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HB 264 has potential to save thousands of dollars for local governments in need of relief during pandemic
January 11, 2021

State Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) today announced that Gov. DeWine signed House Bill (HB) 264, a bipartisan bill that provides for the refinancing of loans for certain public water and wastewater infrastructure projects, into law on Jan. 9. The bill passed both the House and the Senate unanimously in the 133rd General Assembly.

 
 
Democratic priority legislation HB 1 will expand access to drug treatments and allow more opportunities for a fresh start
January 8, 2021

State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today announced that House Bill (HB) 1, her criminal justice reform legislation to modify the requirements for intervention in lieu of conviction and for sealing criminal records, was signed into law yesterday night. 

 
 

State Representative Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine asking his office to remove Susan Block from the board of the Ohio Arts Council. This move follows a controversial post made by Block on social media claiming the presidential election was stolen from President Trump and calling the Vice President-Elect a derogatory term.

 
 
Calls on all elected officials to be clear on where they stand
January 8, 2021

“As a public official and citizen of the United States and Ohio, I am absolutely outraged by this week’s attempted coup at our nation’s capital. Watching the attack unfold live on our TV during what should have been a traditional exercise and ceremony in counting the votes of all the states must be called what it is: domestic terrorism. 

 
 
Says Republican elected officials in Ohio share the blame for attack on American democracy
January 7, 2021

“The attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol by terrorists is the direct result of Republicans undermining the very democratic institutions and principles that they were elected to and swore to protect and uphold. The shallow words from so-called ‘leaders’ like U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Gov. Mike DeWine, GOP Chairman Jane Timken, and all the others is nothing but a sham to cover their own complicity.  

 
 

COLUMBUS– Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Mike DeWine signing Senate Bill (SB) 175, dangerous legislation that would allow the use of deadly force by any individual who feels their life is in danger:

 
 
Rep. Howse condemns Governor DeWine's signing of "stand your ground" bill

State Representative Stephanie Howse (D- Cleveland) 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.

 
 
'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.