State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) Wednesday sent a letter to Department of Public Safety Director Colonel John Born following incidents of profiling among Capitol Square’s State Highway Patrol security personnel. Sykes and other black women lawmakers have routinely been subjected to additional security measures when entering the Ohio Statehouse and other government office buildings. Heightened security protocols were instituted in 2015.
“My hope is that this action will initiate changes that will keep myself and others from experiencing unequal treatment and extra scrutiny based on our gender or skin color, while also ensuring safety in the buildings that you are responsible for securing,” said Sykes. “No matter our race or gender, we belong here.”
Sykes previously filed a formal complaint to the Ohio House Sergeant-At-Arms in February 2016 after an incident of profiling by Statehouse security. The Akron lawmaker was told then that the officer broke protocol and that the situation would be resolved. Sykes never received further communication on the incident as access problems continued.
Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Public Safety have yet to identify any new protocols to reduce bias and increase access, though some lawmakers have called for anti-bias training for Ohio State Highway Patrol.
*Editor’s note: Attached are Copies of Sykes’ letter to Director Born and email to the house Sergeant-At-Arms.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to the news that Secretary of State Husted is directing counties not to purge voters before the August and November 2018 elections:
"I commend Secretary Husted for directing counties not to purge Ohio voters ahead of the midterm elections. As I said after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, it is up to the state to decide how we maintain our rolls and we can decide not to purge infrequent voters. The process of purging people for choosing not to vote is properly on hold until after the November election, and it should be postponed indefinitely."
Ohio state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued the following statement in response the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Ohio’s controversial practice of blocking citizens from voting by cancelling their voter registration:
“Ohio’s approval to block citizens from voting by cancelling their registration means hundreds of thousands of Ohioans could lose their right to vote without ever knowing it. Removing voters from Ohio’s voter registration rolls is a serious injustice that will make it even harder for Ohio’s poor and minority citizens to make their voice heard. We should be finding ways to make voting easier, not harder. I encourage Ohio’s next secretary of state to take a hard look at this deeply misguided practice, in order to put the exercise of our nation’s most fundamental freedom first.”
Voting rights advocate Ohio state Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today issued the following statement in response the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Ohio’s controversial practice of blocking citizens from voting by cancelling their voter registration:
“Today’s decision is in direct conflict with who we are as Americans and what we stand for around the world: free and fair democratic elections. It is disappointing that Ohio would go to such great lengths to make voting harder instead of easier. Citizens should be able to exercise their most fundamental freedom as they see fit without fear of being denied their sacred right as an American. As Ohio continues to be ground zero for extreme, partisan voter discrimination laws, we must fight for a better way – one where our most fundamental freedom is put into our state constitution and taken out of the hands of partisan politicians.”
Reece, a board member of the National Action Network and former vice chair of the 2016 DNC convention, has garnered statewide and national attention for her activism on justice reform and voting rights. The Cincinnati lawmaker has called for a Voter Bill of Rights to be guaranteed in state constitutions throughout the nation, and she serves as a founding member of the Ohio Governor’s task force on police-community relations.
State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today released a statement recognizing the importance of the National Football Hall of Fame and the hard work Cantonians put into making induction day special for all who attend. The lawmaker’s statement comes as former wide receiver Terrell Owens publicly announced he won’t come to Canton this year to be honored as an inductee.
“Since 1963, the induction ceremony has been conducted with a level of excellence unsurpassed by any other in the world. We have the people of Canton to thank for that because the game of football and the Hall of Fame resides deep within the heart of every Cantonian. Our community and district go all out for football, and we are honored by the heroes who choose to attend the induction ceremony.”
The induction ceremony is a tradition used to honor and enshrine heroes of the gridiron. Every year, thousands of Canton citizens come together as volunteers to make the event that honors world-class athletes possible. Thousand, including many from all across the world, will gather in Canton this year for enshrinement day.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the below statement in response to today’s 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court interpreting a federal law meant to increase voter registration to permit Secretary Husted to purge voters who don’t vote in every election.
State Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) today applauded the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 535, legislation to increase reports of opioid overdoses and the effectiveness of naloxone treatments to the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Brown was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, the Opioid Data and Communication Expansion Act, before it unanimously passed the House floor Thursday.
“Better communication and information sharing about the Opioid Crisis will only help to paint a more complete picture of what’s going on in Ohio,” said Brown. “Compiling more information about what’s working and what isn’t across the state will only help us better respond to the ongoing crisis. I am proud to have been a co-sponsor on this important piece of legislation”
House Bill 535 now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. Brown supports the Ohio Senate’s swift passage of the legislation.
State Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Warren) today issued the following statement after supporting language in House Bill 292 to potentially fast track development of a 1.2 million square foot TJX Homegoods facility in Lordstown, a project that is expected to create 1,000 jobs within several years:
“Today’s vote brings us one step closer to helping create 1000 new jobs in our region. I am thankful to everyone who has worked so hard to bring this needed economic development to our community. I look forward to the positive impact that these new jobs will have on our region’s families and communities, and will continue to work in every way possible at the state level to ensure we remain competitive in meeting the needs of our area’s businesses and workers.”
After a year of evading promised reforms of an out-of-control payday lending industry, a divided House Republican Caucus pushed through House Bill (HB) 123 amid an ongoing FBI investigation into potential Republican pay-to-play tactics on their once-lauded reform legislation.
After nearly two months of a Republican-led legislative impasse, the Ohio House is expected to resume legislative activity following today’s narrow, marathon election of new House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). Chaos and dysfunction have plagued the legislature since the abrupt resignation of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), after he announced he was under FBI inquiry in April. Federal agents have since raided Rosenberger’s home, his state office and storage shed, as rumors of pay-to-play tactics on payday lending reform legislation continue to churn.