COLUMBUS – Tonight, members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus expressed strong opposition to the passage of Amended Senate Bill 331. This bill eases restrictions on puppy mills and removes control from local communities on several different issues – including the ability to raise their own minimum wage. Senate Democrats released the following statements in response to the bill’s passage.

Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Senate Minority Leader:

“For the party that campaigns against big government, I find my Republican colleagues' stance on this bill pretty hypocritical. The state, once again, will be handcuffing local communities on what they can and cannot do regarding what's best for their citizens.”

Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus), Assistant Senate Minority Leader:

“The poverty rate in Ohio is going up and our wages are going down. The costs of groceries, utilities, rent, clothes, etc. are going up and our wages are frozen or going down. The people – our constituents – support an increase in minimum wages. Our Constitution provides that local governments cannot have a minimum wage less than the state. There is no prohibition in the Constitution to going above the state wage. This is an affront to our residents who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

Senator Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard): 

“This is the epitome of lame duck chicanery. This bill received extreme opposition from the beginning and the additions only make it worse. We cannot take away cities’ rights, especially in this manner. We need to leave certain matters in the hands of cities and allow them to do what is best for their citizens.”

Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland):

“I strongly oppose the provision that was added to HB 331 today in the House Finance Committee that prohibits local jurisdictions from establishing a minimum wage different from the state minimum wage rate. Bills have been proposed for years and ignored by the Ohio Legislature to raise the minimum wage. The placement of this last minute amendment does not give legislators enough time to consider all of the facts and advocate for our constituents accordingly. Since we are not willing to act on behalf of low income citizens at the state level, voters should be allowed to exercise their Constitutional right and vote up or down in the issue of an increase in minimum wage. Their vote should not be stifled by a government that fears the outcome.”

Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights):

"For local communities, the ability to set a minimum wage and help people working in low-income jobs is essential. We need to do our jobs and let local communities do theirs."

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