(Plain Press, April 2017) Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE), a community based coalition working to make the community’s voice heard in the State of Ohio’s legislative process, is currently mobilizing residents to lobby the State Legislature concerning the next two-year state budget. On March 29th, local members of NOBLE boarded a bus from Merrick House in the Tremont neighborhood for a trip to Columbus, Ohio to lobby the state legislature. In a Platform summary, NOBLE lists items that it would like addressed in the budget, which they hope will fund many programs in the State of Ohio from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019.
Topics addressed in the NOBLE Platform include: education, revenue sources, housing, health and human services; child care; kinship care; elder care; care for people with disabilities; health care and Medicaid; cash assistance; food assistance; transportation; and restoring the local government fund to 2010 levels.
For those that want to help, NOBLE suggests emailing a letter or calling certain members of the State Legislature to address issues that NOBLE believes should be addressed in the budget. Here are some of the issues NOBLE suggests acting on by sending a letter to your State Representative or State Senator, as well as a person in the leadership of the Ohio Legislature.
NOBLE suggests writing a letter or calling State Representative Ryan Smith, Chair of the House Finance Committee, to ask him to increase the Child Care Subsidy from 130% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. This would make it possible for more parents to send their children to quality day care centers while they are working. NOBLE also suggests Representative Ryan Smith as the contact to ask about restoring the local government fund to the 2010-11 levels. Since the local government fund was cut by the State of Ohio, municipalities, townships and counties have had to make serious cuts, impacting the quality of life, health and safety of Ohio’s citizens, says NOBLE. Rep. Ryan Smith can be contacted at: email@example.com or by phone at: 614-466-1366.
Chair of the Health and Human Services Sub-Committee, Representative Mark Romanchuk is the contact person for several issues that NOBLE hopes will be addressed in the state budget. They urge citizens to ask him to increase funding for Adult Protective Services to $10 million for each year in the two-year budget to help counties address the needs of the elderly, as the population of senior citizens continues to increase. Romanchuk is also the contact person to ask about increasing funding for community-based, senior services such as community-based or home-delivered, senior meals and transportation for senior citizens. Romanchuk is the contact person to petition for funding for kinship care. Letter writers or callers should ask for his support on HB 458 which will create the Kinship Care Navigator Program and to also ask him to fully fund it in the 2018-19 biennium Budget. Another issue to bring up to Romanchuk is the need to expand funding for mental health, alcohol and drug addiction services. Especially needed are funds for crisis services and residential detox beds. Representative Mark Romanchuk can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 614-466-5802.
The Speaker of the Ohio House, Rep. Cliff Rosenberger is the suggested contact to call about keeping Medicaid Expansion without any changes. Rosenberger can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 614-466-3506.
The Chair of the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Tim Schaffer is the person to call to make sure the State of Ohio has enough revenue to fund programs that residents want in the state budget. NOBLE urges that he be contacted and asked to hold hearings to review tax loopholes and to reject income tax cuts. Rep. Tim Schaffer can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 614-466-8100.
NOBLE also suggests that the Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Senator Frank LaRose be contacted concerning the need for state funding for Public Transportation. NOBLE urges those contacting Senator LaRose to ask him to have the State of Ohio invest at least 10% of the Transportation Budget into public transit and related alternatives. Senator Rank LaRose can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 614-466-4823.
The area served by the Plain Press has four State Representatives and two State Senators. NOBLE members are urged to contact their State Representative and State Senator as well as the people in the legislative leadership mentioned above.
The members of the State House representing areas served by the Plain Press and their contact information follow: District 10 Representative Bill Patmon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-466-7954; District 11 Representative Stephanie Howse, email@example.com, 614-466-1414; District 13 Representative Nickie Antonio, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-466-5921; and District 14 Representative Martin Sweeney, email@example.com, 614-466-3350.
Members of the State Senate representing areas served by the Plain Press are District 21 State Senator Sandra Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-466-4857; and District 23 State Senator Michael Skindell, email@example.com, 614-466-5123.
To find your State Representative or State Senator go to http://www.legislature.ohio.gov/ and click on Find My Legislators and put in your zip code, and the plus four digits after the zip code.