Posts by: Guest Post

FirstEnergy recently joined American Electric Power (AEP) and Duke Energy in filing a request before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) – the state agency in charge of keeping utilities in check.

What do these big electric utilities want? They want to increase customers’ bills to prop up their aging coal plants. AEP alone wants to charge customers an estimated $117 million to keep two dirty, expensive coal plants in operation. These plants, which hail from the 1950s, are uncompetitive in the wholesale energy market. But keeping them alive – by asking customers to subsidize this dirty energy [...]

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After over 400,000 people were without safe drinking water for over two days in one of Ohio’s largest cities, did anyone feel any better after Governor Kasich’s statement during his obligatory visit to Toledo: “What’s more important than water? Water’s about life.”

Plain, simple, true, and grossly misleading. Because those who know the facts of what is happening in Ohio can clearly see that Governor Kasich does not care about the water. What Kasich cares about is Kasich, getting re-elected, and pleasing his corporate sponsors to fulfill his political aspirations.

One doesn’t have to look too deeply to find the [...]

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On Monday, July 7, Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that he had certified the petition language for the so-called Ohio Clean Energy Initiative. This initiative, which would be an amendment to the state Constitution – provided it gets the necessary 385,253 certified signatures – would require the state of Ohio to issue $1.3 billion in bonds per year over the course of 10 years to finance clean energy investments. This marks the fourth separate time that the group behind the idea, Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, has attempted to put it before voters.

Now, on the surface, this [...]

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After the Hobby Lobby decision came down on June 30, 2014, my office got to work figuring out the implications of the decision and how we could enact a fix in Ohio that would make women’s personal, private health care decisions Not Our Boss’s Business.

Here are some FAQs about the Hobby Lobby decision and the Not My Boss’s Business Act, which I will soon be introducing along with my Senate colleagues Senator Charleta Tavares and Senator Nina Turner.

 

1)     What did the Hobby Lobby decision say?  Which law did it invalidate and why?

Five men on the U.S. [...]

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The Teachers and the Educational Support Professionals attending the National Education Association’s annual Representative Assembly in Denver, the first week of July, voted to ask for the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Last week the American Federation of Teachers followed suit.

It seems the rank-and-file members of the NEA are becoming increasingly frustrated, borderline angry at the educational policies being pushed by Duncan, supported by President Obama, and in Ohio, mandated by Governor Kasich.

When the Representative Assembly opened, a short video message from President Obama welcomed the teachers and ESPs to the annual meeting and thanked them for [...]

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Access to political participation in the United States has always been contested. The extensions of voting rights from only property owners, to include all white men, then people of color, and finally women, are now regarded as important milestones in the deepening of the democratic process in this country. And while some will label these previous restrictions as products of a less enlightened era, the struggle for broader enfranchisement continues.

In February, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 238, eliminating the first week of in-person absentee voting. Known as Golden Week, it was the only time when people could register [...]

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Republican Fossil Fueled Fog Machines Gear Up
by Mark Shanahan

The bill to dismantle Ohio’s clean energy standards (SB 310) passed the House Wednesday afternoon 53-38; within the hour, the Senate concurred with the House’s minor changes 21-11.  And, Governor Kasich’s office announced he “looked forward to signing it.”

The Republican floor debate and the Kasich statement reveal the strategy that will be deployed over the next months to confuse Ohioans about what just happened.  Here are the arguments:

We were just protecting clean energy requirements against the extremes. The two extremes here are the desire of the “free [...]

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Race To Ohio’s Energy Past
by Mark Shanahan

Ohio’s clean energy future is in grave peril.  Senate Bill 310 as passed by the Senate now is scheduled to be voted out of the House and sent to Governor Kasich for signature. (Committee vote currently scheduled for Tuesday.)

What’s in the bill?  The main elements are:

“Freeze” the renewable energy and energy efficiency requirements for Ohio’s electric distribution companies at 2014 levels through 2016.  Theoretically, if the General Assembly does not act, the current standards then resume. Sets up the Energy Mandates Study Committee to make recommendations to be implemented [...]

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Just over 160 years ago the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851 faced a serious question regarding the public common school system.  Should the convention adopt a provision to require the legislature to develop and maintain a high quality common school system or leave the prospect of public education to the sole discretion of the legislature?  After prolonged and vigorous debate, the Convention approved the provision that requires the General Assembly to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools.

The thorough and efficient standard was adopted to protect school children from substandard or non-existent educational programming.  It [...]

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In the interest of discussing what is “thorough and efficient” about Ohio’s charter schools, concerned community members are invited to join Ohio Senate Minority Leader, Senator Joe Schiavoni and other expert panelists at Central Ohio’s first Community Forum on Charter School Accountability (May 7th, 6 – 7:30 p.m., at the Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Rd., Cols, Ohio 43221).

Joining Senator Schiavoni are Southwestern City Schools Treasurer, Hugh Garside and School Board member, Lee Schreiner.  Southwestern City Schools has lost 108 million dollars to charter schools since the year 2000. Also on the panel are the former Head of [...]

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These days you don’t have to be a Wall Street oligarch to make owning a home less affordable for everyone, push minorities out of the home mortgage market, and help mega banks at the expense of community banks. You just have to vote for the latest version of housing finance “reform” being pushed in Washington – the Johnson-Crapo “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act.”

“It’s widely accepted that mortgage rates will rise for borrowers under the Johnson-Crapo measure,” The Washington Post reported on Monday. I doubt that struggling middle-class families will find that idea widely acceptable. I don’t [...]

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