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In Budget Talks, Ohio House Democrats Push Paid Family Leave, Minimum Wage Hike

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)
Paul Vernon
Associated Press
Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

As the Ohio House prepares to hold hearings on Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed operating budget, Democratic members want to make sure their priorities are considered.

Democrats say Ohio has the promise of rewarding hard work. Their “Ohio Promise” plan includes proposals like a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and health care security.

"If you work hard, you can get ahead,” says state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington). “This means fighting for better and equal wages for all Ohioans. Expanding opportunity for women and minority business owners. And working together to put money back into the pockets of working families.”

The House minority caucus is in an interesting position, since half of Republican Speaker Larry Householder’s votes came from Democrats. That being said, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes believes their plan can appeal to all of the state’s top leaders.

“We are hopeful the speaker, the governor, the Senate president will take a hold of our thoughts and ideas because I would hope they are just as concerned with the things that we are and are willing to work with us to make sure Ohio is a place where everyone would want to stay, remain, and move to if necessary,” Sykes says.

The Democrats’ list also includes fewer rules on wind farms, automatic voter registration and restrictions on a tax deduction that allows small businesses to take their first $250,000 of income tax free.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.