Story and photo by Jerry Masek
2022 will be the last year of a four-year first term for State Senator Nickie Antonio.
She plans to seek re-election in District 23.
The problem is: Nobody is exactly sure where District 23 is.
The State Map was redrawn after the 2020 Census. A final decision on the map may be announced in early January by the Ohio Supreme Court.
A proposed map shows District 23 covering the majority of the City of Cleveland, a prospect Antonio finds “exciting.”
In 2021, Antonio helped pass “Esther’s Law”, which allows cameras to be installed in patient rooms of nursing homes. She also worked on a bill to enhance stroke protocols, which gives first responders the tools they need to increase survival chances for stroke victims.
The General Assembly’s first session is Jan. 19. There is a lot Antonio hopes to accomplish in 2022.
Abolish the death penalty
She said Senate Bill 103 has bi-partisan support.
“The State of Ohio should not be in the business of executing persons,” she said. “We have a moral obligation to re-consider it. It just does not fit in today’s society. A sentence of life without parole is a better option.”
“To date, Ohio has exonerated 11 people, who were found to be not guilty. If even one innocent person is executed, it is one person too many.”
She said that since the punishment was reinstated in 1976, Ohio has executed 56 people. This means that for every five executions, one person has been exonerated.
Pass the Ohio Fairness Act
She said that Senate Bill 119 has bi-partisan support, and similar bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate.
“This is an economic vitality bill, supported by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and over a thousand Ohio businesses. It will keep businesses in the State, and keep some residents here by welcoming all families and as an issue of fairness, it’s the right thing to do.”
Antonio said that more than 1,000 businesses have joined Ohio Business Competes — a non-partisan coalition that supports non-discrimination policies that include LGBTQ Ohioans. More than 30 Ohio cities and counties have passed local ordinances with LGBTQ inclusive policies, she said.
“We want to end the statute of limitations for rape (Senate Bill 198) and extend the statute of limitations for child abuse and child neglect (Senate Bill 226). We want to bring justice to survivors of sexual abuse.”
She said that under the current Ohio Revised Code, prosecution against a perpetrator of rape or sexual battery must begin within 25 years after the commission of, or attempt to, commit the crime.
“We believe that now, more than ever, the public is on the side of removing the artificial line in the sand that prevents a survivor from coming forward to report such emotionally traumatic and violent experiences. She noted that:”Every survivor processes their trauma in their own time.”
Under current Ohio law, victims of childhood sexual abuse are unable to press civil charges after age 30 and criminal charges after age 43, with another 5 years granted if DNA is found within 25 years. Those limitations should be extended, she said.
Health care issues
“We need to expand access to health care, especially during the COVID pandemic. We want to make our communities healthier and safer.” She said legislators will continue to address the rise in drug overdoses and the opoid crisis.
In 2022, State legislators will also consider Ohio’s capital budget, which provides funding for major projects.
The capital budget funds a variety of eligible infrastructure projects for state agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, and community projects that vary from parks to museums and other types of infrastructure. In 2021, a total of $80 million went to Cuyahoga County, including $23 million for community projects from the capital budget that passed in late 2020.
If you have a question or funding request, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-466-5123.
A member and former chair of the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus, Antonio is State Director for the National Women Legislators’ Lobby and a Senate Assistant Minority Leader.
Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member on three committees* Health* Transportation* Joint Medicaid Oversight.
Antonio plans to continue work with the non-profit Giving Tree. Volunteers have made and donated more than 10,000 face masks in the fight against COVID.