State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today introduced House Bill (HB) 385, legislation to eliminate pay discrimination at state agencies. Studies show that state employees experience higher levels of pay discrimination by gender and race than those working in other industries.
Sponsors state Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the Senate passage of their legislation designating October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio to honor the nation’s first professional African American baseball player.
“While Jackie Robinson is usually credited with being the first African American player to play professional baseball, it was actually Walker who first courageously broke the color barrier more than 60 years earlier,” said West. “While we can never right the injustices experienced by Moses, by designating October 7th as Fleetwood Moses Walker Day, we can properly honor the legacy of a pioneer for civil rights. I strongly encourage Governor Kasich to sign this bill into law.”
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to the state Department of Education’s recent release of school district report cards:
“I believe that while every school should constantly strive to improve, the Department of Education does not provide the support and stability necessary for those improvements. The educators I speak with say that the department’s constant changes in standards and the threat of the state government taking over their schools makes it harder for them to focus on their students.
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) expressed outrage regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to support Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s voter purge. Department attorneys filed an amicus brief on Monday reversing the Department’s previous position by arguing that Husted was legally permitted to unregister voters who have not voted for six or more years.
“I am outraged that the Trump administration has chosen to attack the most fundamental right of every citizen living in a democracy,” said West. “Nobody should be punished so dramatically for choosing not to vote in a given year. Jon Husted and Donald Trump do not have the right to strip Americans of our rights just because we do not vote as often as we can.”
This decision from the Department of Justice comes in the wake of President Trump’s creation of a voter fraud commission, which recently received nationwide pushback in its efforts to collect the private information of every registered voter in the country. According to the ACLU of Ohio, the Trump administration’s decision to support voter purge measures undoes decades of efforts from the Department of Justice to prevent similar efforts.
“This is not a partisan issue. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have fought for decades to protect the right of every citizen to vote,” said West. “It really is sad to see the Trump administration support Jon Husted’s movement to disenfranchise millions of voters across our country. Unfortunately, this is quickly becoming part of a pattern of voter suppression from this White House.”
The Supreme Court will make a decision on the case this summer.
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) 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.
“I know firsthand that costs for school supplies can add up quickly, which is why I co-sponsored legislation to make it a little more affordable,” said West. “We all want what is best for our kids, and during a time when middle class wage growth is stagnant and too many Ohioans fall below the poverty line, every dollar saved can make a difference in the quality of our children’s lives.”
State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that Canton, Ohio has been selected to host the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus’ 50th anniversary celebration this fall. African American state lawmakers from all across Ohio will convene in Stark County for the two-day event on October 1-2 to recognize the important milestone and chart a course for the future for the historic legislative organization.
“I am thrilled to host my OLBC colleagues here in Canton and show off all that is great about our community,” said state Rep. Thomas West, the co-chairman for the event. “Exciting projects like the Pro Football Hall of Fame development, its African American apprenticeship program and significant events like the OLBC 50th Anniversary are all evidence of Canton’s positive momentum. We encourage all elected officials on the local, state and national level to join us for this wonderful evening of fun and enlightenment. This event is a once in a lifetime occasion, which is why we have invited the governor as well as leaders from both the House of Representatives and Senate to attend and share this experience with our community.”
Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today voiced objections over House Bill (HB) 233, 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.
“Any bill that will allow somebody to knowingly bring a concealed gun into a preschool is a bill that I cannot support,” said Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). “This ‘concealed guns everywhere’ bill attacks the rights of businesses to make their own decisions and makes parents constantly question that their children are actually safe.”
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today congratulated United Way of Greater Stark County on being awarded $100,000 from the Ohio Department of Education. The community organization received the money through the New Community Connectors Mentoring Grant program, which supports programs that give more Ohio students access to positive role models and help them develop skills that lead to success in the classroom and the workplace.
“I am incredibly happy to see our local United Way being recognized and rewarded for its tremendous work,” said West. “The programs that it runs will have a deep and meaningful impact on hundreds of children in our community for years to come.”
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to a series of deadly shootings in Canton by extending his condolences to the families of the victims and stressing the importance of greater state support for community safety efforts.
“I am deeply saddened by the senseless violence that has taken our neighbors from us,” said West. “These shootings took place right in the neighborhood that I am proud to call home. We need to come together as a community to try to put an end to this violence.”
State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced his intention to oppose the budget proposal announced by Ohio Senate Republicans on Monday. The Canton lawmaker expressed concern that the Senate chose to focus on cuts rather than utilize a more balanced approach.
“I cannot support the Senate Republicans’ budget in its current form for a number of reasons,” said West. “My strongest concern with this proposal is the incredible damage that the $200 million cut to Medicaid would inflict on Ohio’s most vulnerable families. The Senate cannot claim to be adequately addressing the opioid crisis while gutting the programs that most directly boost treatment and prevention efforts.”