On Tuesday, State Rep. Tom Letson (D-Warren) criticized the Ohio House’s final concurrence on House Bill 5, legislation which makes drastic changes to the state’s municipal tax code. The legislation was approved despite broad opposition from local governments around the state.
“We are moving in a proactive approach. We must restore confidence in the justice system. Too many of our citizens—not only in Ohio, but throughout this country—have lost or are losing faith in the system. So today’s step, with an action-oriented task force, will allow us hear the voices and bring all the stakeholders to the table. But, it will also produce a corrective action plan that will restore faith, restore confidence and build relationships to bring our state together to be a leader and a model that other states can follow.” —Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati)
State Representative and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department:
“The Justice Department’s findings come at a critical time as so many citizens of our state and nation search for answers for these tragic shootings. It is no secret that recent tragedies involving Mike Brown, John Crawford III and Tamir Rice have strained relations between our local communities and law enforcement. While today’s announcement cannot bring back the lives lost, I believe it has taken us a step in the right direction for meaningful conversations surrounding race and our justice system. I hope and pray that we can continue to work toward a greater understanding in our state and nation.”
The Justice Department finding says that Cleveland Police have a pattern of using excessive force and that a court enforceable order will require monitoring of the department to ensure necessary reforms.
Rep. Reece is introducing “John Crawford’s Law” following the deadly police-led shooting of John Crawford III who was holding a BB gun he found on a shelf in a Beavercreek Walmart this summer. The legislation would require toy guns to be easily identified as such by having prominent fluorescent markings or finishes. Reece announced her legislation after Cleveland Police recently shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was also playing with a toy gun when police responded to a 911 call.
During her time as city councilwoman, Rep. Reece also played a role in brokering Cincinnati’s 2002 police-community relations collaborative agreement following the city’s 2001 riots sparked by the police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas.
Members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) reelected State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) to her second term as caucus president Tuesday evening.
“I want to thank the members for re-electing me to a second term,” said Rep. Reece. “We will build on the 47-year legacy and the work we started last General Assembly— fighting for a voting rights constitutional amendment, funding for early childhood education, increasing Minority Business Enterprise funding, reducing infant mortality, fighting to reduce unemployment of African Americans by creating jobs, opposing so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation, sentencing reforms and health disparities. OLBC will focus on issues affecting the 1.4 million African Americans in our state, and we will be on the front lines as we deal with race relations heightened by the tragedies of John Crawford III and Tamir Rice here in Ohio.
Other caucus leadership positions will include:
-First Vice President, Sen. Edna Brown (D-Toledo).
-Second Vice President, Representative-elect Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland).
-Third Vice President, Representative-elect Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus).
-Treasurer, Senator-elect Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati).
-Secretary, Representative-elect Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland).
-Parliamentarian, Representative-elect Christie Bryant Kuhns (D-Cincinnati).
-Sergeant-at-Arms, Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo).
In response to the fatal shootings of John Crawford III in a Dayton-area Walmart this summer and a 12 year-old-boy in Cleveland on Saturday, Ohio State Representative and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today announced she will soon introduce legislation to require all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent florescent strips.
New state jobs numbers today show Ohio’s unemployment rate ticked down over the last month, though the state only added 1,000 jobs in October. Ohio is some 110,000 jobs short of pre-recession job levels, not accounting for population growth over the same period. State Rep. and Democratic Leader-elect Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) issued the following statement in response to the report:
“It is good to see the unemployment rate tick down, but our state only added 1,000 jobs last month. It is clear we have not even scratched the surface of a full recovery in Ohio. We are still 110,000 jobs behind 2007 employment, and with population growth, the significance of our job deficit is even more staggering.
“We have to make sure we are not just looking at the number of jobs, but also the quality of jobs. We must remain committed to investing in the industries of the future and the education of workers for those jobs. Ohioans need quality jobs that help families plan for the future, send their kids to college and improve their quality of life. In the next General Assembly, this will be our focus.”
State Reps. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) Friday discussed the suppression of a green jobs report that showed Ohio had significantly more jobs tied to renewable energy than the number estimated during the debate to freeze renewable energy standards.
State Reps. Connie Pillich (D- Montgomery) and Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) Thursday announced they will soon introduce the Ohio Military Lending Act, legislation to crack down on predatory lending targeting U.S. military members and their families.
With Black Friday just around the corner, two Ohio lawmakers are fighting to ensure the retail shopping extravaganza does not wreak havoc on families’ traditional Thanksgiving values. State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) Wednesday spoke in support of their bill that would shift the focus of the holiday back to spending time with family and loved ones.
State Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry (D-Austintown), the Dean of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, today announced the caucus has selected their new leadership team for the 131st General Assembly. State Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) was elected to the highest minority leadership position, House Democratic Leader, in a vote this evening.
Rounding out the Democratic leadership team will be Rep. Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma) serving as Assistant Democratic Leader; Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus), Democratic Whip; and Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), Assistant Democratic Whip.
“I am honored to have the support of my colleagues and constituents as we prepare for the challenges and opportunities our state faces,” said Rep. Strahorn. “In this time of rebuilding and growth, I look forward to working hard, hand in hand to improve the State of Ohio. Whether it’s the fight for good-paying jobs or investments in education, Ohioans need government that works for everyone, and we get that.”
Leader-Elect Strahorn returns to a leadership position in the House, having previously served as House Democratic Whip in the 127th General Assembly. Strahorn, now serving his second consecutive term, was initially elected to the House in 2000 after serving as an aide in the state legislature. Following four terms as a House lawmaker, Strahorn served in the Ohio Senate for two years, completing the term of Sen. Tom Roberts.
Along with his experience in public service, Strahorn has worked in real estate, government affairs and as a political advisor in Democratic politics.
The leadership team and incoming legislators are expected to be sworn in during the first week of January at the Ohio Statehouse.