Today, Governor John Kasich unveiled a gun safety plan, which includes multiple proposals currently being addressed by Democratic members of the Ohio Senate. Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) has asked Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) to take the lead for the Senate Democratic Caucus on any bipartisan efforts to curb gun violence in Ohio.
Senator Thomas released the following statement in response:

“As a former police officer, I know too well the devastating impact of gun violence on our families, our communities and our nation. People in Ohio and across the U.S. are asking lawmakers to help stop senseless gun violence, which has taken far too many lives. I’m encouraged that the Governor is willing to work together to take action, and I look forward to representing our caucus in conversations about solutions to gun violence.

“Following the tragedy in Las Vegas, I introduced SB 219 to ban bump stocks and other items that accelerate a semi-automatic firearm's rate of fire. Other members of our caucus have introduced bills that are reflected in the Governor’s proposal. These bills have yet to receive much attention by the legislature, but I hope they will now become a priority. Lives are at stake.”

Last week, Senators Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) announced they will soon introduce “red flag" legislation to remove firearms from people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others. In October, Senator Thomas introduced Senate Bill 219 to ban bump stocks. Last year, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) introduced Senate Bill 150 to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence offenders.


Today, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) released the following statement in response to Governor John Kasich’s gun safety proposals:

“We appreciate the efforts by the Governor and his working group. There is growing consensus in Ohio and our nation that we need to act now to save lives and make our communities safer. Today, the Governor mentioned three proposals from our Senators, and we are hopeful these bills will soon receive hearings.

“People thought we wouldn’t be able to work together to pass congressional redistricting reform, but we did. I have been talking to President Obhof, and I am hopeful that we can take the same bipartisan approach to these critical issues at a time when Americans are pleading with lawmakers to take action. Senator Cecil Thomas, a former Cincinnati police officer who has seen first-hand the devastation of gun violence, will be leading our caucus’ efforts to reach out to Republicans and find solutions.”

Last week, Senators Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) announced they will soon introduce “red flag" legislation to remove firearms from people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others. In October, Senator Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 219 to ban bump stocks. Last year, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) introduced Senate Bill 150 to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence offenders.


Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) today introduced a bill, Senate Bill 269, to assist local communities in their efforts to repair Ohio roads following the winter season.

“This winter has been brutal and that means potholes have popped up all over Ohio roads,” said Senator Yuko. “I’m hearing from constituents and seeing on the news nearly every day that there is a big problem with filling potholes in our communities – like on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland and on Harvard Road in Cleveland’s Ward 1. Budgets are tight and many of our local governments don’t have the resources to fix our roads fast enough. The state needs to step in and lend a hand so we can ensure Ohio drivers are safe.”

The bill would provide a one-time, $30 million award to be distributed to counties, municipalities and townships from Ohio’s $2.03 billion Rainy Day Fund. If the bill is passed, funding for communities would be available immediately.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card found that Ohio drivers spend an average of $475 per year on costs related to driving on roads that need repairs. AAA reported earlier this year that pothole damage costs U.S. drivers $3 billion annually.

“Our local communities need this one-time funding award to help us get through the rest of the winter,” continued Yuko. “But we need a long-term solution to fix Ohio’s crumbling roads. And I am working on another, more comprehensive bill to get our roads back in shape. It’s critical for our drivers, but also for our economy, which relies on a state-of-the-art road system in order to do business.”


Columbus – Today, Senate Minority Whip Edna Brown (D-Toledo) and Senate Majority Floor Leader Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) presented the University of Toledo football team with a resolution honoring their 2017 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship on the Senate floor.

“In the historic 100th year of UT’s football program, the Rockets brought home the MAC Championship,” said Senator Brown. “Their first-place finish is the measure of an outstanding collective effort by a gifted group of athletes and coaches. They have made Toledo and Ohio proud.”

In December of 2017, the UT football team won their first MAC Championship since 2004 by defeating the Akron Zips 45-28. The Rockets boasted a 7-1 conference record and finished the season 11-3 overall.

“I am pleased to join my friend Senator Edna Brown in paying tribute to the Toledo Rockets MAC Championship football team,” said Senator Gardner. “The Lucas County Senate delegation salutes the Rockets through our Senate resolution on a great season.”


Today, Assistant Minority Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) applauded a total of 32 Franklin County Capital Budget projects that will receive funding for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.

This funding will go toward projects that enhance and encourage investment in the Columbus community. The monies granted will help fund residential services for developmental disabilities and services addressing opioid addiction, attract more jobs to Franklin County and the 15th District and expand interactive educational experiences for Ohio families.

“I am proud to sponsor and support more than 23 community, cultural, educational and art projects in my district specifically and throughout Ohio generally. I am especially pleased by the work we have done to assist smaller community-based non-profit organizations with state funds to leverage local, federal and philanthropic dollars to advance and complete these neighborhood and economic drivers,” said Senator Tavares.

As introduced, the Capital Budget bill is set to provide a total of $2.6 billion including monies for the Department of Higher Education - $483.4 million; the Department of Developmental Disabilities - $30.7 million; and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services - $168.6 million; among others.


Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) announced today that the Ohio Legislative Service Commission is accepting applications for its 13-month Legislative and Telecommunications Fellowship Program. The Commission will hire 24 fellows to work with members of the Ohio General Assembly during 2019.

“Some of Ohio’s best and brightest legislative leaders and staff have come from the LSC Fellowship Program,” said Senator Yuko. “This is an exceptional opportunity for any woman or man who’s passionate about service to our state.”

Legislative fellow duties include assisting members of the Ohio General Assembly with constituent work, writing press releases and speeches, assisting in legislative research, attending meetings and performing administrative duties.

Telecommunications fellows assist in televising House and Senate proceedings and in preparing educational video productions about the General Assembly and the legislative process.

Fellows receive full state of Ohio employee benefits and are paid $31,200 per year, with the opportunity to earn a $2,000 bonus based on length of service in the program. 

Legislative fellowship application materials must be postmarked by April 1, 2018 to be considered for the program. The application deadline for the two telecommunications positions is April 30, 2018. 

All applicants must have graduated from a four-year college degree program by the December start date. Persons holding graduate or professional degrees may apply. The legislative fellowship program is open to graduates of all major fields of study who have a genuine interest in learning about state government, and no political experience is required. The two telecommunications fellows must have majored or minored in a telecommunications-related field of study or have comparable experience.

For more information or for an application and instructions, please contact:

Ohio Legislative Service Commission
Fellowship Coordinators
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High Street, Ninth Floor
Columbus, OH  43215-6136
(614) 466-3615

Columbus – Today, state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) announced that Summit County is in line to receive over $30 million from the Capital Budget.

“As a legislator, your first priority is to take care of the people in your district,” said Senator Sykes. “This money is going to help the people of Summit County by making improvements to community health centers, expanding shelters for victims of domestic violence and making much needed renovations to our educational facilities.”

Under the current proposal, Summit County will be receiving the fourth largest amount of appropriations behind Ohio’s major population centers in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties.

“I’m proud of the work these groups put in to receive these funds,” said Sykes. “It shows the kind of community we have in Summit County when people invest their time and effort to improve the lives of their neighbors.”

Debris Finally Removed From ARCO Dump Site
Senator Yuko pushed for $9M in state funding for cleanup of illegal dump
February 27, 2018

Today, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) commended the collaboration efforts between the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the City of East Cleveland and his office as the ARCO dump site cleanup moves into its final phase.

Senator Yuko has worked closely with the state to secure over $9 million in state funding to clean up the grounds.

“No one should have to live in the conditions that the families of Noble Road were forced to tolerate for years,” said Senator Yuko. “We’ve worked together with the community and with state agencies to make this right and now the cleanup is nearly complete. I’m really pleased with the work that’s been done here.”

The Noble Road site was originally established as a recycling facility for construction and demolition debris. However, since 2014 it had been operating as an illegal dump just feet from residential homes in East Cleveland. For the past four years, residents near Noble Road have had to deal with garbage right in their backyards, foul odors and rodent infestations – among other ongoing health and safety concerns.

The pile of debris at the site has now been removed and crews are finishing the project by scraping the area to remove any remaining residue. Senator Yuko pledged that he will continue to work closely with the state and East Cleveland community leaders to monitor the site.

“The completion of the cleanup is just the first step,” said Senator Yuko. “I’m committed to staying involved in the coming months and years to monitor the future of the site and address any long-term health concerns affecting those living nearby.”


Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the controversial Janus v. AFSCME case. In response, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), a former union organizer, released the following statement reaffirming his support for workers:

“As always, I stand in solidarity with my sisters and brothers, across Ohio and our nation, in support of strong labor organizations. Our unions have fought tirelessly to create a strong middle class with the workplace rights and protections that we enjoy today, like fair wages, health care, sick leave and vacation time. Janus is nothing more than an attack on worker freedoms by a few wealthy and well-connected CEOs and corporations.”

Senators Schiavoni And Williams Announce Bill To Remove Firearms From Dangerous Individuals
"Red flag" legislation would provide families and law enforcement opportunity for early intervention
February 26, 2018

Today, state Senators Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) announced that they will soon introduce “red flag" legislation to remove firearms from people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others.

“Family members are often the first to know when a loved one starts showing signs that they’re dangerous to themselves or people around them,” said Senator Schiavoni. “Sadly, there aren’t many options available to be proactive, remove weapons and prevent those moments from becoming tragedies. This bill is common sense. It provides a clear process when loved ones notice those red flags.”

The bill establishes an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) that would allow family members or law enforcement to ask a civil court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who is acting in an unstable or threatening manner toward themselves or others. The protection order could last up to one year.

Currently, five states have similar laws. Prominent gun safety organizations, like the Brady Center and Everytown for Gun Safety, are supportive of ERPOs and tout their life-saving effects.

In a television interview last week, Governor John Kasich expressed support for ERPO legislation saying, “If you have somebody in your home the family member knows is not stable, could hurt themselves, hurt family members or hurt somebody outside of the home, I believe there needs to be a restraining order and those guns should be taken from them.”

“I am pleased to see the conversation turn and the mood shift toward sensible gun safety measures in Ohio,” said Senator Williams. “I’m also pleased to see Governor Kasich supporting efforts to combat gun violence. We know how to reduce gun violence in America while still respecting the Second Amendment. This bill is a step forward in that direction.”

ERPOs are seen as an intervention method to reduce gun homicides as well as suicides. There are over 33,000 gun deaths in the United States each year, with suicides accounting for over 21,000 of those deaths. Having guns in the home triples a person’s chances of committing suicide. This order could also help remove firearms from potential mass shooters who make disturbing public displays of violent behavior.

Senators Schiavoni and Williams are circulating the bill to other Senate members for co-sponsorship prior to its formal introduction.

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