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'Stand Your Ground' legislation is a loophole for murder, disproportionately hurts Black Ohioans
January 5, 2021

“Whether you call it ‘Kill at Will,’ ‘Stand Your Ground,’ or ‘Shoot First’ policy, we’ve seen in other states that it clearly leads to violence and death. The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and other members of law enforcement oppose laws like these because they take away a judge’s or jury’s power to evaluate self-defense, creating a loophole for people to get away with manslaughter and murder. This law will greatly decrease public safety in Ohio and disproportionately impact the lives of Black Ohioans and other people of color as victims of gun violence, with their killers now having a way to escape prosecution,” said Rep. Robinson. 

 
 
Leader Sykes statement as DeWine signs extreme Shoot First bill

Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today condemned the governor’s signing of Senate Bill 175, Shoot First legislation that would permit the use of deadly force by individuals who believe their lives are endangered anywhere in the state. Democrats spoke against the extreme Shoot First bill in late December, saying it will threaten Black lives and makes Ohioans less safe. Sykes sent the governor a letter urging his veto of the controversial legislation Dec. 22.

 
 

Today, Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) was sworn in by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart, followed by the following officers: State Reps. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland), Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Erica Crawley (D-Columbus), Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati), and State Sens. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus), and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). The change in leadership is also accompanied by the appointment of a new director of the caucus, Tony Bishop. The new leadership team briefly outlined a plan to better engage Black Ohioans and build the necessary coalitions across the state to improve the everyday lives of all Ohioans. The new leadership team issued the statements below following their swearing-in.

 
 

Following the 133rd General Assembly’s frustrating inability to take meaningful action to repeal House Bill 6, Select Committee on Energy Policy & Oversight Ranking Member David Leland (D-Columbus) is proposing legislation on day one of the 134th General Assembly aimed at breaking the logjam. This legislation combines House Bill 772 from the 133rd General Assembly with a groundbreaking, market-based, consumer-driven Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) program.

 
 

State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) today condemned Governor Mike DeWine’s signing into law of Senate Bill 175, which grants civil immunity to handgun licensees who are responsible for injury, death, or other loss as a result of carrying a handgun. The proposed amendment mimics “stand your ground” laws and permits the use of deadly force by individuals who believe their lives are endangered. Brent says the legislation disproportionately impacts the lives of Black Ohioans and puts the safety of Ohioans at risk.

 
 
Say caucus's historically effective session a step toward renewing promise of opportunity for working people and families
December 30, 2020
ICYMI: House Democrats Delivered Results For Taxpayers In 133rd General Assembly

House Democrats today celebrated a historically effective two-year legislative session, which saw them play a critical role in policymaking, passing dozens of bills and long-held caucus priorities, including investments in education, job training, and public transit, as well as tax cuts for working families and expanded health care access to improve maternal health and infant mortality. Dec. 31 marks the official end to the 133rd General Assembly (GA). 

 
 
State, nation to fall far short of vaccination goal by end of year
December 30, 2020

Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued the following statement as Ohio and the nation will reportedly fall far short of the vaccination goal of 20 million doses by the end of the year. Just 2.1 million doses have been administered nationwide to date. The state Controlling Board Wednesday approved $125 million in funds to distribute vaccines.

 
 

State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today highlighted several key priorities Democrats were able to deliver for Ohio taxpayers in 2020, including securing $4.53 billion in funding to assist local communities, front line workers, first responders, schools, small businesses, and Ohio’s working people and families affected by coronavirus and ongoing economic uncertainty.

 
 
Rep. Liston is the first member of the Ohio General Assembly to receive the vaccine
December 23, 2020
Rep. Beth Liston Receives The COVID-19 Vaccine

COLUMBUS— State Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this morning, making her the first member of the Ohio General Assembly to receive the vaccine.

 
 
Says Shoot First bill, abortion restrictions would threaten health and safety of Ohioans
December 22, 2020

Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today urged Gov. Mike DeWine to veto two controversial bills, Shoot First legislation Democrats say endangers Black lives and makes Ohioans less safe, and a new, extremist restriction on abortion access in Ohio. House Republicans cut off debate on the bills last week, denying Democrats the opportunity to speak out against the last-minute flurry of extreme legislation GOP lawmakers are rushing through the legislative process before the end of the 133rd General Assembly at the end of the year.