Ohio GOP ‘Clarifies’ Democrats’ Stance on Abortion Before November Ballot Initiative

The Ohio Republican Party notified voters where Ohio Democrats stand on abortion before a November ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion into the state Constitution.

The Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom proposed “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety,” which would add Section 22 to Article 1 of the state Constitution.

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Ohio Democrats Want to Stop State Officeholders from Holding Paid Positions

Ohio Democrats plan to announce legislation Thursday that would ban any statewide office holder from holding private employment, performing private work or serving in any private position that they get paid to do.

State Reps. Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, and Mary Lightbody, D-Westerville, have called a press conference for 11:45 a.m. on Thursday to announce what they are calling the State Official Integrity Act.

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Akron Council Resists Prejudgement in Walker Shooting; Ohio House Democrats Still Blame Police

Akron, OH’s Democrat-controlled City Council issued a statement this week lamenting the death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker while resisting prejudgement of the police officers’ who shot him.

Some Ohio Democrats, like their party’s state House caucus, continue to react differently, deciding the shooting lacked justification even before an external investigation concludes. 

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Ohio Democrats Continue to Challenge Republican-Dominated Redistricting Commission

The new Ohio Redistricting Commission, facing an Oct. 31 deadline to redraw the state’s congressional district maps, is receiving the same criticism from Democratic lawmakers as it did during the state legislative map-drawing process.

House Democratic leaders have called on Republican members of the commission to release draft maps so the commission can work toward an agreement before the Oct. 31 deadline. The commission, made up of five Republicans and two Democrats, must reach a unanimous decision for maps to last 10 years.

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Ohio Dems Call for Banning Sale of Confederate Memorabilia at All Fairs

Ohio House Democrats unsuccessfully attempted last week to ban the sale, display, possession, or distribution of Confederate flags at county and independent fairs.

During a Thursday night debate on House Bill 665, a bill related to agricultural societies and public safety, Democrats introduced two amendments in an effort to crack down on Confederate memorabilia.

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Ohio Dems Call Attorney General ‘Opportunistic’ and ‘Despicable’ for Telling Abortion Clinics to Close

Ohio Democrats called Attorney General Dave Yost “opportunistic” for urging abortion clinics to close during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health issued an executive order Tuesday that required health providers to cancel all non-essential or elective surgeries that utilize personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Ohio House Dems and Republicans Continue Unusual Bipartisan Push

  Ohio House Democrats and Republicans unveiled a set of bills Monday at a joint press conference, continuing an unusual bipartisan push in the Ohio Legislature after successfully passing a state budget bill. “By working together, we can strengthen Ohio families, give our children a brighter future and create a strong foundation for economic growth,” said House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) during Monday’s press conference. Two of the bills unveiled Monday focus on strengthening the state’s foster care system. House Bill 8, sponsored by a Democrat and a Republican, seeks to improve foster caregiver training so foster parents can be trained more effectively. House Bill 14 would establish the Kinship Navigator Program, a new program that would help caregivers locate support services that are available to them. “The state’s done a lot to help those struggling with addiction. What we’re trying to do is make sure we’re also helping others who have been impacted by the addiction crisis,” House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said. Ohio’s foster care system is “being stretched to the limit” as a result of the opioid epidemic. In Ohio alone, the number of kids in foster care has surpassed 15,000 and increased by 25…

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Ohio Lawmakers Look to Come Together on Tax Reform Amid Divisive Abortion Battle

Ohio House Democrats unveiled a number of proposals Thursday that they claim will “modernize” Ohio’s tax system to “benefit working people, families and small businesses.” They’re calling the set of proposals the “People First Tax Reform,” which will include a “Working Families First” tax incentive. This incentive would reform Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit by removing caps and making the credit refundable, according to a press release from the minority caucus. House Democrats claim this incentive could save families up to $212 million each year, and note that similar ideas were included in the biennial transportation budget. “We saw some pieces of the Working Families tax incentive in the transportation budget, so we know there is a bipartisan appetite for these commonsense reforms,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) said. “We need to work together to get our state on the right track so we can start growing again.” Another proposal calls for fixing the “state’s LLC loophole,” which Democrats describe as a “tax giveaway to Ohio businesses that, when designed, was supposed to create jobs.” Ohio’s job creation has consistently lagged behind the national average in recent years. “Years of tax giveaways and loopholes have held our state…

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Ohio Democratic Catholic Reps Tout Faith in Opposing Heartbeat Bill Before it Clears Committee

The House version of Ohio’s heartbeat bill passed out of committee Tuesday, but not before a final round of impassioned debate. The House Health Committee heard from four final witnesses, some of whom represented religious organizations opposed to the bill. Gaby Garcia-Vera with Catholics for Choice, for instance, claimed during his testimony that the “majority of Catholics” support abortion. “Catholic teaching reveres individual conscience as the final arbiter in moral decision-making. As Catholics, we are called by our faith to follow our consciences when we make moral decisions about our lives. We also deeply respect the right of others to do the same,” he said. “Catholics support each woman’s ability to make personal choices that are right for herself and her family, including whether to become or remain pregnant, according to her own beliefs and based on her own conscience. Rather than respecting women’s consciences, as our Catholic faith compels us to do, SB 23 would allow politicians to decide whether and when a woman can access abortion care.” Elaina Ramsey, executive director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said during her testimony that the heartbeat bill “does not reflect the values of the majority of Ohioans and…

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Dash-Cam Footage Shows Ohio Legislator Sedrick Denson Repeatedly Telling Officers He’s a ‘State Representative’ During OVI Arrest

The Ohio Highway Patrol has released dash-cam footage of Rep. Sedrick Denson’s (D-Bond Hill) arrest. The first-term Democratic lawmaker was charged early Friday morning for driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, and felony drug possession. In the video, Denson repeatedly tells the trooper that he’s a state representative. “Where you heading in a hurry?” the trooper asked Denson towards the beginning of the incident. “Not in a hurry. I’m a state representative here,” Denson replied. In another exchange, after Denson was asked to step out of his vehicle, the officer inquired about whether or not Denson had a “pocket knife or a gun” on him. “I’m an Ohio state representative,” Denson can be heard responding, though his full response is inaudible with the noise of traffic passing by. “OK. What does that have to do with you having a weapon?” the trooper responds. The Ohio Highway Patrol discovered a single prescription Adderall pill inside a plastic bag in Denson’s vehicle, which he said he’s “not prescribed” and does “not use.” In a statement released Monday, Denson apologized to his constituents, but denied that he was actually impaired. “I was pulled over by a State Highway Patrolman for…

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Ohio House Democrats Question ‘Fiscal Stability’ of Republican Governor’s $69 Billion Budget Proposal

Ohio House Democrats are raising concerns over the “fiscal stability” of Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s $69 billion budget proposal released Friday. House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) said that while her caucus was “encouraged by the governor’s commitment to supporting Democratic policies of investing in families, maintaining access to quality, affordable health care, and cleaning up Lake Erie,” she had concerns about the proposal’s “fiscal stability.” “We have serious concerns regarding the fiscal stability of the current proposal. We can’t build a budget on broken economic assumptions or wishful thinking. We need to be honest and realistic about where new spending comes from,” she continued. Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), the House Democratic budget panel leader, said he was “heartened that the governor is stepping up on a number of issues Democrats have been pushing,” but had similar concerns about its “fiscal assumptions.” “That promise is sacred, and it can’t be built on shaky economic ground or faulty fiscal assumptions. The governor is proposing investments, but it’s unclear where the additional spending will come from,” he said. Cera went on to claim that “investing in education and children is important,” but the state needs “to be realistic about [its] fiscal…

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