Minority Democrats In House And Senate Talk Up Their "Must-Do" Items This Year

Jan 5, 2016

When lawmakers come back to the Statehouse, Republicans in the legislature are likely to push bills changing  the rules for unemployment compensation, on fetal remains from abortions and on public records and the missions of state agencies. But Democrats in the House and Senate have items they want to draw attention to as well.

Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) said his caucus is worried about college affordability and the state’s shift in reliance from income to consumption or sales taxes. While headline-making bills often come from the House, Strahorn said that may not be the case this year.  “I can tell you traditionally, we don’t do a ton of controversial, heavy-duty stuff in an election year. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do some significant things," Strahorn said. And he said in this campaign year, Democrats will also pay special attention to explaining how actions lawmakers take on taxes and other issues affect average Ohioans.

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) said his caucus, like the Republican one, will have a retreat to set its priorities. “We do one every year at the beginning of the year, dealing with not only the legislative piece but also the campaign piece because you have to make sure everybody understands what’s coming up with the campaign,” Schiavoni said.  Likely priority items are a water quality infrastructure bond issue to take to voters this fall, along with medical marijuana and changing the way federal lawmakers’ districts are drawn.