State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today sent a letter to Board Members at the Lucas County Board of Elections to urge training of election officials and poll workers on new procedures for early voting that began earlier this year. Early voters now have the option to present Election Day-style voter identification or provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number.


“As Early Voting gets underway for the primary, and as we begin to prepare for the general election, it’s important that we equip our elections officials and poll workers with the most accurate, up-to-date information to make navigating the voting process as easy and accessible as possible for Ohio voters,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson.


Under House Bill 41, which took effect in March, Ohio voters now have the option to show identification during early voting just like at Election Day if they prefer. Voters still have the option to complete an absentee ballot application like mail-in voters do by providing the last four digits of their Social Security Number.


The additional option has caused some confusion among voters and workers, which Hicks-Hudson says additional training of election officials and poll workers should alleviate.


The full text of the letter is found below:


Dear Colleagues,


I recently voted early at the Board of Elections and I discovered that there is new confusion over the voter ID law at Early Voting. I want to make sure that everyone knows that there are no new restrictions on voter ID at Early Voting. People can come Early Vote just like they always have with the last 4 digits of their social security number (SSN+4) and no one should be turned away.


The confusion is probably over the passage of House Bill 41. HB 41 passed at the end of last year and took effect in March. It added to the Early Voting ID law to let people show ID at Early Voting just like at Election Day voting if they prefer that method. But the same old way of showing ID, by completing a ballot application like Mail Voters do is still in law. So, people can still go to Early Voting without an ID in their pocket and vote by providing their SSN+4 in writing.


So, essentially, under the new law, In Person Early Voters can now either provide ID like Mail Voters with a written application or show ID like Election Day Voters. Previously, they could only provide ID like Mail Voters using the written application.


Whenever a change takes place, it takes time for election officials and poll workers to learn the new rules. I hope you will make sure your poll workers are trained on this change and that whenever they are unsure, they ask for help and make sure no voter leaves Early Voting without casting a ballot.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If anyone has been turned away under a misunderstanding of the law, I hope the Board will reach out to those voters and invite them back to vote their ballots and have their voices heard.


Respectfully,


Paula Hicks-Hudson, State Representative, House District 44


 

 
 
  
 
Reps. Denson, Ingram, Kelly, Miranda Held Ohio Promise Town Hall
Statewide town hall tour focuses on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
August 19, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati), Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) held a community town hall last Thursday as part of the Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a statewide legislative town hall series hosted by House Democratic members. The purpose of the tour is to hear from constituents in their districts about their most pressing concerns, answer questions, and discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led, legislative wins for working people and families.


“I really appreciate People Working Cooperatively allowing us to use their beautiful space,” said Rep. Denson. “I enjoyed hearing the thoughts and concerns of those in attendance, and can’t wait to incorporate that into what I’m doing in Columbus at the Statehouse.”


“One of our ways to keep our promise is to continue to remind our constituents that we work for them,” said Rep. Ingram.


“I want to thank all the constituents from the Great 28 who came to our Ohio Promise Town Hall,” said Rep. Miranda. “It is important for the people of Hamilton County to know that we work for them. This town hall was an excellent opportunity for our delegation to put that on display.”


“This was a really important evening for the community to come together,” said Rep. Kelly. “I’m grateful for those who shared their concerns with us and for the opportunity to discuss issues that matter most to you and your family.”


The Representatives kicked off the event with a legislative update, discussing important budget wins and some of the priority bills being worked on at the Statehouse. The event included an open forum to allow constituents to ask questions and identify community concerns that can be addressed through state government. State Sen. Cecil Thomas also joined the evening and provided an update from the Ohio Senate.


The recently passed state budget was also a major topic of conversation as the Representatives detailed the process itself as well as the number of state budget provisions House Democrats fought for that seek to strengthen local communities and put people first.


Some notable Democratic budget wins include:


—     Putting more money back in the pockets of hardworking Ohioans by passing a tax cut for working people and middle class families.


—     Investing more than $650 million in wraparound services, which include innovative and collaborative ways to support our children and give them the tools they need to succeed.


—     Raising the minimum wage for direct service employees, strengthening Ohio’s promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.


—     Investment in Produce Perks Midwest, providing SNAP recipients with an avenue towards a healthy diet.


—     $250,000 to the University of Cincinnati for a financial literacy program.


—     Increased funding for the Cincinnati & Hamilton Co. Public Libraries.


—     $300,000 to the Cincinnati Zoo to support educational programming and scholarships for disadvantaged students.


—     Local Government Fund increase, directing millions more dollars to cities like Cincinnati.


Conversation also centered on the call for the passage of gun safety legislation and the protection of reproductive rights in Ohio.

 
 
  

House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose alerting him to new problems with the purge list and urging him to cancel the upcoming voter purge. Thousands of Ohio registered voters are being targeted for removal from the rolls at the beginning of September, many of whom are still eligible to vote. Last Thursday, community groups working to help find people on the purge list also raised problems with the process and the tools provided by the Secretary and asked for more time to help people stay registered.


“This voter purge has been discredited over and over again,” said Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland). “Too many Ohioans who are still eligible to vote are on that list and our state and federal laws do not require removing them from the rolls. The National Voter Registration Act was passed 26 years ago precisely to increase registration and to keep eligible voters on the rolls. The Secretary should acknowledge that this purge is too flawed to move forward and cancel it.”

 

Related Content

 
 
  
 
Reps. Russo, Sweeney Introduce Extreme-Risk Protection Order Bill
HB 316 seeks to prevent gun violence tragedies before they happen
August 14, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) last week introduced new legislation, House Bill (HB) 316, that would allow family members, household members, or law enforcement officers to file for a court order temporarily preventing individuals considered to be an imminent danger to themselves or others from possessing firearms.


“In many instances of gun violence, there were clear warning signs the shooter posed a serious risk of injuring themselves or others with a firearm,” said Rep. Russo. “Extreme risk protection orders save lives by giving families and law enforcement time to quickly intervene before those warning signs escalate into tragedies, while also respecting Second amendment and due process rights.”


“We are elected to serve the needs of our constituencies across Ohio, and protection from gun violence is something that Ohioans want,” said Rep. Sweeney. “We have to do all we can to prevent those individuals who should not have dangerous firearms from obtaining them, and this commonsense legislation fills that gap. The gun violence epidemic needs urgent attention from the legislature, and this bill should be called for a hearing as soon as possible.”


So far, seventeen states across the country have extreme-risk protection, or “red flag,” laws, including Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Illinois.

 
 
  
 
Reps. Boyd, Howse, Sen. Williams Announce Ohio Promise Town Hall
Event to focus on Dem efforts to invest in working people and families
August 13, 2019
 
 

State Reps. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) today announced a town hall meeting TOMORROW, August 14at 4:45 p.m. at Fairhill Partners in Cleveland to discuss the state budget, bipartisan priorities and a number of recent Democratic-led wins for working people and families in Cleveland.


“I hope you'll join Sen. Williams, Rep. Howse and myself to hear more about the state budget,” said Rep. Boyd. “I am honored that the General Assembly views two of my bills, House Bill (HB) 14, the Kinship Care Navigator Program, and HB 3, Aisha’s Law, so favorably that they would double the funding originally proposed by the governor. These are the kinds of promises we should be keeping to Ohioans. When it comes to our children who attend our public schools, because it is their choice to be a part of their communities through their schools, this budget fails them. Yet, all we hear in the halls of the House and Senate, and from the governor's office, is that no one wants to fail our children.”


“I am really excited to be bringing the Ohio Promise Tour to the district,” said Rep. Howse. “The Ohio Promise Tour will allow constituents to understand how my colleagues and I are working to keep Ohio’s promise of putting families first by fighting for good jobs, investing in quality education and ensuring more opportunities to access affordable quality health care.”


“I am pleased that we were able to work together to pass a balanced budget that includes many projects that will positively impact the 21st senate district and the entire State of Ohio,” said Sen. Williams. “By investing in areas such as education, physical and mental well-being, and our local governments we can help ensure that taxpayer dollars are going to programs and services that benefit all Ohioans. Several projects that I personally advocated for that received funding include: the Lupus Foundation- Greater Ohio Chapter, the Read, Baby Read! Program in Cleveland, Creative Builders Trade Academy’s pre-apprenticeship program and many more. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Ohio Legislature to further support Ohio’s families, businesses, and workers that live in our great state.”


The event will provide constituents with a legislative update, as well as an open forum to ask questions and identify community concerns that can be addressed through state government.


The town hall is part of Democrats’ statewide Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a legislative town hall series following the unveiling of the Ohio Promise, a legislative framework aimed at expanding opportunity by investing in Ohio’s future and building an economy that works for everyone.


WHO:        State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights)


State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland)


State Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland)


WHAT:      Ohio Promise Town Hall


WHEN:      TOMORROW, Thursday, August 14


4:45 p.m.- 6:15 p.m.


WHERE:     Fairhill Partners


12200 Fairhill Rd.


Cleveland, OH 44120

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes And Mayor Whaley To Host Ohio Promise Town Hall
Dayton event to highlight efforts to keep Ohio kids and communities safe
August 13, 2019
 
 

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, August 15 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Dayton Metro Library, located at 215 E. Third Street in Dayton.


Sykes and Whaley will join state lawmakers to discuss bipartisan priorities, including commonsense gun safety measures, as well as other efforts to expand opportunity and grow good paying jobs for working people and families.


The town hall is part of the Democrats’ statewide Ohio Promise Town Hall Tour, a legislative town hall series following the unveiling of the Ohio Promise, a legislative framework to invest in Ohio’s future and build an economy that works for everyone.


**The event will be open to media, with opportunities for availability before and after the program.


WHO: House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron)


Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley


Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)


Assistant Whip and Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester)


OLBC President and Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland)


Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron)


Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)


Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson)


WHAT: Ohio Promise Town Hall


WHEN: Thursday, August 15 from 4:30-6:00 p.m.


WHERE: Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third Street, Dayton, OH 45402

 
 
  
 
Rep. Liston Introduces Bill To Help Prevent Firearm-related Deaths
HB 315 requires licensed firearm dealers to provide suicide prevention information at the time of purchase
August 09, 2019
 
 

State Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) this week introduced new legislation, House Bill (HB) 315, to require federally licensed firearms dealers to provide information about suicide prevention in hopes of decreasing the alarming statistics associated with gun-related fatalities.


“Over 50 percent of gun deaths in Ohio are the result of firearm assisted suicide,” said Rep. Liston. “I want to ensure that all gun owners are aware of the risks associated with firearms and are able to make informed decisions that are best suited for themselves and their families.”


According to an article from the Columbus Dispatch, suicides involving guns in Ohio have risen by 60 percent from 2003 to 2017. In 2016, approximately 70 percent of veteran suicides in the U.S. stemmed from a firearm injury. Additionally, between 2012 and 2014, 40 percent of Ohio’s adolescents who committed suicide used a gun.


HB 315 seeks to help educate firearm purchasers about the relationship between firearm ownership and suicide, as well as provide them with resources that are available for suicide prevention.


“This is a simple and straightforward way to make sure gun owners are educated and informed about the often overlooked link between firearms and suicide,” added Rep. Liston. “It is my hope that this bill, and other commonsense gun safety proposals introduced by my Democratic colleagues, receive the necessary committee hearings and are brought to a vote very soon before the legislature.”


More information on HB 315 can be found here.

 
 
  
 
Robinson Introduces Bill To Require Universal Background Checks For Gun Purchases
The "Protect Law Enforcement Act" better ensures safety and security of everyday Ohioans and law enforcement
August 08, 2019
 
 

State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon), with joint sponsor Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus), yesterday introduced House Bill (HB) 317, titled the “Protect Law Enforcement Act,” or PLEA—legislation that would require all firearms transactions to be processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), closing the current loopholes in law that allow many guns sales to occur without a background check.


“To reduce violent crime and deter self-harm, we need to keep guns out of the hands of minors, felons, criminals and domestic abusers. Closing the loophole in the background check process will help end easy access to guns by those who should not have guns and anyone who would sell them firearms,” said Rep. Robinson. “This approach not only makes everyday Ohioans safer, but it aides and protects our local law enforcement. For each person that poses a danger with a gun that doesn’t have one after failing a background check, that’s one less crime scene where an officer or civilians could lose their lives. Police officers deserve to feel safe and secure on the job so they can do their jobs and keep our communities safe.”


Current federal law already requires licensed dealers to perform a background check at the time of purchase. PLEA would hold unlicensed gun sellers in the state of Ohio to the same standards as federally licensed dealers and would make Ohio a point of transfer state, meaning that a background check would be required at the time the transaction is conducted. Private sellers would complete transfers at either a federally licensed dealer or with their local law enforcement who already conduct background checks.


This requirement would not inconvenience unlicensed sellers or buyers. Federal firearms listings indicate that every Ohioan lives within 10 miles of a gun dealer, with 2,284 unique gun dealers in the state.


NICS data indicates that since 1998, more than 81,000 sales to prohibited purchasers in Ohio were denied, including more than 37,000 illegal sales to convicted felons, over 16,000 illegal sales to prohibited domestic abusers, and more than 8,300 illegal sales to prohibited purchasers due to unlawful drug use. With that many denials through licensed dealers, it is possible that the number of sales denied to buyers from unlicensed sellers at gun shows, online sales and other private sales would be just as high or higher if they had to perform background checks.


Easy access is given to firearms at online gun markets like Armlist.com, where a massive number of unchecked gun sales are taking place between strangers, potential criminals and other prohibited purchasers. In 2018, there were more than 127,000 Ohio ads on Armslist.com for firearm sales that would not require a background check. Ohio had the highest number of total ads that did not require a background check across the country. Research into those looking to purchase firearms on Armslist.com revealed that 1 in 12 would-be buyers in Ohio would have failed a background check, a rate 5.5 times higher than those who fail background checks at licensed dealers or in other contexts where background checks are required.


“The vast majority of Ohioans support expanding background checks. This is not just what will help keep us safe, but it is what the people want,” added Rep. Robinson. “PLEA is a plea to support law enforcement’s efforts to keep dangerous weapons out of dangerous hands. It is a plea to help keep children, students and families safe. It is a plea for the  commonsense gun safety reform that Ohioans want.”


The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) data from 2013 to 2017 indicates that every year, more than 1,400 Ohioans are killed with guns and thousands more are shot and injured. More than 90 percent of Ohioans support universal background checks for gun purchases and 87 percent of Ohio gun owners support background checks.

 
 
  

Just days after the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, members of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP) — a non-partisan coalition of legislators from across the country — joined legislative leaders from Ohio to call for enactment of common sense state laws to stop gun violence. Altogether, nearly 70 legislators from 23 states and the District of Columbia were present.


Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes and Ohio Senator Sandra Williams — joined by ASLGVP Chair and New York Senator Brian Kavanagh and other members of the national coalition — announced their commitment to legislation to authorize courts to issue “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” and to require background checks on all gun buyers.


Advocates from Giffords, Brady, and Everytown for Gun Safety — national gun violence prevention organizations — expressed support for the announcement, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee, where the legislators were attending the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Extreme Risk Protection Orders (“ERPO”), also known as a “Red Flag” laws, are court-issued civil orders of protection that prohibit individuals from purchasing or possessing guns if a court finds they have exhibited behaviors that indicate they may be likely to harm themselves or others. In most states that have enacted ERPO, orders may be requested by family members or police officers — who often see warning signs of gun violence but may be powerless to act under other laws before tragedy occurs.


State laws requiring background checks on all gun buyers ensure that individuals who are prohibited from having guns cannot purchase them through unregulated sales at gun shows, online, or in person from unregulated sellers who are not required to perform background checks under federal law. Closing this loophole is essential in making sure that those convicted of certain crimes and other potentially dangerous people do not have access to guns.


“The gun industry and its allies in Washington have long blocked federal laws to stop gun violence, but state lawmakers are taking up the fight for the safety of our communities and all Americans,” said New York Senator Brian Kavanagh, Founder and Chair of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention and the sponsor New York’s ERPO law, enacted earlier this year. “I am honored and humbled to join Leader Strong Sykes and Senator Williams and their colleagues from Ohio to announce their commitment to take the steps necessary to prevent horrific tragedies like the ones we saw last weekend, as well as the day-to-day gun violence that is all too common in our communities.”


“Everyday Ohioans from all political backgrounds agree - we need common sense gun safety reforms," said Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). "We cannot wait for the next mass shooting or gun related death to begin addressing this crisis that has devastated far too many families and communities across our state and around the country. We don't need more empty rhetoric, we need to do something. We need thoughtful action and policies to protect our families. Now is the time to finally do something to keep our promise to ensure the safety and security of children and families - because we work for you.”


“Americans have been forced to face so much suffering because of senseless, preventable gun violence. Our federal government should be working to strengthen gun laws, but in the absence of their action, state legislators must get to work – now,” said Ohio Senator Sandra Williams. “I urge my colleagues in Ohio, and across the nation, to implement common sense legislation, like red flag and universal background check laws, to save lives and prevent further tragedies.”


“It’s unacceptable to do nothing and just let mass shootings become part of our way of life,” said Tennessee Senator Jeff Yarbro. After one attempted shoe bombing, we changed the way airports work for everyone, everywhere, permanently. With mass shootings happening both regularly and in every corner of the country, there’s a moral imperative to enact basic, sensible measures to keep people safe”


In March 2018, ASLGVP members from 30 states called for ERPO laws to be enacted in their respective states, in addition to the 5 states that already had such laws on the books. As of today, a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted ERPO laws, including 12 states that have done so in the past year. A total of 12 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring background checks on all gun buyers.


States that have enacted ERPO laws include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


States that have enacted universal background checks include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia.

 
 
  
 
Leader Sykes Statement On DeWine Red Flag, Background Check Proposals
Says Dems stand ready to work together to ensure safety and security of everyday Ohioans
August 06, 2019
 
 

Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement today following Governor Mike DeWine’s proposals in the wake of this weekend’s mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.


“We’re encouraged the governor is finally listening to the vast majority of Ohioans who have said enough is enough, and that now is the time to do something to end gun violence,” said Sykes. “Democrats stand ready to work together on the commonsense proposals of universal background checks and red flag protections that will save lives, safeguard our freedoms and keep our promise to protect the safety and security of communities across Ohio. As we review the Governor’s proposals, we expect the final products to be meaningful, proactive, and provide Ohioans with the peace of mind that their leaders work for them.” 


Democrats have continually proposed commonsense gun safety legislation, including a red flag bill, Senate Bill (SB) 19, sponsored by Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and SB 63 to require universal background checks sponsored by Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati). House Democrats announced several commonsense gun safety proposals at a Statehouse press conference earlier this year, including red flag legislation proposed by Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and a universal background check proposal from Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon).

 
 
  
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Hicks-Hudson Issues Letter On New Early Vote Procedures

 

State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today sent a letter to Board Members at the Lucas County Board of Elections to urge training of election officials and poll workers on new procedures for early voting that began earlier this year. Early voters now have the option to present Election Day-style voter identification or provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number.



 
 

House Dems Urge Cancellation Of Voter Purge After Discovering More Eligible Voters On The Purge List

 

House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter* to Secretary of State Frank LaRose alerting him to new problems with the purge list and urging him to cancel the upcoming voter purge. Thousands of Ohio registered voters are being targeted for removal from the rolls at the beginning of September, many of whom are still eligible to vote. Last Thursday, community groups working to help find people on the purge list also raised problems with the process and the tools provided by the Secretary and asked for more time to help people stay registered.



 
 

Leader Sykes And Mayor Whaley To Host Ohio Promise Town Hall

 

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, August 15 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Dayton Metro Library, located at 215 E. Third Street in Dayton. 



 
 

State Legislators From Ohio And Across The US Call For Commonsense State Laws To Stop Gun Violence

 

Just days after the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, members of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP) — a non-partisan coalition of legislators from across the country — joined legislative leaders from Ohio to call for enactment of common sense state laws to stop gun violence. Altogether, nearly 70 legislators from 23 states and the District of Columbia were present.