Posts Tagged 'Rep. Driehaus'

Republican Budget Cuts Responsible for More than 700 Teacher Layoffs this Week Alone

State Representatives Denise Driehaus and Mike Foley urged the Republican legislature and Gov. Kasich to take a serious look at the Kids and Communities First Fund announced by House Democrats this week.  The fund would help offset historically deep budget cuts after the layoff of more than 700 teachers that was disclosed over the course of two days.

Cleveland City Schools announced that 508 teaching positions would be lost at the end of this year while another 200 teachers take retirement packages.  The district will also shorten the school day and cut music and arts programs.  These layoffs come even as the district will place a $65 million levy on the ballot in the fall to close the budget hole created by the $59 million the district will lose due to state budget cuts. Additionally, the Cleveland Teachers Union agreed to a 5.6 – 6 percent pay cut for next year.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/17/12]

“These kinds of cuts will only continue statewide if we do not take action to curb Gov. Kasich’s massive budget cuts.  This week’s news is incredibly disheartening,” said Rep. Foley. “While unemployment rates slowly go down more than 700 teachers were laid off this week in two of the state’s largest districts.”

Cincinnati City Schools, the highest ranked urban district in the state, announced 237 teacher layoffs this week due to $43 million dollars in budget cuts.  The district says the layoffs are due to funding cuts. Cincinnati City Schools faces a projected deficit of more than $53 million ($53,868,502) in fiscal year 2013 and a frightening $115 million ($115,099,388) in fiscal year 2014.  Julie Sellers, President of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers was quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer as saying, “This year already most of our grievances were about overloaded classrooms…” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/18/12]

“These layoffs will not only hurt our children’s education and future, they will hurt the families of those losing jobs, predominantly women,” said Rep. Driehaus. “Gov. Kasich’s policies are bad for economic development and bad for women.  Our communities deserve better, but unfortunately we’re seeing that women and families are being disproportionally affected. I urge my Republican colleagues and Gov. Kasich to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for our children and their teachers by passing the Kids and Communities First Fund.”

This week, House Democrats announced the Kids and Communities First Fund will be offered as an amendment to Gov. Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review (HB 487).  This fund will help keep teachers in the classroom and cops and firefighters on the streets in communities all across Ohio. Additionally, this fund will help curb the growing need for local tax levies due to state budget cuts and provide relief for local property taxpayers. The fund will make up to $400 million available this year from surplus revenue (currently $265 million), a portion of the Budget Stabilization Fund ($120 million), and $15 million from Gov. Kasich’s proposed severance tax increase.  The fund would be replenished after fiscal year 2013 by increased severance tax revenue.



Women’s Caucus Calls for Focus on Policies to Support Women & Families

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus today held a press conference to discuss several pieces of legislation focused on advancing rights and opportunities in all aspects of women’s lives.

“Women are a majority of the population and can make a difference when we unite behind legislation that will improve lives of women and families,” said State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Women’s History Month is a great time to refocus our attention on common-sense policies designed to support, benefit and encourage the advancement of women here in Ohio.”

Several bills recently introduced by members of the Women’s Caucus help ensure all women have access to quality healthcare, including HB 419, the CARE Act; HB 281, the Prevention First Act; and HB 412, to establish health insurance exchanges in Ohio. All three bills were introduced by State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood).

“We must continue to support Ohio women’s right to access basic healthcare and accurate information regarding their healthcare decisions,” Rep. Antonio said. “These rights should not be legislated away nor used as a political football. Women’s lives hang in the balance.”

Members of Women’s Caucus have also introduced legislation to protect Ohio women and families from violations of their right to safety and security. HB 262, sponsored by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), aims to stop human sex trafficking in Ohio and to protect young women and girls from being forced into sexual slavery.

“Human trafficking victims are more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and are more likely to suffer from mental illness,” Rep. Fedor said. “And the average trafficking victim wants to leave prostitution but can’t.”

A woman’s right to security also extends to security in her own home. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is cosponsoring HB 103, a bill to protect victims of domestic violence by keeping their home addresses confidential. Additionally, State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) is cosponsoring HB 105, legislation to protect and support domestic violence victims by guaranteeing their rights to safety at home and at work.

“Survivors of domestic violence deserve to live safe from their abusers. I truly hope Ohio can join 37 other states by enacting this important Address Confidentiality Program legislation,” said Rep. Clyde.

“Victims’ advocates have said that stability in housing and employment are the largest hurdles in keeping their lives together, staying safe and protecting their children,” said Rep. Driehaus. “We need to empower victims so they know it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for time off, it’s okay to ask for new locks, and it’s okay to leave when their safety or their children’s safety are at risk.”

In addition to discussing the many pieces of women-focused legislation, the members of the Women’s Caucus reinforced their commitment to creating good-paying, long-term jobs for Ohio’s women through job creation measures such as the Local Government Jobs Fund and the Small Business Working Capital Loan Program.

House Dems Fight to Support and Protect Middle Class Ohioans’ Jobs

State Reps. Denise Driehaus (D- Cincinnati), Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery), Roland Winburn (D- Harrison Township) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) held a press conference today building upon House Democrats’ Compact with the Middle Class and recently introduced legislative priorities for 2012 focused on jobs, communities, rights and opportunities for all Ohioans.  The bills discussed today include Buy Ohio, Hire Ohio and the Keep Jobs in Ohio Act that will work to support and protect Ohio jobs. 

“Rep. Pillich and I recently introduced our Hire Ohio legislation that would limit outsourcing for state funded projects,” said Rep. Driehaus. “By doing so we will encourage projects to be located in Ohio, utilizing Ohio workers, and create new jobs that will work to rebuild communities and strengthen working and middle class families.”

House Bill 342 will define the requirements that companies must meet in order to be considered for any contracts within the state which would privatize state property, facilities, services or functions.  Requirements will include (1) The entity with which the agreement is to be made is located and has its principle place of business in the State of Ohio, (2) The agreement does not result in the transfer of jobs or other employment opportunities to a location outside of Ohio, and (3) Any privatization agreement the state or a state agency enters into that does not meet the requirements of this section is void.

“This legislation will work to ensure private companies do not take state tax dollars and resources and then fire Ohio citizens in order to outsource good jobs to companies outside our state and national borders.  These are jobs which Ohioans are able and willing to perform, and should be given the chance to do just that,” said Rep. Pillich.

House Bill 403, or the Keep Jobs in Ohio Act, would require all labor and services performed under or effected by any contract paid for with state funds be performed in the United States.  This legislation will ensure state tax dollars are used to create state jobs and to stabilize the state tax base by prohibiting Ohio from contracting with or providing economic development assistance to companies that ship service work offshore.

“The bill will strengthen our position in America’s 21st century economy while providing well-paying, stable employment for Ohio’s middle class, and it will ensure hard working Ohioans aren’t seeing their tax dollars used to ship their own jobs overseas,” said Rep. Yuko.  “In order to keep our recovery moving forward, we need effective policies that ensure Ohio’s place at the top of the manufacturing sector.  For this reason, Rep. Hagan, in conjunction with myself and other House Democrats, has introduced House Bill 403, the Keep Jobs in Ohio Act.”

“Our tax dollars should be putting Ohioans back to work, and as legislators we must work to ensure that we are investing right back into our local economies and not handing state funds over to out-of-state or overseas companies,” said Rep. Winburn.

Rep. Winburn will soon be introducing the “Buy Ohio” Job Creation or Retention Preference bill.  This legislation will strengthen current “Buy Ohio” provisions which give preference to Ohio businesses selling products or services that will create or retain Ohio Jobs.  The bill specifies that when the lowest responsive and responsible bid is an out-of-state bidder, an Ohio bid that demonstrates that the contract will create or retain Ohio jobs shall be selected if the Ohio bid is not greater than 10 percent of the lowest out-of-state bid.

Reps. Driehaus & Foley Praise President for Work to Protect Homeowners Hit by the Mortgage Crisis

State Representatives Denise Driehaus (D- Cincinnati) and Mike Foley (D- Cleveland) released the following statement in support of the announcement today that the federal government and 49 states reached a landmark agreement of at least $25 billion with the five largest mortgage servicers—Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Ally Financial. 

“President Obama along with others, such as former Ohio Attorney General and head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Rich Cordray, have stood up for working families and middle class Ohioans against Wall Street giants and today they won. This historic settlement will give relief to homeowners who have been hit hard by the mortgage crisis and it will establish new homeowner protections for the future,” said Rep. Foley.

“While Governor Kasich has been busy rewarding his Wall Street buddies with jobs, lavish benefits, and massive tax cuts; Ohioans have been suffering.  Tuesday, during his State of the State address, the Governor never made mention to what he has accomplished to help struggling homeowners, rather he lectured about the need for bi-partisanship.  Democrats have taken action to protect Ohioans against the abusive practices that created this mess and we will continue to fight for Ohio’s working families.  Rep. Foley and I have introduced House Bill 187 which would work to protect consumers and homeowners, but this bill has been sitting for months yet to receive committee hearings,” said Rep. Driehaus.

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