State Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 365, known as the Reagan Tokes Act, her bill to implement new standards to improve the monitoring of violent offenders. The bill is named for Reagan Tokes, a student at The Ohio State University who was brutally kidnapped, raped and killed after leaving work at a Columbus restaurant in 2017.
State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) issued the following statement in response to House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today telling reporters the House would likely vote on extremist “stand your ground” legislation, House Bill 228, next week:
“Now we know what Rep. Smith had to promise to get his paltry 44 votes for Speaker. Sadly, as a result, Ohioans will be less safe and local communities will be unable to protect their citizens from gun violence. As The Who said, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’”
Leland, the lead Democrat on the House Federalism Committee, has spoken out against restrictions in the bill that will prevent local communities from passing gun safety laws. The Columbus lawmaker is encouraging citizens to contact Republican legislators using the following link to voice their opposition to a full House vote on the legislation: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory
Today, legislative Democrats in the Ohio House and Senate announced state legislation opposing the Trump Administration’s family separation immigration policy, which has led to the mandatory separation of children from their parents at the border.
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. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case challenging the state’s legislative districts, and Benisek v. Lamone, a Maryland case challenging congressional districts. The court decided each case on procedural grounds without reaching the merits of plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering claims.
Nearly three years after the passing of House Bill 70 in the 131st General Assembly, which granted the state-appointed Academic Distress Commission (ADC) the ability to takeover failing school districts, the legitimacy of the distress commission, has come into question with a new state review of the Youngstown City School District.
According to the spring review by the Ohio Department of Education, the district’s ADC is failing key state education standards, from fiscal management to student support and curriculum delivery. The state’s review also says the Youngstown ADC doesn’t have a comprehensive professional development plan, lacks a district-wide communication plan, and is missing “instructional supports” for students with disabilities. The report calls for more shared accountability among building administrators too.
“Mounting evidence is bringing together lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to freeze state takeovers of our local schools,” said Smith. “We’re close to including language to that effect in a soon-to-pass bill and, less interparty political pressure or closed door deals, most Republican lawmakers seem ready to join us in taking a hard look at what’s really going on in education.”
State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) have a pending amendment to Senate Bill 216 to put a three-year moratorium on the state takeover of local schools, to give the legislature an opportunity to develop alternatives for failing school districts.
“We need a pause to figure out how the Academic Distress Commissions are affecting the quality of education of our children and to take into
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.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) issued the following statement in response to the news that Secretary of State Husted is directing counties not to purge voters before the August and November 2018 elections:
"I commend Secretary Husted for directing counties not to purge Ohio voters ahead of the midterm elections. As I said after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, it is up to the state to decide how we maintain our rolls and we can decide not to purge infrequent voters. The process of purging people for choosing not to vote is properly on hold until after the November election, and it should be postponed indefinitely."
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.”
Voting rights advocate Ohio state Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) 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:
“Today’s decision is in direct conflict with who we are as Americans and what we stand for around the world: free and fair democratic elections. It is disappointing that Ohio would go to such great lengths to make voting harder instead of easier. Citizens should be able to exercise their most fundamental freedom as they see fit without fear of being denied their sacred right as an American. As Ohio continues to be ground zero for extreme, partisan voter discrimination laws, we must fight for a better way – one where our most fundamental freedom is put into our state constitution and taken out of the hands of partisan politicians.”
Reece, a board member of the National Action Network and former vice chair of the 2016 DNC convention, has garnered statewide and national attention for her activism on justice reform and voting rights. The Cincinnati lawmaker has called for a Voter Bill of Rights to be guaranteed in state constitutions throughout the nation, and she serves as a founding member of the Ohio Governor’s task force on police-community relations.