State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) said she was disappointed by Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born’s unwillingness during a meeting Thursday to acknowledge his State Highway Patrol Troopers and contracted security agents acted inappropriately by singling out her and other Black Women at security checkpoints at the Ohio Statehouse in the past two years.
“I’m disappointed in Director Born. I had hoped he would address the issues of discrimination and profiling in a direct and sincere manner. Instead, he stuck to talking points about an “objective” security policy for his department that in truth is highly subjective and targets African-American lawmakers like myself for discriminatory stops and searches,” Sykes said.
Sykes said she pushed for and Born reluctantly agreed to launch two separate investigations into incidents dating back to 2016, but only after she questioned him repeatedly without getting any answers about bias within the OSHP.
“I explained to Director Born repeatedly that I followed the proper established “objective” procedure and showed my badge each time I tried to go through security, and when I questioned why my badge was not being recognized I was told “I looked too young to be a legislator.’ I also explained other people of color had been stopped for unacceptable reasons. Age, gender, skin color? Those are subjective, not objective, criteria,” Sykes said.
For more than two years, State Troopers and contracted security agents have allowed white male legislators to pass unquestioned through security checkpoints at the Ohio Statehouse and the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts while stopping and searching Black lawmakers although they followed procedures and showed identification badges.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that the State of Ohio can withhold funding to communities who use traffic cameras. The case resulted from the City of Toledo’s suit against the State of Ohio for withholding local budget funding for a practice upheld by the Supreme Court in previous rulings. The Supreme Court’s past rulings said that cities could run a motor enforcement program how they see fit.
“Many in the Legislature hold suspicion that these stationary cameras are used less for safety and more for revenue, but let me be clear, I believe that local communities will use them more if Ohio begins cutting revenue because of their usage,” Rep. Boccieri said. “Many communities get a large revenue boost and will use them more frequently to fill in holes created by state funding as they are doing now in some cases.”
The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the previous decisions of the Lucas County Common Pleas Court and the Sixth District Court of Appeals ignored the General Assembly’s ability to create laws. The argument for the previous Supreme Court decision was determined due home-rule authority given in the Ohio constitution. The City of Toledo will file another lawsuit to argue the constitutionality of the decisions.
Rep. Boccieri offered a solution to the issue by passing House Bill 219, legislation he authored to ensure that state speed limits begin at the sign. Enactment of this legislation will help prevent speed traps whereas current law vaguely says Ohio motorists must obey posted speed limits. The bill was voted out of the House Transportation Committee unanimously.
State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today offered an amendment on the House floor that would have leveled the playing field for elderly and disabled Ohioans applying for the state’s homestead exemption, a program that works to reduce property taxes for qualifying homeowners. The amendment came during debate on House Bill (HB) 513, a bill to expand the homestead exemption to include surviving spouses of peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel killed in the line of duty.
Ohio House Democratic state lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich asking him to take concrete action in the fight against the Trump administration’s recent policy decision to separate children from their families at the border.
State Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 365, known as the Reagan Tokes Act, her bill to implement new standards to improve the monitoring of violent offenders. The bill is named for Reagan Tokes, a student at The Ohio State University who was brutally kidnapped, raped and killed after leaving work at a Columbus restaurant in 2017.
State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) issued the following statement in response to House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today telling reporters the House would likely vote on extremist “stand your ground” legislation, House Bill 228, next week:
“Now we know what Rep. Smith had to promise to get his paltry 44 votes for Speaker. Sadly, as a result, Ohioans will be less safe and local communities will be unable to protect their citizens from gun violence. As The Who said, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’”
Leland, the lead Democrat on the House Federalism Committee, has spoken out against restrictions in the bill that will prevent local communities from passing gun safety laws. The Columbus lawmaker is encouraging citizens to contact Republican legislators using the following link to voice their opposition to a full House vote on the legislation: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory
Today, legislative Democrats in the Ohio House and Senate announced state legislation opposing the Trump Administration’s family separation immigration policy, which has led to the mandatory separation of children from their parents at the border.
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) will host district office hours throughout the months of June, July, and August at various Akron Public Library branch locations.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with constituents in person and speaking one-on-one about any concerns or questions they might have,” said Rep. Sykes. “Everyone is welcome, and no issue is too big or too small to discuss when it comes to government policy that directly affects each and every taxpayer. I hope people will take advantage of these office hours even if they simply stop by to say hello.”
All meetings will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the following locations:
This is an excellent opportunity for local residents and business leaders to meet and share their ideas, comments, questions and concerns with Rep. Sykes regarding all things relating to Ohio state government. These events are free and open to the public, and no appointment is necessary. There will be no formal presentation provided.
WHO: State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)
WHAT: District Office Hours
WHEN: Various days this Summer from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case challenging the state’s legislative districts, and Benisek v. Lamone, a Maryland case challenging congressional districts. The court decided each case on procedural grounds without reaching the merits of plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering claims.
Nearly three years after the passing of House Bill 70 in the 131st General Assembly, which granted the state-appointed Academic Distress Commission (ADC) the ability to takeover failing school districts, the legitimacy of the distress commission, has come into question with a new state review of the Youngstown City School District.
According to the spring review by the Ohio Department of Education, the district’s ADC is failing key state education standards, from fiscal management to student support and curriculum delivery. The state’s review also says the Youngstown ADC doesn’t have a comprehensive professional development plan, lacks a district-wide communication plan, and is missing “instructional supports” for students with disabilities. The report calls for more shared accountability among building administrators too.
“Mounting evidence is bringing together lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to freeze state takeovers of our local schools,” said Smith. “We’re close to including language to that effect in a soon-to-pass bill and, less interparty political pressure or closed door deals, most Republican lawmakers seem ready to join us in taking a hard look at what’s really going on in education.”
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) have a pending amendment to Senate Bill 216 to put a three-year moratorium on the state takeover of local schools, to give the legislature an opportunity to develop alternatives for failing school districts.
“We need a pause to figure out how the Academic Distress Commissions are affecting the quality of education of our children and to take into