Columbus –Today, the Ohio Statehouse passed Senate Bill 134, which names numerous roads and bridges across the state after great Ohioans. This legislation includes three bills offered by Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) earlier this year. Senator Schiavoni’s portions of SB 134 will name two highways and a bridge in the Mahoning Valley.

“It is a privilege to be able to honor those who sacrificed their lives to protect our citizens,” said Senator Schiavoni.

The bill honors two fallen Poland Township police officers. The first, a portion of State Route 170 in Mahoning County, will be designated as the “Poland Township Police Officer Richard E. Becker Memorial Highway.” This commemorates Richard Becker, an officer who was killed in the line of duty. Another highway, a portion of U.S. Route 224 in Mahoning County, will be named the “Poland Township Police Officer Charles K. Yates Memorial Highway.” Patrolman Yates served with the department for six years before his death.

SB 134 also renames the bridge on Mahoning Avenue that spans State Route 11 in Austintown Township. The bridge will now be called the “Women Veterans Bridge,” to honor women veterans across the state.

“Veterans have sacrificed so much for all Ohioans. As we continue to fight for policy changes that assist our men and women in uniform, it’s important that we also acknowledge that women represent one in five of those currently serving. I’m pleased that we finally gave women veterans credit for their achievements,” said Schiavoni.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. 

 
 
  

Columbus - Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 134 to designate the portion of I-271 between mile markers 28 and 32 in Beachwood as the “Captain Michael Palumbo Memorial Highway”.

“I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to know Michael and his family over the years,” said Senator Yuko. “He truly was an incredible man and a true hero. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of firefighters.”

The bill was originally introduced by Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) as Senate Bill 161. It will now go to Governor John Kasich to be signed into law.

Michael Palumbo Jr. was born in Cleveland on December 26, 1967. Palumbo was a dedicated firefighter who served both Beachwood and Willowick Fire Departments for over 25 years. At Beachwood Fire Department, he was captain, SWAT medic, part of the hazmat team and a member of the honor guard. He also was a member of Local 2388. Michael died on May 24, 2017 after a long battle with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. He leaves behind his wife of 23 years and five children.

“Naming this highway in his honor is a small way to thank Captain Palumbo for his service and sacrifice, and for communities in Northeast Ohio to show appreciation and gratitude,” said Senator Yuko. “We will remember him as a spirited and caring man who contributed immeasurably to the world around him.” 

 
 
  

COLUMBUS— Today, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 62, which designates July 8 as Harrison Dilliard Day. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), will now go to Governor John Kasich to be signed into law.

“Harrison Dillard is one of the world’s most consistent and accomplished hurdlers. He is an inspiration to all Ohioans, both on and off the track,” said Senator Yuko. “He has represented our great state on the world stage with honor and we should be proud to give him the recognition he deserves.”

William Harrison Dillard, who was born in Cleveland, is the only man in history to win Olympic medals in both sprinting and hurdling events. At the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, he won gold in in the 100-meter sprint, for which he also tied the world record, and in the 4x100-meter relay. At the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, he won gold for the 110-meter hurdles and the 4x100-meter relay.

“This recognition is long overdue. Northeast Ohio should be proud of being the home of this incredible athlete,” said Senator Yuko. “I hope his legacy will continue to inspire people and athletes across the country.”

 
 
  

Columbus - Today, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) announced the appointment of Mike Rowe as the new Chief of Staff of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus.

“Mike has been a great asset to our caucus while serving as Communications Director for nearly nine years,” said Senator Yuko. “He has the knowledge, experience and communications skills to do an outstanding job as our Chief of Staff.”

Rowe, who will begin his new role on December 18, joined the Democratic caucus in 2009.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as Chief of Staff for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus,” Rowe said. “We have a tremendous group of senators and a terrific staff and I look forward to helping our caucus achieve its goals for 2018 and beyond.”

A native of Sugarcreek, Ohio, Rowe is a former TV news anchor in Columbus and Youngstown and a graduate of Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS—Today, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 18 to urge Congress to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act and adopt a new version of the International Symbol of Access that depicts a wheelchair user in an active and engaged way.

“The handicap symbol is long overdue for an update,” said Senator Yuko. “Updating this 50-year-old sign is a way to change our perceptions of people with disabilities. It is important for the new sign to show mobility because many people with disabilities are fully independent and enjoy a very active lifestyle.”                                                                                                

Shown above, the new symbol features a person on a wheelchair whose body is in motion, with the head and upper body leaning forward and the arms pushing backwards. The resolution calls for the new version of the symbol to replace the current International Symbol of Access. All new signs would use the new symbol and old signs would be replaced with the new symbol when they become worn out.

The concurrent resolution had also been introduced in the 131st General Assembly as SCR 24.

 
 
  

COLUMBUS – State Senator Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) announced today that the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 15, which designates 2018 as “Ohio’s Year of the Trails”. Co-sponsored by Sen. O’Brien and Sen. Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), SCR 15 encourages Ohioans to take advantage of their local trail network, pays tribute to those who maintain and improve the trails and advocates for more trail segments to be connected.

“By bringing awareness to the extensive trails network in our state, we can recognize the people who have helped make it a reality and, hopefully, facilitate its continued improvement for years to come,” said Sen. O’Brien. “Additionally, this would give the Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus a designated timeframe in which to achieve some of the goals we discussed during our initial meeting in May.”

The OLTC is a group of state legislators from both parties and both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly that advocates for the development, maintenance and preservation of Ohio’s non-motorized trails. The group is co-chaired by Sens. O’Brien and Wilson and is the first of its kind in the nation at the state level.

“Ohio is home to more than 3,500 miles of trails that are used for a variety of activities including walking, biking, horseback riding, rolling and paddling,” said O’Brien. “Not only do these pathways provide significant economic and environmental benefits, but they are also an important feature in helping to improve Ohioans’ quality of life, encouraging community connections and promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

SCR 15, which now moves to the House of Representatives, had a bi-partisan group of co-sponsors, including the majority of OLTC members in the Senate. Additional information, including a draft of the document and its current legislative status, is available here.

 
 
  

Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) issued the following statement after the death of former Ohio Senate President Bill Harris:

“My wife, Pam, and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Bill Harris.  President Harris always displayed a strong sense of duty and dedicated much of his life to public service as a Marine Corps officer and state legislator.  He was also a successful businessman and dedicated family man.  We honor his service to our country and to the citizens of the state of Ohio.”

 
 
  

COLUMBUS –Today, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) praised the City of Campbell for securing an interest free loan from the Ohio EPA to establish an emergency drinking water connection with the City of Youngstown. The system will be used to ensure clean safe water is distributed to the city in case of a water main break or a harmful algal bloom outbreak.

“I am happy to see Campbell and Youngstown are planning ahead to ensure their citizens have access to clean water,” said Senator Schiavoni. “We often see governments having to react in emergency situations, like in Flint Michigan. I’m glad cities here in the Mahoning Valley are preparing so our citizens never have to experience something like that.”

Eligible projects for funding from the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) include design and construction loans used to replace, rehabilitate, upgrade, expand or put in new water treatment plants and their components. Assistance can also be given to public drinking water systems in numerous areas such as planning, design and construction.

“I am very pleased to see our two communities working together to help each other,” said Campbell Mayor Nick Phillips.  “This new drinking water connection is a big idea and everybody came together to make it happen.”

Receiving these loan funds will allow the city of Campbell to save approximately $185,000 on the project. 

 
 
  

Columbus - Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduced a Senate Concurrent Resolution to urge the President and Congress to create a national bank dedicated to funding repair, renewal and construction projects of national scope, such as modern high-speed rail, water systems and power projects.

“States often find themselves having to use limited financial resources to fix large-scale infrastructure problems,” said Senator Schiavoni. “This bank would give the additional financial support that is needed to begin rebuilding our country’s failing infrastructure. We know it will work because the bank would be modeled after the successful national banks that built this country.”

These projects will not add new debt and have the potential to raise the output and productivity of the American economy. The projects will adhere to prevailing wage levels. In order to maintain local control, the bill also allows the national bank to partner with entities such as state and local governments, banks and credit unions.

SCR 17, which was introduced last week, is being co-sponsored by Democratic leadership in the Senate. Eleven other states have introduced similar legislation. 

 
 
  

Columbus –Today, Senators Edna Brown (D-Toledo) and Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) provided testimony on Senate Bill 118 before the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee. The legislation would enable peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder arising from employment without an accompanying physical injury to be eligible for compensation and benefits under Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law.

“I’ve championed this cause for three consecutive General Assemblies,” said Senator Brown. “PTSD has rightfully received attention in the realm of military service. We also need to extend that attention to our first responders, whom we rely on daily to protect and save the lives of others.”

The Center for Disease Control describes post-traumatic stress disorder as an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of a traumatic event for many weeks or months after the event occurred. About half of those suffering from PTSD recover without treatment. However, for those with severe symptoms, the disorder can disrupt their lives to the point where intervention is required.

“I think it’s also important to emphasize that we are not talking about people permanently leaving the workforce after receiving BWC benefits,” said Senator Brown. “Our goal is to give them the resources they need to deal with PTSD quickly and effectively when the symptoms first appear. By providing treatment right away, we can help these brave men and women heal and continue serving their communities.”

 
 
  
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