Democrats in Ohio’s Senate have laid out their priorities for the upcoming budget.
Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) says the pandemic has underscored the need for investment in education and services for Ohioans.
“Our caucus is committed to enacting legislation that provides fairness for families and the workers," Yuko says.
The small Democratic Senate caucus also wants school funding reform. Sen Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) says there's already a blueprint for doing that. She suggests the legislature pick up the legislation from the last General Assembly that already has bipartisan support.
Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale) says he will continue to push for bills to reduce gun violence, saying Ohioans who chanted for state leaders to "do something" in the days following the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton have not seen reforms that would prevent violent acts like that in the future.
Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) says this budget needs to provide money for COVID-19 vaccines, PPE, testing and a public awareness campaign to make sure all Ohioans know how to protect themselves from the potentially deadly virus.
Sen. Hearcal Craig (D- Columbus) says the state needs to tackle racism in all forms including health care, education, housing and more.
Sen Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) says the state must do more to help small businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans and other minority groups, by removing barriers and making their path to success more attainable.
And Sen Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) says the budget needs to do more to help local governments whose budges she says have been strained trying to deal with the problems created by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Democrats say some bills they’ll introduce already have bipartisan support, like the plan to expand broadband service in Ohio. They say they will be working hard to make sure voters know where legislators stand on key bills. And they say they hope the upcoming redistricting process will make state government leaders more accountable to their voters.