Posts by: Guest Post

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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SB 5′s Historic Defeat Marked; Will Ohio Voters Remember In November?
by John McNay

Three years ago, on March 31, 2011, the Republican-dominated Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 5 in the face of overwhelming public protests. That evening Gov. John Kasich had a celebratory signing ceremony covered by statewide television. Senate Bill 5, derived mainly from the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, was designed to crush public unions across the state.

Championed by Gov. Kasich, SB 5 was the centerpiece of his legislative agenda­, and was defended as necessary to close a $6 billion budget gap. Proponents inaccurately blamed [...]

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Ohio Republicans have introduced a dangerous new plan to freeze Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standards indefinitely.

GOP leadership is reportedly driving this proposal, with Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) leading the effort and Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zainesville) introducing the legislation, SB 310, Friday morning. SB 310 calls for an immediate freeze on efficiency and renewable energy standards at their current 2014 levels and for the creation of an “Energy Mandates Study Committee” to review existing law.

As a refresher, Governor Strickland signed Substitute Senate Bill 221 (SB 221) into law on May 1, [...]

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The following is an open letter, from an Ohio teacher, to members of Ohio’s House Education Committee regarding the hijacking of SB 229.


Dear Representative,

It was with great concern that I learned of the Ohio House’s decision to make significant, drastic, and educationally unsound changes to SB 229. As an educator I have grave concerns regarding the policies regarding public education that are developed in Columbus.

The evaluative protocol being imposed on local schools from outside the district is an illustration of both the lack of familiarity with a student’s development through their relationship with their teachers as well [...]

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