State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $256,750 in state funding for community social service programs to continue at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron.
“It is important to continue to provide much needed support for children who suffer from hearing loss,” Sykes said. “The hearing impaired deserve every opportunity to flourish like any other child in our community. The early intervention hearing services are critical in order to be responsive to the unique challenges that these children and their families face every day.”
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced Ohio’s back-to-school sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 3-5, as a result of the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 226. The annual event helps lessen the sting of the 4.5 percent statewide sales tax hike passed by Republican lawmakers in the 2013 state budget. The hike has cost taxpayers almost $2 billion more since then, according to state revenue numbers.
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 123, a bipartisan effort to enact consumer protections for the thousands of Ohioans who utilize short-term loans every day. Borrowers in Ohio currently pay some of the highest rates in the nation for payday loans, with estimated average interest rates at over 500 percent.
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announces House Bill (HB) 1, her bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws, will officially become law tomorrow, Friday, July 6. HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia.
“I am thrilled that House Bill 1 will become law tomorrow,” Sykes said. “By working together with advocates, survivors and fellow lawmakers, we have closed this outdated loophole in Ohio that will not only help victims to live without fear of their abuser, but also save lives.”
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) wants to remind Akron residents that beginning July 2, the procedure for renewing a driver’s license in Ohio will change. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will now mail new driver’s license cards to the applicant’s home address. A temporary card will be issued at the BMV until the official card arrives in the mail, about 10 days later. Officials say this change will reduce fraud and counterfeit licenses.
State Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today reacted to the closing of Akron Digital Academy after the State of Ohio required the online school to repay $2.8 million of mismanaged funds after failing to properly keep track of enrollment.
“Hearing about the closure of Akron Digital Academy reaffirms my concern about online schools, and more importantly the education our youth is receiving,” said Sykes. “How many children are we going to let fall by the way side because of poor administration? The students are being affected the most.”
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.
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. 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.
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.”