Posts Tagged 'State Rep. Teresa Fedor'

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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Ohio House Democrats Praise U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Final 3 Days of Early Voting

COLUMBUS – The U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn lower court rulings reinstating the final 3 days of early voting.  Last week, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court order to reinstate the 3 busiest days of early voting for all Ohioans. The Sixth Circuit held that the State did not have a good reason for taking away voting opportunities from non-military or overseas voters and that doing so was unconstitutional.  The court said the local boards of elections may allow all voters to vote during Saturday, November 3, 2012; Sunday, November 4, 2012; and Monday, November 5, 2012.  Secretary Husted tried to appeal the Sixth Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which today refused to take up the appeal. 

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of his appeal, the Secretary of State issued a directive ordering Boards to have early voting Saturday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Rep. Clyde released the following statement:

“I am very pleased that Ohio voters will again be able to vote on the final 3 days before the election as they were able to in 2008.  Despite Secretary Husted’s repeated attempts to block voting on these three important days, the United States Supreme Court sided with Ohio voters today.  With this important decision, we finally have certainty about what the early voting hours are.  We must now shift our focus to educating voters about the early voting schedule and what their rights are at the polls.”

Rep. Stinziano released the following statement:

“I applaud The Supreme Court’s decision rejecting Secretary of State Husted’s appeal involving the restriction of early in-person voting hours during the final three days before Election Day.

“This ruling is a win for all of the voters of Ohio and I’m pleased that the Court affirmed the ruling to restore the franchise of voting rights during the last few days of early voting. Ohioans will continue to have every opportunity to cast their ballot when it is convenient for them, including the last few days before Election Day, when unplanned conflicts can arise and where past elections have shown a demand.

“As the former Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, I have seen and experienced firsthand the importance of an efficient early voting period including these last few days.  In 2008, roughly 93,000 voters appeared at their early vote center during the last three days of early voting prior to Election Day.  Today’s ruling provides for an even smoother Election Day and affirms the votes of the many boards of elections who felt weekend hours were needed for proper election administration. All Ohioans should truly be pleased.”

Rep. Reece issued the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that we had to depend on the federal court to do what the State refused to do.  This is a major win for the voters of Ohio. The court decision could impact almost 93,000 Ohioans who took advantage of voting during those days in 2008. I am glad the matter has finally been put to rest in favor of Ohio voters and confusion over the issue has ended with the last 3 days reinstated.”

State Rep. Sandra Williams released the following statement:

“I applaud the US Supreme Court’s decision rejecting Husted’s appeal to eliminate the last three days of early in-person voting.  Upholding the decision of the lower courts only reaffirms that Husted’s previous directive was unconstitutional. 

“I am pleased that all Ohioans will have full access to the polls.  The last three days allows for greater flexibility and increased opportunities for citizens to cast their ballots.  While this is a big win for the people of Ohio, I want to encourage everyone to continue taking advantage of the in-person early voting hours.  Don’t wait for the last three days if you don’t have to.”

Rep. Teresa Fedor issued the following statement:

“This decision should reassure Ohio’s voters that the courts are not interested in helping state Republicans with their voter suppression agenda.  The highest court in the land has upheld early voting on the final 3 days before the election which will help us have a smooth election in which every voter’s voice is heard.  With this decision, veteran voters, elderly voters, student voters, minority voters, all voters will be welcomed back to the polls on the final 3 days before the election.”

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Rep. Teresa Fedor Applauds Passage of Human Trafficking Victim Protection Bill

State Rep. Teresa Fedor released the following statement on the passage of Am. Sub. House Bill 262 by a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.

“I am overwhelmed that this critical legislation has received such broad support.  We have a child sexual abuse crime wave in Ohio.  The passage of HB 262 today is a huge victory for victims of human trafficking.  This is a problem that deserves immediate attention by my colleagues in the Senate.  The time to take action is now, we must protect the victims of these heinous acts of human slavery and stop the individuals that are the benefactors of this underground criminal network.

“Am. Sub. H.B. 262 or the Safe Harbor Act, aims to help juvenile victims of human trafficking. This victim-centered legislation follows a three-prong approach of providing protection, prosecution, and prevention.  We’re protecting our minors by providing them with services instead of an arrest warrant.  We’re aiding in prosecution by creating greater penalties for human trafficking, and providing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.  We’re preventing continued trafficking by increasing penalties against buyers of commercial sex.

“House Bill 262 not only creates a safe haven for the victims of human trafficking, but also goes after the offenders that profit and engage in this criminal activity.  We must ensure that strict laws are in place to deter and punish this type of crime. This bill would not have been possible without the support of key state decision makers and Governor Kasich.”

This important legislation will now move to the Senate for passage.

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State Rep. Teresa Fedor Urges Legislative Action to Prevent Human Trafficking

State Rep. Teresa Fedor is pleased to announce that House Bill 262 was unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary and Ethics committee and will be on the house floor for a vote soon.

“We’ve continued our efforts to apply a victim-centered approach.  Human trafficking is an awful crime that has become a disturbing reality in communities across our state.  This is a problem that deserves our immediate attention.  The time to take action is now, we must protect the victims of these heinous acts of human slavery and stop the individuals that are the benefactors of this underground criminal network,” said Rep. Fedor.

“House Bill 262 not only creates a safe haven for the victims of human trafficking, but also goes after the offenders that profit and engage in this criminal activity.  We must ensure that strict laws are in place to deter and punish this type of crime.”

The legislation puts in place healthcare services for victims of human trafficking as well as keeps them from being prosecuted for prostitution.

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Rep. Fedor Sponsors 3rd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day

State Representative Teresa Fedor and the National Association of Social Workers hosted the Third Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Columbus Statehouse.  Special guests included Attorney General Mike DeWine, Amy Allen of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney James Moroney, Lucas County Judge Connie Zemmelman, Franklin County Judge Paul Herbert, Montgomery County Judge Gregory Singer, and Theresa Flores, survivor and Director of Awareness and Training for Gracehaven. 

Representative Fedor has been organizing Human Trafficking Awareness Days to bring light to this important issue.  Cases of human trafficking have been reported in every county in Ohio – from forced labor at massage parlors, to parents selling their children for drugs, to a highly-organized gang operation that recruited and moved underage girls from one location to another selling them for sex.  Human trafficking is a very real problem that is affecting more than 1,000 Ohio children every year.  More than 3,000 Ohio children are considered to be high risk for trafficking.

Representative Fedor has also introduced new legislation, H.B. 262 or the Safe Harbor Act, which aims help minor victims of human trafficking.  “When a minor is being sexually exploited, that minor is often arrested on prostitution charges and is sent to jail.  Quite simply, this does not solve the problem.  If the arrested minor is instead provided with needed services to recover, that minor will be able to break the cycle of abuse and become a contributing member of society.  Without some form of intervention, 77 percent of sexually exploited youth simply continue to be prostitutes in adulthood,” said Rep. Fedor.

Gov. Kasich’s “Toll road for lease” plan hits bump in the road

The Kasich administration has been moving full speed ahead in privatizing state assets and the most recent target is the Ohio Turnpike, the 241 mile toll road that runs the entire length of the northern end of the state.  The Governor’s attempt at selling the state to private corporations has received no shortage of criticism across the state from lawmakers, citizens and editorial boards.  

Last week, Gov. Kasich’s plan hit a new speed bump.  The Governor had planned to use federal funding in part of his plan to privatize the Turnpike.  However, Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood challenging Kasich’s authority to utilize federal resources to advance his privatization agenda.  After review Secretary LaHood determined that federal resources may not be used for such purposes.

State Representatives along the Turnpike applauded Secretary LaHood’s decision and the work of Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation.  Ohio House Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi of Toledo said, “The Ohio Turnpike belongs to the people of the State of Ohio, and that should not change simply because Gov. Kasich wants a one-time infusion of cash for use by his administration.   Based on what has happened in Indiana, motorists can expect a significant increase in tolls, maintenance of the turnpike will deteriorate, and toll workers can expect pink-slips.  Privatization of the Ohio Turnpike is a bad idea.”

State Rep. Teresa Fedor also from Toledo had this to say about the Governor’s plan, “Governor Kasich’s scheme to privatize the Turnpike has cost Ohio millions in revoked funds.  Federal Transportation officials said the Kasich administration misused the funds in a reckless effort to privatize the Ohio Turnpike.  If Gov. Kasich succeeds tolls will rise, and traveling commuters, truckers and others who use the Turnpike will essentially pay an un-voted tax increase.  Those who stand to benefit the most are the investment bankers who could make a killing off this scheme.  Gov. Kasich needs to quit putting Wall Street bankers ahead of Ohio voters.”

Then over the weekend the Toledo Blade published another editorial criticizing Gov. Kasich’s privatization of the state.  Excerpts of the editorial follow:

“The rush to cash in on leasing the Ohio Turnpike hit a bump in the road last week. It won’t stop Gov. John Kasich’s administration, but it does keep the issue in the public eye and make it less likely that Ohioans will wake up one morning to find that they no longer control the toll road they paid for.

“Mr. Kasich has made no secret of his desire to privatize the turnpike, along with liquor profits, prisons, and other state assets…

“…In the long run, leasing money-making enterprises will cost the state billions of dollars in revenue that will need to be replaced. In the case of the turnpike, many Ohioans also are concerned that tolls will rise, as many as 1,000 jobs will be lost, and turnpike maintenance will suffer. If that happens, more traffic — especially big trucks — will use parallel secondary roads, increasing maintenance costs and making those roads less safe.

“Last week, several Democratic members of Ohio’s congressional delegation who oppose the turnpike lease plan questioned the use of federal highway funds to explore lease opportunities…

The [Kasich] administration’s initial request said vaguely that a federal grant would be used to study how leasing assets works in other states, without mentioning the Ohio Turnpike at all. It deserved to be turned down as a ham-handed attempt to game the system.

“If the governor continues to believe leasing the turnpike is a good idea, let him come up with a transparent source of funding to study the issue — although preferably not by putting his hands in the pockets of local governments again. Commission a full, nonpartisan examination at least as comprehensive as a preliminary study released last March by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which concluded that leasing the turnpike had little benefit and a lot of “likely negative outcomes.”

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Read the full editorial here.


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