Akron state lawmakers, Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes and Tavia Galonski, today issued the following joint statement in response to former Akron Police Chief James Nice’s use of racial slurs while in office:
“While our nation seems to be approaching a critical intersection of hateful and divisive dialogue, Nice’s language plays to this ugliness, distorting who we are as a community. We condemn Nice’s behavior in the strongest terms possible. We also urge our neighbors and constituents to look beyond one man’s failings in order to champion the good and righteous within our community. We are more than one person’s bad decisions. We are more than one man or woman’s judgement. We are Akron.”
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today reminds families about Ohio’s third sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 4-6. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.
“The tax-free holiday weekend allows for some relief for the many families that have started preparing for their kids to go back to school this fall,” said Sykes. “The small dollar amount saved during the tax-free holiday may not seem like much, but a little can go a long way for Ohio’s working middle class families that are trying to makes ends meet.”
In a political effort to hamstring Ohio House Democratic lawmakers in a pro-gun, anti-gun debate today on the House floor, Republicans brought forward House Bill (HB) 233 for a vote, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor.
“Allowing people to knowingly bring a deadly weapon to our communities most vulnerable and high trafficked areas—like schools and daycares—will put people at risk,” said Assistant Minority Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “A concealed carry permit does not give blanket protection to people from committing criminal acts.”
Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion will have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.
“While I am glad the House didn’t act on a straightforward Medicaid freeze today, House Republicans set up a potentially insidious, back door freeze by seeking new barriers to Medicaid healthcare coverage for working people,” said House Democratic Assistant Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “While Ohio’s economy is lagging behind the nation’s, now isn’t the time to play games with lifesaving healthcare for hundreds of thousands of working Ohioans who want to provide economic stability for their families. With these restrictions, we are just putting up more roadblocks on a path to the middle class for working people in our state.”
State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to line-item veto the Medicaid expansion freeze in the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that will end healthcare coverage for over half-a-million people.
“The people of Ohio deserve representatives in Columbus who will stand up and fight for them,” said state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment.”
If approved by the federal government, the GOP freeze to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will phase out medical coverage for over half-a-million Ohioans, leaving families with minimal healthcare options.
“We need to provide healthcare for Ohio’s families, all of Ohio’s families.” Sykes said. “Without access to healthcare, lives will be lost and costs will rise. Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased costs that will come by taking away people’s healthcare.”
A copy of the letter sent to Gov. Kasich is pasted below
June 28, 2017
Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
We write to urge you to line-item veto the Medicaid Expansion freeze in Budget House Bill 49. If signed into law, this will dramatically change the state’s ability to provide healthcare for many Ohioans in need.
Medicaid Expansion has allowed more than 725,000 Ohioans to receive proper care, including the developmentally disabled, the elderly, families in transition, veterans, pregnant women and low income families. Ohioans need to be healthy in order to be productive in their day to day lives. Without the ability to afford doctor visits, hospital stays,
State Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) today announced legislation to end virtual debtors’ prison in Ohio by granting automatic restricted driving privileges for low-level offenses unrelated to driving, like failing to pay court fines or late child support payments.
“As Americans, we believe in a justice system that is fair and impartial,” said Sykes. “But in Ohio, we have been trapping lower and middle-income taxpayers in a downward spiral of job loss, debt and jail time for low-level offenses. With this commonsense bill, we can break this cycle, further justice and get people back to work.”
Though courts may grant driving privileges without House Bill 260, punishment can vary widely and ultimately result in job loss when someone loses their ability to get to work for falling behind in court fines or child support payments. In Ohio, a person could eventually end up in jail if a license suspension results in job loss and additional fines that can’t be paid.
COLUMBUS— State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today responded to news that Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing five drug companies for allegedly flooding Ohio with addictive opioid painkillers:
“While I agree drug companies should be held responsible for recklessly pushing powerfully addictive painkillers, a lawsuit alone isn’t going to prevent additional deaths due to opioid and heroin addiction and abuse.
“For too long, Ohio has been the face of the national opioid epidemic. Why are we leading in opioid deaths but severely lagging when it comes to confronting this public health emergency?
Yesterday, State Representatives Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) hosted Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated at Ohio House of Representatives for the fourth annual Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Day at the Capitol.
“As a member of this esteemed organization, I consider it my honor to host these women today as they promote scholarship and service to all mankind,” said Sykes. “We work hard in Alpha Kappa Alpha to empower and educate our communities, and I am pleased that I am able to assist.”
State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today partnered with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to support the organization’s bike safety awareness assembly. The event, arranged at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center, is part of the AAP’s month-long program promoting the benefits of proper helmet use.
“Bike helmet safety is an important and often overlooked way we can protect the children in our community,” said Sykes. “I’m proud to collaborate with the Ohio AAP for this cause, and I’m confident that events like this will have a real, positive impact on our youth.”