Recent rumblings from the local Republicans and Democrats


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Report: Ohio taxation rates

With Tax Day looming large, WalletHub today released its 2017 Taxpayer Survey as well as its yearly Tax Rates by State report in order to help people better understand this confusing time of year. WalletHub’s Taxpayer Survey features a wide range of fun facts about people’s opinions on tax prep, the IRS and more, while the tax rate report compares the cost of the average person’s various obligations in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

You can find highlights from both below, followed by the full list of WalletHub’s 2017 taxpayer resources:

Tax Rates in Ohio (1=Lowest; 25=Avg.):

45th – Overall Effective State & Local Tax Rate

14th – Income Tax

28th – Vehicle Property Tax

19th – Sales & Excise Taxes

2017 Taxpayer Survey

What We’d Do For A Tax-Free Future…20% would get an “IRS” tattoo, 16% would move abroad and 10% would stop talking for six months.

Will Donald Trump’s tax reforms save us money? “No” is the runaway winner, receiving 65% of the vote.

What We’d Rather Be Doing Than Taxes…30% would talk sex with the kids, 40% would get dirty with diapers and 12% would spend the night in jail.

Whom We’d Most Like To Punch…Donald Trump (51%) was the top choice for the individual most deserving of a pop to the kisser, while only 12% opted for an IRS agent.

Brown speaks to Ohio farmers at Annual Breakfast

Brown is First Ohioan on Senate Agriculture Committee in Four Decades

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today (March 14) spoke to Ohio farmers at the Ohio Farm Bureau breakfast in Washington, D.C. The Senator spoke about his priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill, which he will help craft as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He’s the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in four decades.

“As we begin to work on the 2018 Farm Bill, I remain committed to ensuring that all sectors of our agricultural economy are set up to thrive,” said Brown. “Corn, soybean, wheat farmers are all facing smaller margins, and with farm income projected to drop nine percent this year compared to last – it’s times like these that remind us how important safety net programs and crop insurance are. My office has also heard from our dairy farmers who are dealing with a similarly tough market. We need to update these program to address the needs of dairy farmers in the next Farm Bill.”

He also pledged to work with President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, if he is confirmed.

“For USDA to work like it should, leadership needs to be in place, the agency needs to be properly funded, and there must be strong Midwestern voices at the table, said Brown. “You can be sure that when Governor Perdue has his confirmation hearing, I will make sure he knows that Ohio agriculture needs to have that voice.”

Sen. candidate Josh Mandel, Feb. 13:

President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is everything we could have hoped for, and yet Democrats are doing everything in their power to block him. Why? Because he won’t pledge to support their left-wing agenda.

In fact, my Democratic opponent has made it clear that he’ll stand in the way of any nominee the President chooses. The proof: he came out against Judge Gorsuch in just 11 minutes.

This is just wrong.

Our country deserves better than this. Our country deserves leaders that will actually lead; Senators that will actually represent the interests of their constituents. I’m ready. But I can’t get there without your help. Will you help me take on the liberals in Washington? Will you help send a message that America has had enough of this left wing nonsense?

Democratic fundraising email, March 4:

Republicans have been clamoring for years to repeal the Affordable Care Act — even if it meant kicking millions of Americans off their health coverage. They’ve promised to replace it with something, but have never revealed the details of their plan.

House Republicans released their plan on Thursday — but you won’t be able to find it online. The GOP leadership hid the bill in the Capitol, moving it between a series of offices like a hot potato, so Democrats and even some Republicans couldn’t read it.

But last weekend, some of the details leaked — and it’s about as bad as you could expect:

• If you aren’t one of the millions to lose coverage, you can expect your premiums to rise and the subsidy to help pay for insurance to decline.

• If you get your health insurance from your employer, you’ll pay higher taxes on those benefits.

• The Medicaid expansion will be reduced drastically, as will all Medicaid benefits and eligibility. (By the way, a whopping 84% of Americans support keeping the Medicaid expansion the way it is.)

The GOP did manage to include one bright spot for millionaires and billionaires: a huge tax cut averaging $50,000 per millionaire, to be paid for by cutting an additional $370 billion from Medicaid over the next ten years.

It’s clear that the GOP’s health care plan would be catastrophic for the vast majority of Americans, and it’s not hard to see why tens of thousands of Americans showed up at town halls just this past week to tell their members of Congress not to take their health care away.

Mandel Urges Sherrod Brown to Support Betsy DeVos to Lead the Department of Education, January 16, 2017

Today, Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel released the following statement in support of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education:

“For decades, Ohioans have been forced to cede more and more control over education decisions as Washington has increasingly overstepped and overreached. I support the nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education first and foremost because of her unwavering belief in local control.

“Betsy has been a front-line fixture in the fight to expand school options. She has also been a consistent force against Common Core, which is an attempt at a one-size-fits-all national education policy that I have and will continue to fiercely oppose. For nearly three decades, she has put her trust in parents rather than Washington bureaucrats, and in large part because of her leadership, educational choice is now squarely in the mainstream of American values. Her record as an advocate for parents and kids makes her qualified to be the next Secretary of Education.

“Betsy DeVos’ vision and experience is well suited to execute the change President-elect Trump articulated – and the public embraced – in the last election. Lawmakers should put down their arms, if only temporarily, to give her the consideration she is due. On merit, they will find no reason to stand in the way of her confirmation.

“I urge our elected officials, and especially Senator Brown, to support Betsy DeVos as our next Secretary of Education.”

What about ESSA?

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today (March 13) asked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to spell out the Trump Administration’s plans to help public high schools increase graduation rates in Oregon and across the country.

In a letter today, Wyden specifically asked DeVos how she would implement a Wyden priority to increase graduation rates that was included in the new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Congress passed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 to give all children better access to quality education and give more control to states and educators. The Wyden provision in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act provides struggling public schools with federal funding to improve their graduation rates.

However, last week, congressional Republicans rolled back guidance from the Obama Administration that gave schools a blueprint for how to comply with accountability provisions included in the new education law. The vote creates uncertainty for schools, school districts and states that are working to submit their graduation improvement plans to the administration next month.

Oregon has struggled with a high school graduation rate of about 75 percent, which is below the national average of about 82 percent.

“In light of legislative attempts to strike down Obama Administration regulations implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and reports of harmful federally funded private school voucher programs from the Administration, clarity about graduation rate policy is more important than ever,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

Wyden also stressed the importance of keeping taxpayer funding going to public schools, which are required to track and report student success.

“Under ESSA, the federal government provides young Oregonians, and our public schools, with the resources, federal funding, and flexibility they need for students to succeed. Moving limited funding away from public schools and toward unaccountable private schools that do not serve all students, or our common civic values, will ultimately harm public education,” he wrote.

Wyden asked for a response from DeVos in 30 days.

Scott Denounces Senate Move to Weaken Public Education

WASHINGTON – Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Senate voted 50-49 to undermine civil rights protections in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on March 9.

“Faithful implementation of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act should not be a partisan issue. States and school districts want the stability and consistency provided by the Department of Education’s consensus-driven regulations that Congressional Republicans have now used the Congressional Review Act to block. Thanks to thousands of public comments and months of review, the Department’s final regulation was praised by local superintendents and state school chiefs for honoring local flexibility and leadership. Use of the CRA was opposed by parents, teachers, labor unions, civil rights organizations, disability advocates, and the business community. Today’s Senate passage of H.J. Res 57 does nothing but endanger implementation of the law and harm our most disadvantaged students.

“Even if the regulations are overturned, the statutory provisions of ESSA are the law of the land and the protections in the law remain intact. The Department is still obligated to follow the law when considering the approval of state plans, providing oversight, and enforcing local compliance. And the Committee on Education and the Workforce is still obligated to provide robust Congressional oversight to ensure that the Administration provides the guidance, regulation, and technical assistance necessary to ensure that ESSA implementation truly honors the law’s bipartisan intent and civil rights legacy. These obligations will be easier to fulfill, if the President vetoes this Resolution.”

Mandel Affirms Support for Senator Sessions Amidst Attorney General Confirmation Hearings, January 11, 2017:

COLUMBUS – Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel issued the following statement today affirming his support for President-Elect Donald Trump’s Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions.

“For the past eight years, the Obama-Sherrod Brown administration has run amok and politicized the enforcement of law.

“The Obama-Brown administration has eroded our nation’s immigration laws and rewarded sanctuary cities that shield illegal aliens. Sen. Sessions understands that there’s no room in America or Ohio for sanctuary cities, and he will help restore honor and respect for the rule of law to a Washington that has put politics ahead of national security.

“I have no doubt that Sen. Sessions will be an outstanding Attorney General, and I support his nomination and look forward to working closely with him on important initiatives in the months and years ahead.”​

Brown’s statement on President Trump’s Address to Congress, Feb. 28

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress:

“We can all agree that creating jobs and rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure should be top priorities, and it was promising to hear President Trump renew his commitments to overhauling our trade policy and using American steel to rebuild our public works. But now we need to see action. I’ve shared my ideas for fulfilling his promises on trade and infrastructure jobs and I’m ready to get to work with President Trump whenever he’s willing to do what’s right for Ohio.

“At the same time, I will fight against policies that are wrong for Ohio. I agree with Governor Kasich that it is dangerous and irresponsible to double down on efforts to throw 900,000 Ohioans off their insurance without a plan to replace it. Instead of taking healthcare away from Ohioans, President Trump should focus on working with Congress to lower the cost of prescription drugs for working families. And I will fight against any efforts to expand the for-profit education system which has failed our students and ripped off Ohio taxpayers.

“President Trump spoke about healing divisions and bringing Americans together, and the best way to do that is by getting to work on the priorities where we all agree like putting Americans to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and infrastructure.”

Portman Opposes Congressional Review Act Proposal to Repeal Bipartisan Education Accountability Measures, March 6:

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced on Monday that he opposes efforts to repeal the Department of Education’s regulation on accountability and reporting in state plans as implemented through the bipartisan Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA):

“I do not support repealing the regulation requiring states to provide parents with accurate information on how their students are performing, which will help ensure our schools are accountable for results. These measures balance state flexibility while reinforcing protections for students of color, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families. We must do more to provide a better education for all students, including those who have been traditionally under-served. We have a role to play in helping ensure these children achieve their God-given potential and I urge my colleagues to join me in preserving these protections for students who have too often been marginalized and forgotten.”

NOTE: There is widespread support for preserving these education accountability measures, including from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, National Down Syndrome Congress, National Indian Education Association, Alliance for Excellent Education, Easterseals, Teach for America, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Children’s Defense Fund, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Portman Leads Letter Urging Trump Administration to Protect Jewish Community Centers, March 7:

Portman and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) led a letter of all of their bipartisan Senate colleagues in sending a letter to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey to take action in response to the recent anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish Day Schools, and Synagogues in Ohio and across the country.

“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities.”

“We encourage you to communicate with individual JCCs, the JCC Association of North America, Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues and other Jewish community institutions regarding victim assistance, grant opportunities or other federal assistance that may be available to enhance security measures and improve preparedness,” continued the Senators. “We also recognize the anti-Semitic sentiment behind this spate of threats and encourage your Departments to continue to inform state and local law enforcement organizations of their obligations under the Hate Crime Statistics Act and other federal laws.”

All 100 members of the U.S. Senate signed the letter. It is supported by a wide range of groups, including the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union, Jewish Federations of North America and Union for Reform Judaism.

(This article appeared in one of our sister publications) Senator Portman visits Clean Acres, Wilmington Air Park

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) made two stops in Clinton County Saturday afternoon—first to Clean Acres Farm where he spoke to those battling addiction, then to the Wilmington Air Park to discuss the future and possible jobs.

Port Authority Executive Director Executive Director Dab Evers said that, during their meeting, they spoke about keeping an eye on future prospects. This included continuing to recruit air cargo users and investigating what federal resources may be used.

Earlier in the day at Clean Acres Farm, he listened to residents’ stories addictions, what did and didn’t work in their recoveries, and what Clean Acres has done for them.

(“Senator Portman visits Clean Acres, Wilmington Air Park,” John Hamilton. Wilmington News Journal. March 6, 2017)

Stand Up For Ohio email, March 10:

The Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could cause more than 700,000 Ohioans to lose their health care coverage. We can’t let this happen. Rob Portman could be the deciding vote to save the ACA, and the lives of everyday people.

Portman has a choice: stand with Ohioans, or stand with Trump and a party that’s playing politics with people’s lives.

Join us in calling on Portman to resist the repeal!

The Trump plan will take affordable healthcare away from millions, all while giving huge tax breaks to the super wealthy. Successful programs like Medicaid expansion, that has helped hundreds of thousands of Ohioans get health care, will be gutted.

Representative Brenner Applauds Passage of Legislation Regarding Penalties for Trafficking and Possession of Cocaine

COLUMBUS—State Representative Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) today (Feb. 15) announced the passage of legislation by the Ohio House that makes changes to drug trafficking and possession laws regarding cocaine. House Bill 4 restores the statutory penalties for possession of cocaine and clarifies the penalties for the trafficking of cocaine.

Under Ohio’s statutory drug penalty framework, penalties increase with the quantity of the drug involved in the violation. For cocaine, the Ohio Revised Code prescribes five steps or tiers of felony penalties with the increasing amounts of cocaine involved.

The possession penalties were undone by the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision in State v. Gonzales, which determined that only the weight of pure cocaine in a substance could be used to set an offender’s sentence. Because of this, cocaine possession regardless of quantity will, as a practical matter, only be prosecuted as a fifth degree felony, the lowest penalty under statute, if the law is not amended.

House Bill 4 seeks to modify this language to clarify that the total weight of the compound, mixture, preparation or substance containing cocaine is included for penalty purposes, for both offenses of possession and trafficking.

“House Bill 4 will give law enforcement officers and prosecutors the tools they need to keep large quantities of drugs, specifically cocaine, off of our streets,” said Rep. Brenner. “By passing this bill, we are sending a strong message to drug dealers that we are not going to tolerate our friends and families becoming victims of drug crimes and drug addiction.”

The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration. The bill includes an emergency clause to make it effective on the day it is signed by the Governor.

Progress Ohio exposed as hired gun for repressive Foreign Regime

COLUMBUS – Gannett newspapers recently published the results of an investigation into Progress Ohio’s involvement opposing charter schools generally; Concept Schools, a non-profit charter school operating group working with Ohio’s Horizon schools, in particular.

Over the course of several years, Progress Ohio has sought to discredit charter schools like Concept, essentially running a mud-slinging campaign using false allegations that been repeatedly found to be untrue. The attack came even though one Concept School in Ohio has been awarded a Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence by the US Department of Education.

Progress Ohio has claimed to be ensuring quality schools in Ohio. The Gannett investigation suggests otherwise, showing that Progress Ohio received payments of $37,500.00 by the Turkish government through a shadowy overseas conduit to oppose Concept Schools.

The Turkish government sought to discredit Concept Schools because of an alleged yet false connection to Turkish exile Fethullah Gulan. As Gannett reports, Turkish government authorities found a willing and complicit ally in Progress Ohio.

My School My Choice President Amy Kelley said that this news shows Progress Ohio’s true colors.

“Progress Ohio says they’re for education reform,” Kelley claims. “This Gannett investigation shows that they’re much more interested in doing the bidding of political donors than trusting parents with the decision about what school is best for their children.”

“Progress Ohio purports to put students first in their efforts at education reform,” Kelley continued. “But becoming the paid mercenary of an oppressive foreign government and acting against Ohio schools isn’t putting students first.”

Senior Fellow with the NYU Center for Global Affairs Alon Ben-Meir says the Turkish President’s actions have resulted in Turkey becoming a de facto dictatorship writing for the Huffington Post this past summer that, “President Erdogan, who is totally absorbed by his lust for power, will tolerate no one in his government to deviate from any of his political positions.”

“The irony of this situation is that public charter schools are paid for and supported by Ohio taxpayers, but Progress Ohio is paid for by a Turkish dictator.” Kelley concluded.

My School My Choice is an umbrella coalition made up of organizations, parents, teachers, public charter school students, grandparents, school choice advocacy groups, education leaders, business and community leaders, and anyone who cares about the rights of all Ohio children and their families to choose the best school to meet their individual needs.

The group made statewide news in 2007 and again in 2009 when it successfully led the opposition to Governor Strickland’s controversial attempts to limit the school choices of Ohio parents. In 2009, the effort culminated in one of the largest Statehouse rallies in recent history, when more than 4500 supporters massed on the west lawn of the Statehouse to oppose the much-criticized Strickland proposal.

Members of My School My Choice post regular updates at MySchoolMyChoice.org and on Twitter: @SchoolChoice.

Tom Trento, for the United West: FEB 25, IF REP. KEITH “THE TOOL” ELLISON WINS DNC CHAIR THE DEMOCRATS HAVE BECOME “ENEMIES OF THE STATE”

WORDS FROM THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD PLAN TO TAKE OVER AMERICA…

In order for Islam and its Movement to become “a part of the homeland” in which it lives, “stable” in its land, “rooted” in the spirits and minds of its people, “enabled” in the live of its society and has firmly-established “organizations” on which the Islamic structure is built and with which the testimony of civilization is achieved, the Movement must plan and struggle to obtain “the keys” and the tools of this process in carry out this grand mission as a “Civilization Jihadist” responsibility which lies on the shoulders of Muslims and on top of them the Muslim Brotherhood in this country.

HAMAS SUPPORTER, REP. KEITH ELLISON FROM MINNESOTA WILL MOST LIKELY BE ELECTED *** THE UNITED WEST ALSO ENDORSES REP. KEITH ELLISON FOR CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRAT NATIONAL COMMITTEE.

UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP THE ANTI-AMERICAN DEMOCRAT PARTY WILL SELF-DESTRUCT THUS PROVIDING A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR CONSERVATIVES TO RETURN AMERICA TO A JUDEO-CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION.

IF YOU ARE ARE A CONSTITUTION-HATING DEMOCRAT, VOTE FOR KEITH!

THE UNITED WEST WILL FIGHT REP. KEITH ELLISON AND THE DEMOCRAT PARTY FOR YOU, YOU CAN HELP US IN THIS GOOD FIGHT WITH A GENEROUS DONATION

BROWN RANKS FOURTH ON LIST OF SENATORS WITH MOST LAWS PASSED IN CURRENT CONGRESS, Nov. 29

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In case you missed it, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) ranks fourth on a list recently compiled by Medill News Service in their article that ranks U.S. Senators by the number of bills they have sponsored or co-sponsored that have been enacted into law during the current congress.

“When Ohioans write my office, they aren’t thinking about whether I’m a Republican or Democrat. They’re thinking about the loss of a job, a bill they’re struggling to pay or the crumbling road they drive to school or work each day,” said Brown in the article. “My job is to serve them, and to do that I’ve got to seek out common ground with my colleagues. … We aren’t always successful, but striking up bipartisan conversations on the issues facing our constituents is the first step to passing legislation.”

Brown has sponsored or co-sponsored more than 20 bills that have been enacted into law, including the following:

S. 136: Gold Star Fathers Act of 2015

S. 142: Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015

S. 1424: Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015

S. 2487: Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act

S. 2794: American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016

The full text of the article is available below.

Which Senators have Passed the Most laws?

By Benjamin Din

For Medill on the Hill

WASHINGTON — With a little over a month to go for the current Congress, what the lawmakers accomplished in the last two years can be measured in different ways. One yardstick: Who backed the most bills that have become law?

The top honor goes to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, according to an analysis of legislative data from GovTrack, an independent congressional tracking website. The second-term Minnesota Democrat has sponsored or co-sponsored 27 bills that have been enacted into law. By comparison, seven senators have seen 12 bills they put their names on — the median number — become law, including Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and Republican Lindsey Graham.

“I’ve always approached this work by putting the people of Minnesota first,” Klobuchar said in an e-mail. “For me, that means working across the aisle to get things done. While it hasn’t been the easiest year to bring people together — OK, that was an understatement — I have gotten to know the people I work with and always look for common ground when I can find it.”

Ten other senators join Klobuchar in the 20-plus club. Despite Republican majorities in both the House and Senate in the 114th Congress, eight of the 11 are Democrats, and, contrary to conventional wisdom, there’s a healthy mix of experience levels included.

The longest-serving senator in the top 11 is Sen. Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate. Hatch was first sworn in as a senator for Utah in 1977. In contrast, the least-experienced senator, New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, is wrapping up her first and final six-year term. She lost her bid for re-election by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Sarah Binder, a George Washington University professor of political science who specializes in Congress and legislative politics, cautioned against defining success in the Senate by hard metrics, such as the number of bills enacted into law. Instead, it’s important to note the dual responsibilities of senators — as lawmakers and as “representatives coming and making present the views of their state.”

Some politicians, she said, may not have their names on many bills that become law, but they have the power to influence the legislative agenda. Most notably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has only sponsored or co-sponsored seven bills that became law, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has seen three of his enacted. No one would question their legislative influence.

A CNN/ORC poll released Sunday found that more than 80 percent of Americans believe the country is more divided on major issues this year than in the past. However, Republican calls for bipartisanship are lower now than they were in 2008, when the Democrats took control of both Congress and the White House.

Still, several of the senators who made the cut for the top 11 from both sides of the political spectrum echoed Klobuchar’s sentiments and emphasized bipartisanship as a factor in their success. In fact, two of the senators on the list — Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat — have worked together to produce bipartisan bills. Blunt told USA Today in June that the two have been friends for about 30 years, and of the about five things they agree upon, “all five of those are now federal law.”

“When Ohioans write my office, they aren’t thinking about whether I’m a Republican or Democrat. They’re thinking about the loss of a job, a bill they’re struggling to pay or the crumbling road they drive to school or work each day,” said Brown, who came in fourth on the list of most bills enacted into law, in an e-mail. “My job is to serve them, and to do that I’ve got to seek out common ground with my colleagues. … We aren’t always successful, but striking up bipartisan conversations on the issues facing our constituents is the first step to passing legislation.”

Bills can be insignificant — such as ones to rename post offices and issue commemorative coins — and newer politicians may be more likely to introduce bills to bolster their records with re-election in view, Binder noted. Because of this, it’s possible that hard metrics could overstate or understate a senator’s influence.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who came in seventh, has been successful because she introduces bills that she believes can become law, spokesman Tom Mentzer said. A look at Feinstein’s legislative record in the 114th Congress shows she has worked on important California issues such as homelessness, which affects her home city of San Francisco, where she was once mayor.

“A willingness to work with both parties and have flexibility to find common ground is vital,” he said in an e-mail. “It goes beyond the bills the senator introduces.”

Feinstein worked closely with Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on a bill related to Lake Tahoe, a popular freshwater lake that straddles the California-Nevada border, Mentzer said.

“She asked him to introduce her own bill because it would have a better chance at passage with a Republican sponsor,” he said. “It’s about getting results, no matter what path that requires.”

Binder said it is not surprising that Democrats are heavy hitters in the Senate — a traditionally more bipartisan chamber — even though Republicans are in control. With President Barack Obama in the White House, that “helps fuel more effort on the Democrats’ side, even when they’re in the minority,” she said.

“Republicans and Democrats disagree on lots of issues, but when bipartisan solutions solve real problems I’m all for it,” Blunt, who ranked eighth in a four-way tie, said in an e-mail. “I’ve worked with my Democrat colleagues to pass legislation to boost manufacturing, expand access to mental health care, reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act, and provide the largest funding increase the National Institutes of Health has received in over a decade. I’ve always looked for areas of common ground where we can work together to address Americans’ priorities, and look forward to continuing that effort.”

The other senators on the top 11 list are Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Chuck Schumer of New York, Chris Coons of Delaware, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

GovTrack compiles data on legislative records. Senators’ bills that became law include those that were enacted via a companion bill in the House.

Husted: Investigation Uncovers Non-Citizens Who Registered to Vote & Illegally Cast Ballots

Cases to be referred to law enforcement for investigation and possible prosecution, plans to renew call for access to federal data to help identify other non-citizens on voter rolls.

COLUMBUS– Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today (Feb. 27) announced that his office has identified an additional 385 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio, 82 of whom have been identified as having voted in at least one election. This brings the total number of non-citizens on Ohio’s voter rolls Secretary Husted has been able to identify using available resources to 821, with 126 of those individuals having actually cast ballots.

Secretary Husted is the first of Ohio’s chief elections officials to initiate a review of Ohio’s Statewide Registered Voter Database (SWRVD) to identify non-citizens on the voter rolls. This is the third review Secretary Husted’s administration has conducted.

“In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Secretary Husted said.

As Secretary Husted has done following similar reviews of the SWRVD in 2013 and 2015, those 82 non-citizens that are registered to vote and have cast ballots will be immediately referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who have not cast a ballot will be sent letters both informing them that non-citizens are not eligible to vote and requesting that they cancel their registration. A follow-up letter will be sent to any individuals that still remain on the rolls after 30 days. Any non-citizens identified that remain on the rolls after being contacted twice will then be referred to law enforcement.

The Secretary of State’s office has been able to identify these non-citizens on the rolls using information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) as applicants are required to provide documentation of their legal presence with their application for a state identification or drivers’ license. The non-citizens were identified by the Secretary of State’s Office using a double confirmation process, which requires a registered voter to have provided documentation to the BMV themselves indicating that they are a non-U.S. Citizen two times before being flagged.

While the process Secretary Husted has implemented using information provided by the BMV has been helpful in working to maintain and protect Ohio’s voter rolls, there are likely additional non-citizens in the SWRVD given the lack of access to more real-time data maintained by the federal government. In February and July of 2015, Secretary wrote then-President Barack Obama requesting that the states be given real-time access to accurate, searchable, electronic databases of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers so that they may distinguish between citizens and lawfully-present non-citizens. That same year, Secretary Husted also testified before a congressional committee about how this type of data can be used by the states to properly maintain their respective voter rolls. In the coming weeks, Secretary Husted plans to renew his call for access to this information.

“I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of Ohio’s elections system,” Secretary Husted said. “When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously and elections officials must have every resource available to them to respond accordingly.”

It should be noted, that none of the cases where a non-citizen is shown to have cast a ballot occurred in jurisdictions where an election was decided by one vote or tied.

Quick Facts:

  • Since taking office in 2011, Secretary Husted has identified 821 non-U.S. Citizens on the state’s voter rolls including 291 in 2013, 145 in 2015 and 385 today.
  • 126 non-U.S. Citizens who have cast at least one ballot in an Ohio election including 17 in 2013, 27 in 2015 and 82 today.
  • Since taking office in 2011, Secretary Husted has:
  • Removed over 541,000 deceased Ohioans from the voter rolls
  • Resolved 1.6 million duplicate registrations.
  • Contacted over 1.65 million Ohioans who are eligible but unregistered to encourage them to register to vote.
  • Launched an online change of address system to make keeping your voter registration up-to-date more convenient. 462,000 voters have used this system.
  • Launched an online voter registration system in January 2017.

Husted Administers Oath of Office to Delaware, Franklin, Hocking, Ross and Union County Election Officials

COLUMBUS– Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted last week (March 3) administered the oath of office to county board of elections members from around Ohio, including Peg Watkins from Delaware County, Michael Sexton from Franklin County, Edward Zell from Hocking County, Diane Carnes from Ross County and Robert Parrott from Union County.

The swearing-in ceremony was held in the State Room of the Ohio Statehouse on February 23, 2017. More information on the event, including a comprehensive list of all board appointees can be located here. You can browse all of the event’s photos by clicking here.

Appointees unavailable to attend last week’s swearing-in must make arrangements to take their oath prior to being seated.

Statement by Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Petee Talley on Andrew Puzder’s Withdrawal as Nominee to be Next Secretary of Labor

Columbus – Earlier today (Feb. 15), Andrew Puzder withdrew himself as Donald Trump’s nominee to become secretary of labor. In response to this development, Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Petee Talley issued the following statement:

“Ohio workers can breathe sigh of relief due to the withdrawal of Andy Puzder’s nomination head the U.S. Department of Labor. Puzder’s record of violating workplace health, safety, wage and overtime rules was evidence that he would never have stood up for workers.”

“Now, we hope Donald Trump will nominate a labor secretary that keeps the promises he made to workers when he was running for office. We stand ready to support such a nominee as long as work is valued and the rights of working people over corporate profits are the order of the day.”

Senate Report: Bringing the Popular Sales Tax Holiday Back to Ohioans this August

Tax Relief for Ohio’s Families

The Senate passed Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park), which would bring back the popular Ohio Sales Tax Holiday August 4-6, in time for the busy back-to-school shopping season. Now in its third year, the tax holiday has proven to be a win-win for parents, students and businesses alike, reducing financial strain on families while increasing sales for local businesses. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

Nearly 150 Gather, Many Speak at Rep. Joyce Townhall

Constituents plan town hall after Rep. Joyce fails to do so

PAINESVILLE, Feb. 27 – About 150 of Rep. Dave Joyce’s constituents gathered at the Veterans Park at Painesville Square for a town hall to raise awareness of their representative’s absence and concern for healthcare, education, immigration, the environment, and more on Saturday. Food Not Bombs of Lake County even brought warm drinks and snacks on this bitterly cold morning.

The event was an open forum for constituents to speak. Over the course of two hours, nearly two dozen got up to tell their story. Many spoke about how the ACA has helped them. A nurse talked about the patients who come in with everything wrong when some basic preventative care would have cost much less. Local farmers talked about the earliest maple sugar season they could recall ever happening in 40 years. A retired school teacher spoke of his concern that education will be gutted by Education Secretary DeVos. A longtime Painseville resident spoke about the need to challenge unjust laws and his experience with undocumented immigrants who attend his church.

“At 29, I’m approaching my ten year cancer-free anniversary. Diagnosed at 19 with a rare (but beatable) form of cancer, from the time I entered the “real” world with my preexisting condition, I’ve been so grateful for the ACA’s role in allowing me to get health insurance,” said speaker Lauren Wolk “I have a number of health issues that stemmed from my treatment that I still have to deal with on a daily basis and for the past 7 years, I haven’t worried about getting health care – switching jobs, moving abroad and back, even during unemployment. The ACA has made it possible to take risks and try new paths because I was not tied to my job due to the need for health insurance.”

“I haven’t done anything like this before,” said Craig Burkhardt “I want to talk about what the ACA has done for me. I never thought that it would really impact my life in a serious fashion, but even with employer sponsored healthcare there are provisions in the ACA that directly affect everybody. Lifetime cap limits, preexisting conditions, mental health benefits.” He continued “About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer… One of the things that happened out of that was I had three surgeries and you can imagine the costs that piled up. Now because of the threat against the ACA my economic mobility has been affected because I don’t know whether or not I can change employment. I’m 62 right now and I’d say to Congressman Joyce, do not do this fallacy that you want more choice. What that means is that you’re going to get rid of lifetime caps, bring back preexisting conditions. Sure, that’ll be cheaper, but it will affect people like me. We’ve tried high risk pools and nobody can afford to spend $20,000 a year on health insurance – not even me and I’m a research scientist. This is not a viable thing to do. Regardless of what speaker Ryan says and the rest of the Republican congress – they don’t have a plan.”

A farmer in Geauga county spoke about her fear of losing Medicare and the 700,000 people who now have healthcare due to the Medicaid expansion. “I’m a farmer. When I buy a piece of equipment that breaks, I don’t throw it out on the curb, I do what is sensible. I call my neighbor, and I don’t ask if he’s a Democrat or a Republican, I just ask ‘can you help me fix my tractor?’ So let’s fix the ACA! Dave last fall you told us you’re not a Washington insider. You told us you were a neighbor and a friend. We believed you. You said “I’m a regular guy fighting for regular people” – well we are your regular people Dave! We are your tax payers and you work for us. You can’t do your job from Washington and behind a telephone if you never come out into your district. Do your job and save our healthcare!”

“We are glad that people were able to make their voices heard today, but we really need to hear from him first-hand about why he is voting to hurt hundreds of thousands of Ohioans,” said Melissa Granke, Event Organizer and a constituent in Rep. Joyce’s district. “We are concerned that Joyce has not held one single town hall or public forum about his plan to rip away health coverage from thousands of his constituents. We agree with the concerns of Governor John Kasich, who wants to know what will happen to the 700,000 Ohioans who have gotten covered under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. If there is a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act and protect these Ohioans, what is the bill number? Where can we read this plan? These are questions that need answers, but unfortunately, we have received only platitudes, but no plan from Congressman Joyce.”

According to an Urban Institute study, 964,000 Ohioans will lose their health coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

District 14 Voters is a progressive democratic group of concerned voters in the 14th District. The group is organizing locally to ensure that representatives are responsive to the needs of it’s residents.

Hearing Recap: Rep. Tiberi’s Obamacare Stories From Ohio

Yesterday (March 8), the Ways and Means Committee approved the American Health Care Act. This legislation will:

· Repeal Obamacare’s massive taxes—including eliminating the unpopular individual and employer mandate penalties that have forced Americans to buy expensive insurance they do not want or need;

· Help Americans access health care options that are tailored to their needs by providing a monthly tax credit; and

· Empower individuals and families to spend their health care dollars the way they want and need by enhancing and expanding Health Savings Accounts.

On background: During the 18 hours of debate and deliberation that ended this morning at 4:30, Congressman Pat Tiberi shared numerous constituent stories about individuals and families paying more for their care and losing access to their doctors under Obamacare.

New Testimonial TV Ad Features Ohio Cancer Survivor and Her Family Urging Senator Rob Portman Not To Repeal the Affordable Care Act

Wooster, OH – Today (Feb. 23), the Save My Care campaign released a powerful new testimonial television ad featuring Paula Chenevy, a Wooster, Ohio resident battling breast cancer, and her family making clear that she would be forced to stop treatment if Republicans are successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act. Senator Rob Portman is supporting Congressional Republican efforts to repeal health care reform and 964,000 Ohioans of access to the affordable and quality health care that she depends on. The six-figure ad buy will run nationally on cable and in broadcast in Ohio.

In the ad, Paula is joined by her two grandchildren. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion enables her to afford ongoing treatment for her breast cancer. Her grandchildren ask Senator Rob Portman to consider their grandmother’s life as he weighs repealing the health reform law.

“I have an aggressive stage IV metastatic breast cancer. It’s metastasized to brain and liver,” says Paula Chenevy in the ad running in Ohio. “The Affordable Care Act saved my life.”

Paula’s ad is being released with a corresponding ad featuring Dennis Wallace of Nashville, Tennessee. A registered Republican who voted for Donald Trump in the November election, Dennis is an esophageal cancer survivor. Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he was denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition. He was only able to afford treatments through the health law. Dennis’ ad will air in broadcast in Tennessee and nationally on cable.

Despite widespread public disapproval, Congressional Republicans are pushing forward with a plan that will repeal the Affordable Care Act and cause over 30 million Americans to lose their health insurance coverage.

The ads go on air one month into the Save My Care Bus two-month bus tour. During the Congressional recess this week, the bus is in Atlanta, Nashville, and Tallahassee. So far, the bus has held more than 30 rallies in 14 states and travelled 7,457 miles telling the stories of the more than 30 million Americans who will lose their health care under Congress’ dangerous repeal plan.

Ohio Gains More Than 1,000 Solar Jobs in 2016

National Solar Jobs Census finds solar employment increased in 44 of the 50 states, grew by 25 percent nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio gained 1,020 solar industry jobs in 2016, representing a 21 percent increase in the state’s solar workforce, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016 released by The Solar Foundation. Ohio now has a total of 5,831 solar workers, up from 4,811 in 2015.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 is The Solar Foundation’s seventh annual report on the solar workforce nationwide and by state. The report found the American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, in a year when one out of every fifty new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry.

Nationwide, solar industry employment outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times as it increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. The American solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015, the largest annual growth percentage since The Solar Foundation’s first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

The number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states in 2016, showing that solar industry growth is truly a nationwide phenomenon. The state with the highest total number of solar jobs in 2016 was California, followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and Florida. A complete list of the number of solar jobs by state, along with state growth rates over 2015, can be found at SolarJobsCensus.org.

“With a near tripling of solar jobs since 2010, the solar industry is an American success story that has created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “In 2016, we saw a dramatic increase in the solar workforce across the nation, thanks to a rapid decrease in the cost of solar panels and unprecedented consumer demand for solar installations. More than ever, it’s clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient.”

Solar job growth in 2016 took place in all job sectors, including a 26 percent growth in manufacturing companies to 38,121 jobs nationwide. Installation jobs increased by 14 percent to a total of 137,133 jobs. Project development jobs increased by 53 percent to 34,400 jobs, while sales and distribution jobs increased by 32 percent to 32,147 jobs.

Nine percent of solar workers nationwide are veterans, compared to 7 percent in the overall U.S. workforce. Census 2016 also found that the percentage of solar workers who are women increased from 24 percent in 2015 to 28 percent in 2016, the percentage of African-American solar workers increased from 5 percent to 7 percent, and the percentage of Latino/Hispanic solar workers increased from 11 percent to 17 percent.

“It’s really a wide range of people that get hired into this industry, everybody from certified and licensed engineers to those who first learned about a solar project when we were building one in their area,” said George Hershman, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Swinerton Renewable Energy. “A great aspect of this business is that it isn’t an exclusionary trade. It’s a teachable job that can create opportunity for people and give them a skill.”

“Renewable energy use translates to bottom-line benefits such as lower and more stable energy costs for GM in the long term,” said Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewable Energy at General Motors. “With more than 67 megawatts of solar housed at 24 facilities across the globe, we see the power of sunshine as an integral part of becoming a more sustainable company.”

“As one of the world’s largest owners of rooftops, Prologis is committed to leveraging its portfolio and capabilities to host solar and other clean energy technologies,” said Matt Singleton, Vice President for Global Energy and Development at Prologis. “As of year-end 2016, nearly 165 MW of rooftop solar is hosted within our global portfolio of modern industrial real estate assets. Increased solar deployment is one important tool in working to address climate change, and one that simultaneously spurs job creation, as shown by The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census.”

“As part of our commitment to sustainability and goal to be energy independent by 2020, IKEA is proud of its 44 MW of solar arrays atop 90 percent of our U.S. locations,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. President. “We are thrilled that our solar investment has helped contribute to rapid growth in the clean tech and renewable energy industry ¾ and the creation of quality jobs and a low-carbon society as a result.”

Since 2010, The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census has defined solar workers as those who spend at least 50 percent of their time on solar-related work. The Solar Foundation has consistently found that approximately 90 percent of these workers spend 100 percent of their time on solar-related work. This year’s Census was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) data collection effort that included more than 500,000 telephone calls and over 60,000 emails to energy establishments in the U.S. between October and November 2016. This resulted in a total of 3,888 full completions for establishments involved in solar activity in the U.S.

The complete National Solar Jobs Census 2016 can be found at SolarJobsCensus.org.

About The Solar Foundation

The Solar Foundation® is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate adoption of the world’s most abundant energy source. Through its leadership, research, and capacity building, The Solar Foundation creates transformative solutions to achieve a prosperous future in which solar technology is integrated into all aspects of our lives. The Solar Foundation is considered the premier research organization on the solar labor workforce, employer trends, and the economic impacts of solar. It has provided expert advice to leading organizations such as the National Academies, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others during a time of dynamic industry growth and policy and economic uncertainty. Visit us at TheSolarFoundation.org.

Brown’s Bill Would Provide Support to Caregivers for Veterans of All Eras

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (March 15), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted bipartisan legislation to expand support for veterans’ caregivers. Brown’s bill, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, would make resources available to eligible family members or loved ones who care for veterans, including child care, financial assistance, and legal counseling. The bill would also give veterans who participate in the program the opportunity to transfer GI benefits to a dependent who acts as a caregiver.

Post-9/11 veterans and their caregivers are already eligible for this support. Brown’s bill would expand the program to cover veterans and caregivers from all eras.

“Whether they served in recent conflicts or sacrificed for us in earlier eras, all of our veterans and the loved ones who care for them deserve our support,” said Brown. “The bill would make caregivers for all veterans, regardless of when they served, eligible for support services. These men and women may not wear a uniform, but they sacrifice for our nation all the same.”

Specifically, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act would:

· Extend eligibility for caregiver support services to veterans of all eras

· Allow veterans the opportunity to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent

· Include a broader range of injuries eligible for the caregiver program, including a greater emphasis on mental health injuries

· Expand child care and respite services and provide stipends to offset costs associated with child care, financial advice, and legal counseling

· Coordinate caregiver policies and services among VA departments

During his weekly news conference call, Brown was joined by Dannielle Sedam, a Wilmington resident who helps care for her father, a Vietnam veteran. Ms. Sedam wrote to Brown’s office in support of extending the caregiver program to veterans of all eras.

“Allowing all veterans and their families to be a part of the caregiver program will give families like mine the opportunity to show how much we care and give us a chance to give them back something when they gave so much,” said Sedam.

Currently, post-9/11 veterans who have sustained a serious mental or physical injury and require assistance carrying out daily living activities are eligible for the VA caregiver program. Brown’s bill would phase in new veterans to the caregiver program based on need to maintain quality service for veterans and their caregivers.

February 2017 was Second Best Month for New Businesses in Ohio History

Cut in Filing Fees Now Saved Businesses over $3.3 Million

COLUMBUS– Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced 10,204 new entities filed to do business in Ohio during February 2017, an increase of 803 entities when compared to February 2016. This makes February the second best month for new businesses in Ohio history, just behind March 2016.

It has also been 16 months since Secretary Husted reduced the cost of starting and maintaining a business in the Buckeye State by 21 percent. As of February 2017, Ohio businesses have saved over $3.3 million.

Earlier this year Secretary Husted announced that 2016 was the seventh consecutive year the state has seen a record number of new entities filing to do business in Ohio (read more). Based off of record-breaking months for both January and February, Ohio is already on track to have another record number of businesses filed in 2017.

A focal point of Secretary Husted’s administration has been to make the process of starting and maintaining a new business in Ohio simpler and more cost-effective for entrepreneurs. In 2013, the Secretary announced his office would overhaul the paper-only filing system with the launch of Ohio Business Central, which allows businesses to be formed through the click of a button and in significantly less time. Since Ohio Business Central was launched, 218,285 entities have been formed online and over 50% of new Ohio businesses are created using the tool.

Secretary Husted has also started a partnership with Google’s “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program to put additional tools for success in the hands of new Ohio entrepreneurs.

Though the most visible role of the Secretary of State is that of chief elections officer, the office is also the first stop for individuals or companies who want to file and start a business in Ohio. While recognizing these numbers can’t provide a complete picture of Ohio’s jobs climate, they are an important indicator of economic activity that Secretary Husted hopes will add to the ongoing discussion of how to improve the state’s overall climate for business.

NOTE: New business filings are classified as forms filed with the Ohio Secretary of State that declare the formation of a business entity, including for-profit, non-profit and professional corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. Filing as a business in Ohio does not guarantee the company will begin operations, be profitable or create jobs.

The Delaware County Republican Women’s Club met and featured Judge David A. Hejmanowski as the speaker.

The Delaware County Republican Women’s Club met in February and held a regular business meeting with Judge David A. Hejmanowski as the guest speaker. Judge Hejmanowski spoke about the local court system, programs and supports for children and families in our community, and how we can get involved. The meeting was held at the Delaware County Republican Party Headquarters and we had many new and returning members present. The next meeting will be held in May.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/116528391637/

Twitter: @DelCoRepWomen

The Delaware County Republican Women have been active in Delaware County since the early 1940’s and are federated members of the Ohio Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women.

The National Federation of Republican Women is one of the largest political grassroots organizations in the United States. They bring together women to positively impact the direction of our nation, state, and communities. The group’s focus on recruiting, training, and electing candidates; advocating the Republican Party’s philosophy and initiatives; and empowering women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds in the political process. Become a part of our proud history of women supporting the Republican Party by joining today!

BROWN SPONSORS LEGISLATION TO EXPAND HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES

CLEVELAND, OH– U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is cosponsoring legislation that would ensure children of disabled veterans can continue getting health coverage through the VA up to age 26. Private insurance companies already allow children to stay on their parents’ health insurance through age 26, and this bill would give military families the same option.

“When men and women in uniform serve our country, their loved ones serve as well,” said Brown. “This bill allows children of disabled veterans to stay on their parents’ insurance while they go to college or start their careers, the same way that children whose parents have private insurance do today. I’m proud to stand with veterans groups in support of this legislation.”

The CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act increases the eligibility age from 23 to 26 for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (CHAMPVA), which provides health insurance for dependents of disabled veterans and survivors of veterans who have died. The Military Officers Association of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America support the legislation.

Tiberi Introduces the Preserving Investment in Neighborhoods Act

Today (March 7), Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the Preserving Investment in Neighborhoods (PIN) Act, to protect state and local governments’ ability to invest in communities for critical economic development projects. The PIN Act would modify Section 118(a) of the federal tax code to extend federal income tax exemptions to partnerships and Limited Liability Companies taxed as partnerships on capital contributions from state and local governments.

“We want to ensure that we provide the right incentives for state and local governments to work with partnerships to help our communities grow and thrive,” said Rep. Tiberi. “The PIN Act is a commonsense fix to boost private sector investment and encourage job creation in places that need it the most.”

“Chicago is a community of neighborhoods as are many other cities and villages around the country,” said Rep. Davis. “This bill addresses the need for targeted investment in a practical way. Small business, local businesses, generate a significantly greater share of jobs and economic activity than their share of the economy would suggest. Investment in our neighborhoods will stimulate additional investment and leverage each dollar for maximum impact.”

Background

State and local governments invest in economic development in order to leverage private capital for important local projects. This public investment can be in the form of real property or easements, or it can be in the form of capital to assist with the costs of demolition, environmental remediation, or infrastructure for new development or re-development. These investments are intended to help provide additional services and revenues to the community.

The Problem

Dating back to 1925, courts have treated this type of investment as a tax-free “contribution to capital.” However, codification of this rule under Section 118 did not specifically list “partnerships” within its scope, since partnerships were not widely utilized at the time. Due to this omission, the IRS currently does not extend federal income tax exemptions to partnerships on capital contributions from state and local governments.

This decision significantly limits the impact of state and local funds dedicated to underserved markets and effectively discourages real estate partnerships from investing in areas with the greatest need.

The Solution

The PIN Act extends the application of Section 118(a) principles to partnerships to support much needed private sector investment in critical economic development projects.

Brown votes against Trump nominee

Seema Verma Crafted Ohio Proposal that Would have Increased Costs for Nearly One Million Ohioans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today (March 8) voted against the confirmation of Seema Verma, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Centers from Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“We cannot put the healthcare of the millions of Ohioans who rely on Medicaid and Medicare in the hands of Seema Verma, who has spent the last 20 years making it harder for families to get the care they need,” said Brown.

Verma helped the State of Ohio craft a proposal that would have increased healthcare costs for nearly one million Ohioans, including those struggling with addiction and former foster youth. It was rejected by the Obama Administration and would have forced Ohioans on Medicaid who cannot afford monthly premiums to be locked out of coverage.

During a hearing last month, Brown pressed Verma with tough questions on how she’ll work to improve healthcare for Ohioans and reiterated his opposition to raising the Medicare eligibility age and forcing Ohioans to work more years before accessing the Medicare benefits they’ve earned.

As CMS Administrator, Verma would be responsible for administering Medicare and assisting in overseeing both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Brown, who has led Senate efforts to extend and expand CHIP secured a commitment from Verma and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to work with him on extending CHIP – which will expire this year and insures 130,000 Ohio children.

Brown also secured a commitment from Verma to meet with Ohio’s new Medicaid Director Barbara Sears if confirmed to foster a positive relationship between the state of Ohio and CMS to better serve the millions of Ohioans who rely on Medicaid.

Study: Delaware County Ranks Among Most Paycheck-Friendly Places in Ohio

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, set out to find the most paycheck-friendly places in Ohio, and Delaware County made the list:

Rank; County; Semi-Monthly Paycheck; Purchasing Power; Unemployment Rate; Income Growth; Paycheck Friendliness Index

1 Delaware, OH $1,605 3.07x 3.7% 1.6% 58.67

2 Geauga, OH $1,616 2.37x 4.6% 0.8% 55.06

3 Lawrence, OH $1,629 1.50x 6.6% 4.4% 54.90

4 Holmes, OH $1,627 1.68x 3.7% 1.1% 54.75

5 Warren, OH $1,612 2.49x 4.2% 0.6% 54.64

6 Medina, OH $1,617 2.23x 4.5% -0.0% 53.36

7 Belmont, OH $1,629 1.51x 6.9% 2.7% 52.20

8 Hocking, OH $1,627 1.51x 4.9% 1.0% 51.98

9 Ottawa, OH $1,622 1.87x 5.0% 0.1% 51.71

10 Clermont, OH $1,614 2.06x 4.4% 1.1% 51.70

Top counties were weighed based on local purchasing power, income growth, and unemployment rate. Additional details on the study, including methodology and an interactive map, can be found here: https://smartasset.com/taxes/ohio-paycheck-calculator#ohio/overall

Brown urges Trump to back Export-Import Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following President Trump’s meeting with business leaders today (Feb. 23) to discuss job creation, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the President to promptly submit nominations to the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board of directors in order to restore the bank’s full lending powers. The Ex-Im Bank’s ability to boost American manufacturing jobs has been hobbled by the lack of a board member.

With three empty seats on its five-member board of directors, Ex-Im lacks a quorum, which means the bank cannot approve any medium- or long-term transactions – generally those valued over $10 million. As a result, Ex-Im has a $30 billion backlog of loan applications that need the board’s approval. These delays are hurting U.S. workers, businesses, and their supply chains.

“The Export-Import Bank needs to function at full capacity so that it can help American businesses of all sizes – including the thousands of companies in supply chains in my state alone – grow, create jobs, and compete,” said Brown, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “General Electric and other companies have already made plans to move jobs out of the United States to take advantage of export financing abroad. If President Trump is serious about helping American manufacturing workers, he should call on Senate Republicans to get Ex-Im back to full strength before we lose out on even more U.S. jobs.”

For more than a year, Senate Republicans have blocked Ex-Im board nominees, including Mark McWatters, a Republican, and Claudia Slacik, a Democrat. McWatters was a top aide to House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and was recommended for the Ex-Im post by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In the last Congress, Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings or confirmation votes on McWatters and Slacik.

President Obama re-nominated Slacik to Ex-Im’s board in January. Also last month, President Trump appointed McWatters as acting chairman of the National Credit Union Administration.

Ohio Medicaid Expansion Beneficiary Joins Democratic Leaders Schumer and Pelosi, Sen. Hassan To Call On Ohio Lawmakers To Not Take Care From Ohioans

Paula Cheveny Flew To DC To Ask Senators Portman and Rep. Renacci Not To Take Her Care

Washington, DC – Today (March 14), Wooster Ohio Resident and Medicaid Expansion beneficiary Paula Chenevey spoke at the U.S. Capitol to ask Senator Rob Portman and Rep. Renacci to vote against the House GOP’s health care repeal bill. Paula is currently battling Stage IV Breast Cancer and relies on Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion to pay for her treatment. The current GOP bill would end Ohio’s Medicaid expansion as well as reduce subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to afford insurance.

Paula joined Democratic Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Senator Maggie Hassan and the National Save My Care Bus Tour at the U.S. Capitol to hold a press event marking the finale of the two-month long bus tour to tell the story of those who stand to lose care under the GOP plan. After traveling more than 14,000 miles through 23 states and holding more than 50 events, the Save My Care Bus made its final stop in D.C.

“The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion is the only way I can afford my Breast Cancer Treatment.” said Paula Cheveny, a grandmother from Wooster, Ohio who is currently battling Stage IV Breast Cancer. “I want lawmakers to understand that health care is a personal issue not a political one.”

“Millions of families are calling on Congress to ‘Save My Care’ – and our fight grew more urgent after the CBO revealed the consequences of the Republican’s Reverse Robin Hood plan to steal $600 billion from working people’s health care to give to the rich.” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “The CBO has exposed Republicans’ ‘Pay More For Less’ bill as the merciless assault on working families it is. The only act of mercy is to pull this bill.”

“It’s clear that Trumpcare would hurt families in New Hampshire and across America by ending Medicaid expansion, increasing premiums, causing millions to lose coverage, and defunding Planned Parenthood,” said Senator Hassan.“I will stand strong in fighting against this dangerous bill that would pull us backward.”

In addition to Paula, ACA beneficiaries from Tennessee and Arizona also spoke at the event.

Today’s event follows yesterday’s report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showing that 24 million people will lose health coverage over the next decade under Congressional Republicans’ health plan. The White House’s own intern analysis shows that 26 million Americans will lose health insurance under their plan.

Employment trends expert explains why Pres. Trump will certainly raise the minimum wage

Not many people expect that President Trump will raise the minimum wage. In fact, during the primaries, he famously declared that American wages were already “too high.” However, he later declared that he believes the issue should be left to the states, implying that he would not make any federal changes to the minimum wage as president.

However, Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA and employment trends expert, believes otherwise, saying, “The minimum wage has not changed on a national level since July 2009. Meanwhile, the cost of living has continued to increase, so we are certainly due for a change. While his opponent Hillary Clinton was vocal about seeking $15/hr for the federal minimum wage, President Trump will certainly not go anywhere near that high.”

Instead, Wilson believes that he will likely move the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, in a slow progress towards a goal of $10 an hour.

“I do believe that President Trump will raise wages during his presidency, but it is far from the top of his to-do list. Hence, I would expect it to be a number of years before minimum wage employees will see their paychecks make any notable increase.”

Wilson closes by saying, “Employers should begin making preparations now for a higher minimum wage. Although the change will be incremental, previous minimum wage experiments in cities such as Seattle have shown the devastating impact that minimum wage hikes can have for both employers and employees.”

Brown Highlighted Senate’s Failure to Protect Miners’ Healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today (March 14) called on his Senate colleagues to work with him on a solution to save Ohio coal miners’ healthcare and pensions. The Senate has failed to provide a permanent healthcare fix for miners, thousands of which will lose health coverage in just weeks. Brown reintroduced the Miners Protection Act in January 2017 and fought in December 2016 for a long-term solution to honor the promise to our nation’s miners.

“When Wall Street needed a bailout, Washington came to the rescue. But now that hardworking people who powered this country need a little help, Congress is turning its back. It’s shameful,” said Brown. “Nothing is more important than keeping our promise to the hardworking men and women we work for. And I call on this committee and the full Senate to take action on the bipartisan solution we have to save the full health care and retirement security these miners earned.”

The UMWA’s 1974 pension plan was 94 percent funded prior to 2008. Due to many factors, including the financial crisis and fewer active workers, the plan is now severely underfunded – putting the health care and benefits of retirees in jeopardy. If the plan becomes insolvent, retirees could see reductions in their monthly pension checks. Brown is an original cosponsor of the Miners Protection Act to address the shortfall in the UMWA 1974 pension plan.

In December, the Senate passed a continuing resolution that included a four-month proposal to fund retired miners’ healthcare for the duration of the continuing resolution, which ends in April. Brown and his colleagues fought to include the long-term solution in the bill.

Tiberi Statement on February Jobs Report

U. S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, today (March 10) issued the following statement regarding the employment report for February 2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“With a job gain of 235,000, today’s report is an encouraging start to the next chapter of our economic recovery. Americans are optimistic as we are taking the promised steps to expand opportunity and put American employers and American families first by reducing burdensome regulations, overhauling our outdated tax code, and focusing health care on the patient. This is an exciting time – Americans left on the sidelines are reentering the job market and are seeing the possibilities for growth and a brighter future.”

Note: Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the U.S. economy added 235,000 non-farm payroll jobs in February and the unemployment rate has dropped slightly to 4.7 percent. The labor force participation rate ticked up to 63.0 percent. The employment-to-population ratio reached 60 percent in February for the first time since 2009.

AS U.S. RECEIVES “D+” on National infrastructure report card, Brown highlights need for Significant infrastructure investment

Ohio Motorists Spend $475 Annually on Costs Accrued from Driving on Roads in Need of Repair

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (March 9), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted the need for significant infrastructure investment as the U.S. received a “D+” on the American Society for Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) 2017 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

According to an ASCE Ohio fact sheet compiled as part of the report, 17 percent of the state’s public roads are in poor condition and Ohio motorists spend $475 annually on costs accrued from driving on roads in need of repair.

“This report card is the latest reminder that we have let our infrastructure fall behind for far too long,” said Brown. “We need to put Ohioans to work rebuilding and repairing the country’s infrastructure with American iron and steel. I’m ready to get to work with the Administration to find a way to put President Trump’s promise of $1 trillion in infrastructure investment into action.”

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported President Trump’s statements about his initial conditions for states seeking federal funding for infrastructure projects. During his campaign, Trump promised $1 trillion of investment in American infrastructure and Brown joined Senate colleagues in January to release a roadmap for making that promise a reality. As part of the plan, Brown included Buy America language to ensure American infrastructure is built by American workers, using American iron and steel.

Sen. Brown also wrote to President Trump and shared legislation to ensure that Buy America rules apply to all taxpayer-funded public works and infrastructure projects to ensure that American tax dollars support American manufacturing and domestic jobs.

Grade for Nation’s Lawmakers Drops to a Dismal D

In Annual Experts’ Survey on Congress’s Performance

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Feb. 16 — The job performance of Congress has slipped from bad to worse, in the opinion of a group of academic experts from across the country who were asked to evaluate the institution by the Indiana University Center on Representative Government. From a C-minus in 2015, Congress slipped to a grade of D for 2016.

“A very sizable majority of the experts think Congress’s record was extremely poor over the past year,” said Edward G. Carmines, Distinguished Professor, Warner O. Chapman Professor of Political Science and Rudy Professor at Indiana University.

What’s more, the preponderant view among the experts is that the worse is yet to come. In response to the question, “Overall, do you see signs from this past year that Congress will be working better in the future?” 52 percent replied “things will get worse,” while only 12 percent said “things will get better.”

That’s a markedly gloomier outlook than a year ago, when Paul Ryan had fairly recently succeeded John Boehner as House Speaker. Then, 33 percent of the experts thought things would be better, and only 11 percent expected worse.

“The view the experts had at the end of 2015 that things would get better was not realized,” said Carmines. “Their hopes were dashed” by the contentious, election-year second session of the 114th Congress.

In the 2015 survey, only 15 percent of the experts said they thought polarization in Congress would increase. But in the 2016 survey, almost 40 percent predict more intense polarization ahead. “It’s not very encouraging,” said Carmines.

Congress hit D-grade depths on four measurements: “protecting its powers from presidential encroachment,” “keeping the role of special interests within proper bounds,” “fulfilling its national policy-making responsibilities,” and “considering the long-term implications of policy issues, not just short term.”

Also, the House earned a grade of D-minus on “keeping excessive partisanship in check,” as more than half the experts gave the House a flunking F on that measure. The Senate fared only a little better; its 2016 performance restraining excessive partisanship was gauged a D-plus.

Nearly 60 percent of the experts described incivility in Congress as “a major problem.”

“Contemporary members of Congress are very good at attacking political opponents, but not so adept at governing,” said Lee Hamilton, who served 34 years in the House and is now a distinguished scholar at Indiana University and a senior advisor to its Center on Representative Government. “But what we’ve seen in recent years on Capitol Hill does not need to be the future. Congress can get things done. It takes the right kind of legislators — individuals willing to negotiate, compromise, and forge a consensus from the vastly different points of view that are inevitable in a diverse nation.”

The 2016 survey showed a glimmer of improvement in one performance measurement: On the question, “Does Congress exercise its proper role in setting the legislative agenda?” experts gave a C-plus grade, up from a C in 2015.

“This area will be interesting to watch in 2017, with Congress and the White House in the hands of the same party for the first time in six years,” said Michael M. Sample, IU vice president for public affairs and government relations and director of the Center on Representative Government. “Will the 115th Congress be subservient to executive power, or will legislators be assertive in dealing with the new president and take a more independent posture in policy-making?”

In the 11 years the Center has conducted the experts’ survey, members of Congress generally have gotten decent marks on keeping in touch with the public. This was again the case in 2016, with the survey’s highest grade, a B, coming on the question, “Do legislators make a good effort to be accessible to their constituents?” The question, “Does Congress make its workings and activities open to the public?” drew a B-minus grade from the experts.

Several questions in the annual survey ask the experts to assess the public’s knowledge of and interaction with Congress. In the history of the survey, the public has never rated highly, and the results for 2016 fit the pattern.

The public got across-the-board D grades for “understanding the main features of Congress and how it works,” “following what is going on in Congress on a regular basis,” and “understanding the role of compromise in Congress.” The public got a C-minus for “voting in congressional elections,” and C grades for “working through groups that share their interests to influence Congress” and for “contacting their members of Congress on issues that concern them.”

The experts also were critical of the job the media and the education system do in informing the citizenry about Congress. “How well does the media coverage of Congress contribute to the public’s understanding of Congress?” drew a D-plus grade, and “How well does our educational system provide students with a good understanding of the role of Congress in our representative democracy?” drew a C-minus.

Data on 2016 were collected online in December and January, after the 114th Congress adjourned; the survey elicited the opinions of a select group of 33 top academic experts on Congress from around the country.

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