Archive for December, 2012

House Dems Show Support for Workers’ Rights

Ohio House Democrats stood in solidarity with their Michigan colleagues and friends by wearing red carnations to House session today. Ohio workers faced similar unsafe and unfair attacks on their right to collectively bargain, in Senate Bill 5, which was put to a voter referendum and passed with nearly 62 percent of the vote. State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Matt Szollosi (D- Toledo) released the following statement in support of Michigan workers’ right to collectively bargain.

“Today and everyday we support our brothers and sisters in Michigan and across the nation whose rights are under attack. The ability to collectively bargain for safe working conditions and a decent wage is what has allowed America to build a strong middle class. Right to work is wrong, and we will continue to fight against these anti-working family policies,” said Rep. Fedor.

“We proudly stand with workers, union and non-union, who are under attack today in Michigan. In their zeal to exact political vengeance against labor unions, Michigan’s Republican legislators have lost sight of right and wrong. The right to work legislation will drive down wages for working families, and open the floodgates for out of state workers. It is a shame,” Rep. Szollosi added.

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House Dems Stand in Solidarity with Michigan Workers

Ohio House DSolidarity with Michigan photo 121112  01emocrats stood in solidarity with their Michigan colleagues and friends by wearing red carnations to House session today. Ohio workers faced similar unsafe and unfair attacks on their right to collectively bargain, in Senate Bill 5, which was put to a voter referendum and passed with nearly 62 percent of the vote. State Rep. Connie Pillich (D- Montgomery) released the following statement on behalf of the caucus.

“This is a fight we are all too familiar with in Ohio.  We stand in support of our brothers and sisters in Michigan and across the nation.  Not too long ago men and women fought and died for the right to collectively bargain for safe work conditions and a livable wage, and now that right is under attack again in Ohio and across the nation.  Put simply, so called ‘right to work’ is wrong. Statistics show states with this anti-working family legislation have lower wages and higher poverty rates. We will continue to stand together and fight against these unfair attacks on workers in Ohio, Michigan and across the country.”

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Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus Announces New Leadership

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus recently met to elect new leadership for the 130th General Assembly. Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) has been elected the Chair for the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus.  Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) was elected Vice Chair, Representative-Elect Heather Bishoff (D-Columbus) will serve as the Secretary, Rep. Pillich (D-Cincinnati) the Treasurer, Rep. Fedor (D-Toledo) Policy Chair, Rep. Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) will serve in a newly created position as the Development Chair.

These women will strive in the next General Assembly to build upon the framework laid by Rep. Nancy Garland (D-Columbus), as she will not be returning for another term. Under her leadership, the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus was active, visible, engaged and worked to further the lives of women in Ohio through policy initiatives. 

“I am honored to be elected to serve as the new Women’s Caucus Chair,” said Rep. Antonio.  “I can only hope to follow the exceptional leadership provided by Rep. Nancy Garland.”

This past General Assembly, the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus met regularly to discuss issues concerning women. Their goal: to develop policies that enhance the livelihood of women such as fair pay, health initiatives and the protection of women’s rights. The caucus organized a Women’s Lobby Day on May 15, 2012 bringing women from across Ohio to lobby Representatives regarding bills in the legislature that impact the lives of women and families. The caucus had annual retreats to advance their agenda and strategize as they worked to promote policies for the welfare of women. 

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus also uses social media to promote greater public awareness of their work and of bills of interest to the caucus. 

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Democrats Demand Compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964

House and Senate Democrats joined together to demand that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stop rejecting provisional and absentee ballots because of minor paperwork mistakes.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that no vote be thrown out because of a simple paperwork mistake made by a poll worker, a voter, or any other person,” stated Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland).  “Yet many provisional and absentee ballots are being disqualified for that very reason.  Secretary Husted must stop creating obstacles, start following the law, and count these votes.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 reads, “No person acting under color of law shall . . . deny the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration, or other act requisite to voting, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under State law to vote in such election.”  42 USC 1971(a)(2)(B).

“Let’s not turn the clock back and start ignoring provisions of the Civil Rights Act,” stated Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati).  “We are throwing out provisional ballots left and right because of paperwork errors made by poll workers directing voters to the wrong precinct, and this must stop.”

House Democrats have closely scrutinized the ballot-counting process in two closely contested house races that could determine whether the Republicans have gerrymandered themselves into a supermajority despite losing the statewide popular vote.  Many violations of federal law have been uncovered, including the rejecting of many provisional and absentee ballots because of simple paperwork mistakes.

“Voters’ ballots have been thrown out in Tuscarawas County because poll workers made mistakes in which envelope to use, on paperwork they were required to complete, and in failing to have voters complete required fields,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent).  “Secretary Husted should immediately issue a directive requiring counties to comply with federal law.”

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