State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) hosted the Seventh Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day today at the Ohio Statehouse, as lawmakers, law enforcement officials, advocates and survivors from across the state and nation gathered for a day of discussion on ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio. Fedor also outlined the next legislative steps in fighting modern-day slavery through reforming Ohio’s DNA collection methods, something she has proposed through House Bill 283.
Lorain City Schools officials and local lawmakers today announced plans calling for community stakeholders to participate in open dialogue sessions to develop a plan to improve educational achievement for students and take proactive measures to avoid further state control.
“Community-based solutions that put our children’s future first can’t only come from Columbus,” said Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain). “That is why it is so important that local leaders, lawmakers, educators, parents and students come together to put forward a plan that works by giving all of our children an equal opportunity to earn an education that puts them on a trajectory toward success.”
State Representative Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) will host the seventh annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Thursday, January 14 at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The annual event features a resource fair and educational panels of advocacy professionals and human trafficking survivors.*
“The work we have done in Ohio to combat human trafficking has put criminals behind bars, raised public awareness and given victims hope,” said Fedor. “When we started this fight ten years ago, the odds seemed long. Laws prohibiting and defining human trafficking in Ohio didn’t even exist, and few understood - let alone recognized - the underground network of evil that ripped apart families and communities. I am pleased with our progress over the last decade and with our efforts to educate and mobilize lawmakers, law enforcement and the general public to develop comprehensive solutions that put an end to modern-day slavery.”
State Reps. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) today announced new legislation to strengthen injection well regulations and procedures for the transportation and storage of liquid waste in Ohio. The bill’s sponsors say the focus of the bill is to ensure the safety of all who work and live near injection well sites while allowing Ohioans to capitalize on energy resources locked in shale formations throughout the state.
State Reps. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) this week introduced a justice reform measure to ensure fair, independent investigations when a law enforcement officer uses deadly force. The legislative proposal follows the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s grand jury investigation into the police-led deadly shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice last November. The grand jury ultimately declined to bring charges against the officers involved.
“Communities must be able to believe that when an officer takes the life of a civilian, an independent and fair investigation will provide answers and facts that can be trusted,” said Boyd. “This bill will help restore faith in the justice system by cutting down on questions of bias or partiality during these types of investigations.”
The new legislation would require that at least two outside law enforcement officials conduct investigations into an officer’s use of deadly force. The outside investigators would be required to come from jurisdictions separate than that of the officer under investigation.
Upon completion of an investigation, a report will be submitted to the local prosecutor. If it is determined that no crime was committed, the report must be made available to the public.
“The introduction of our bill is a necessary action in creating greater public trust in our criminal justice system,” said Kuhns. “We need to maintain a system where fairness and justice are the top priorities.”
Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded today to the news that a Cleveland grand jury has decided to not bring charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice that occurred last November.
“Today’s decision is disappointing and disheartening for all those left searching for meaning and answers in the wake of such an unthinkable tragedy that claimed the life of an innocent young boy, Tamir Rice. The year-long grand jury process that brought us today’s decision underscores our state’s immediate need for action on social and criminal justice reforms, especially as they relate to making the grand jury process more transparent,” said Reece. “The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus will continue to push for this and other commonsense criminal justice reforms that provide solutions to help restore faith in the criminal justice system and trust between law enforcement and the public. My heart and prayers go out to Tamir Rice’s family and friends.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) released the following statement on the conclusion of Attorney General DeWine’s misguided investigation of Planned Parenthood:
"It's no surprise that Attorney General DeWine has announced the end of his failed investigation on a Friday afternoon. This harassment of Planned Parenthood and its patients is inexcusable. The attempt to paint the women's healthcare provider as a lawbreaker is sad and deeply troubling. Governor Kasich's equally weak call for his Health Department to take legal action is dangerous, and puts women in harm's way. I stand with Planned Parenthood because it is a trusted and valuable resource for women and men in Ohio."
State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) held a news conference today to announce House Bill 408 (HB 408), legislation that would create a buffer zone for patients and medical staff at reproductive healthcare providers. The bill would also provide victims of non-physical harassment the ability to pursue legal action.
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and State Rep. and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded today to Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement that his office is looking into the nearly 900 absentee ballots in Summit County that went uncounted this past election due to lack of postmarks. The Democratic lawmakers had previously called on the secretary of state to launch an investigation into the troubling postmark discrepancies that voided hundreds of votes.
State Reps. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) and Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) recently introduced new legislation to create consistent standards which must be included in a law enforcement agency’s body camera policy.