s collective bargaining rights when it came to their evaluations, a right removed in SB 316. That amendment was tabled on a party line vote.

Senator Kearney Introduces Pension Legislation with Senate President Niehaus

Senator Kearney talks with reporters following press conference.
CINCINNATI– Senate Democratic Leader Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) and Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) announced the introduction of legislation today to strengthen Ohio’s public pension system. The legislation (SB 340, SB 341, SB 342 and SB 343) is based on recommendations from the boards overseeing the pension plans for STRS, PERS, SERS and Police and Fire. Senator Kearney gave the following remarks at a press conference announcing the legislation:

“I want to thank President Niehaus for tackling this important issue on a bipartisan basis. It’s all too rare when the leaders of opposing parties in the General Assembly jointly sponsor legislation. The fact that it’s happening now reflects our strong desire to pass pension reform legislation this year.

“Quite frankly, it’s long overdue. Our state pension plans are losing two million dollars a day in savings while they wait for the General Assembly to finally act.

“My mother is a retired school teacher. Like many other retired Ohioans, she lives on a fixed income and depends on her retirement benefits to pay for groceries, utility bills and other necessities of life. These Ohioans are counting on us to make the necessary reforms to preserve their benefits.

“Drafting this legislation has been a collaborative effort. I’ve had numerous conversations and meetings with interested parties from PERS, STRS, SERS and the Police and Fire pension fund. I’ve also spoken with the members of my caucus. And based on those meetings and conversations I am comfortable with putting my name on this legislation as it now stands.

“Some of the changes might not be popular with everyone. But, we are doing what needs to be done to protect retirement benefits for nearly two million retirees and future retirees.

“It’s important to point out that Ohio has one of the better managed pension systems in the nation. Historically, Ohio’s pension plans have taken a prudent, conservative approach to investments to ensure stable and secure retirements for our public employees.

“In fact, the Pew Center for the States has called Ohio a “Solid Performer”, which is the organization’s highest rating.

“All long-term investments require periodic adjustments. The stock market goes up and down and the number of retirees changes. Our pension plans must adjust to reflect these changes.

“The legislation we are introducing here today will strengthen our pension system and maintain its status as one of the best in the nation. And we’ll accomplish that goal without any additional tax dollars.

“I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to work with President Niehaus and me to pass this legislation. The time to act is now.”

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Senator Cafaro's Bill Passes Senate

Senator Cafaro speaks in support of  SB 301
Columbus – State Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard) and Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) spoke on the Ohio Senate Floor today in support of Senate Bill 301, a bill that would help to protect Ohioans from controlled substance abuse. The legislation was unanimously reported from the Senate Standing Committee on Health, Human Services, and Aging on May 2nd and has received support from a variety of medical professional groups. SB 301 makes some improvements to pill mill legislation passed last year by the General Assembly.

“I am proud to be a sponsor of this bipartisan legislation that will make the prescription process more efficient and safe for doctors, patients, and pharmacists,” said Senator Cafaro. “This is an important bill for the entire state, particularly in my district where controlled substance abuse is an ongoing issue.”

The bill passed the Senate today by a vote of 33-0 and will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives, where it will await assignment to a House Committee for further hearings.

Senator Tavares Honors State Champs From Columbus Africentric

Columbus – State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) recognized the Lady Nubians of Columbus Africentric Early College during Senate session today for earning the 2012 Division III State Girls Basketball Championship Title. Africentric beat Anna High School, who had previously been undefeated for 50 games, on Saturday, March 17, 2012 in Columbus. The game was a hard fought one by both sides, with a final score of 70-66 in overtime.

“The Lady Nubians of Africentric should be commended on their accomplishments over the past 5 years with respect to their consistent and remarkable athletic achievements. They have set high standards for themselves as well as those young women who will follow in their footsteps,” said Tavares.

To date, the team has made 4 appearances in the state championship finals since 2007. This year will mark the third time the Lady Nubians have brought home the state title, adding to those won in 2007 and 2009. Their appearance in the state finals in 2008 earned them 2nd place overall.

The 2012 season was especially impressive as Africentric Early College was unranked in the final state poll before the championship game and was set to face the No. 1 ranked team. They ended their 2012 season with a 23-4 record.

VIDEO: Senator Kearney's Walk for Children's Health

Senate Minority Leader Eric H. Kearney walked 107 miles from Cincinnati to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to raise awareness for fetal stroke and childhood hunger.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Senator Brown Appears on Ohio in Focus

State Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) talks about how she became involved in public service and why she has introduced legislation to stop the death penalty in Ohio.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Senator Gentile Welcomes Community Action Council to Statehouse

State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) met today with representatives from the Leadership Jefferson County Community Action Council.  The Council is the largest private non-profit social service agency in Jefferson County.

Senator Kearney's Resolution Honoring Cincinnati Black Brigade Passes Senate

Senator Kearney urges the Senate to pass SCR 23.
Columbus – Today, State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati) announces the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 23 commending the members of the Cincinnati Black Brigade for their defense of Cincinnati in 1862.

“Former Representative Sylvester D. Patton Jr., initiated this effort in 2003 to recognize the Cincinnati Black Brigade. Through the dedicated work of Dr. Charles O. Dillard, it would be only fitting to finally recognize the members of the Black Brigade for their significant contributions to defending their city, their state and their country,” said Senator Kearney.

In September of 1862 when Confederate forces were threatening Cincinnati, the commander of Union forces Major General Lew Wallace ordered all men in Cincinnati, including African Americans, to build defenses for protection.

Initially, African American men were treated poorly by the city government and union troops. However this changed when William Dickson, a respected citizen of Cincinnati, was given command of the African American men and organized them into the Cincinnati Black Brigade.

The members of the Black Brigade were recognized by the engineers in charge of building the defenses as the hardest working and most efficient group involved in the effort. Following the successful defeat of the Confederate forces, many of the members of the Black Brigade went on to serve in one of the first Union military units for African Americans.

Although other citizens who participated in the defense of Cincinnati were recognized at the time by the General Assembly, the members of the Black Brigade received no such recognition.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to my colleagues in the Senate for honoring this group of brave men who put their lives on the line to protect the freedom of thousands,” said Senator Kearney.

The Senate also passed the legislation with an amendment proposed by Senator Frank LaRose (R- Summit County), a decorated Army veteran, recognizing the members as veterans of the American Civil War.

Senator Turner Testifies in Support of Cleveland School Plan

Senator Nina Turner and Senator Peggy Lehner.
Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) testifed today before the Senate Education Committee in support Senate Bill 335.  The legislation enacts reforms for the Cleveland School District based on an agreement between Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland Teacher's Union.  Senator Turner and Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) are co-sponsors of SB 335.

Here's an excerpt from her testimony:

"The result of this unprecedented compromise is a chance to dramatically shift the educational paradigm in Cleveland, and to do so in a way that has the buy-in of all stakeholders. The plan aims to create a portfolio of schools that removes the distinction between district and charter in favor of a system whose only rubric is academic achievement. It empowers teachers and administrators at the building level and allows them to manage their schools in ways that are best for their students while protecting our community from unscrupulous charter school operators and promoting the best models city-wide. Most importantly, the mayor’s plan demands success from Cleveland’s schools and sets the stage for the educational achievement of their students.

"The compromise forged over the past few weeks was reached because all parties committed to working toward a singular goal: improving students’ chances for educational success in Cleveland. And because of the intimate stakeholder engagement, SB 335 will help affect change in a way with which all can agree. I trust that we will continue to keep these accomplishments in mind to ensure that the city’s students get the education they need while the concerns of teachers and administrators are carefully considered.

"The fact is that Cleveland’s children deserve a better education than they are getting and they will not receive it unless we act—and act with the fierce urgency of now."

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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