Senator Tavares To Introduce Eyewitness Protection Act
Bill aimed at protecting citizens who record law enforcement and civilian incidents
May 29, 2015
 
 

Columbus—Next week, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) will introduce legislation aimed at protecting citizens who record law enforcement and civilian involved incidents. The Eyewitness Protection Act will give a person the right to lawfully record any incident involving law enforcement or the public and to maintain custody and control of that recording and the device used to record the incident. 

"In light of recent events involving law enforcement's use of force and reports of incidents where they have confiscated the recording or inhibited the ability of citizen witnesses to capture the event via audio or visual recording, I believe it is of the utmost importance to my constituents and the citizens of Ohio that we protect their rights," said Senator Tavares.

The bill will also prohibit law enforcement agencies from seizing the recording and/or recording device without lawful order of the court or without other lawful grounds to seize the device. 

In March, two Colorado state representatives introduced House Bill 15-1290, the Stop Police Interference Cop Incident Recordings bill prohibiting a police officer from interfering with a person lawfully recording a police officer involved incident. It was recently signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on May 20th.

"Our law enforcement has sworn an oath to serve and protect the residents of their respective communities," stated Senator Tavares. "We should have mutual respect between our local community and law enforcement; however, this may not be the case for all residents. The legislation will not only give eyewitness accounting of incidents, but also help to protect the integrity of the investigation and provide additional audio and visual angles of the incidents." 

 
 
  
 
Senate Democrats Submit More Than 500 Budget Amendments
Protect worker rights, keep Medicaid expansion and invest in public education
May 27, 2015
 
 

Columbus—Today, members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus submitted more than 500 amendments to House Bill 64, the biennial state budget.  The amendments represent the commitment of Senate Democrats to help Ohio families, grow our communities through targeted investments and increase opportunities for everyone. 

“The goal of the budget should be creating opportunities for all Ohioans to have a better future, not just a few,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman).  “That’s why Senate Democrats support a balanced budget that invests in our schools and local communities, keeps Medicaid expansion and has fair tax policies.  In addition, we offered amendments to enact reforms that will bring stronger transparency and accountability to Ohio’s charter schools.”

“The budget passed by the House contained several anti-worker provisions that put good middle-class jobs at risk,” said Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. “We have submitted amendments to remove those provisions because legislators should be focused on building a stronger middle class and not attacking the rights of workers.”

In addition to removing anti-worker provision inserted by the House, Senate Democrats submitted amendments to reinstate collective bargaining rights for home healthcare and childcare workers that Governor Kasich took away last week. Other amendments submitted today include the following:

Families:

  • Medicaid eligibility: maintain eligibility for pregnant women and those with breast and cervical cancer.
  • Developmental disabilities funding: increase funding to keep people in their homes and communities.

Communities: 

  • Local government and public library funding:  increase percentage of GRF allotted to local governments and public libraries.
  • Public transportation:  offered amendments to increase funding. (The House passed version of the budget had public transportation flat funded.) 

Opportunities:

  • Ohio College Opportunity Grants: additional aid for students enrolled in public or private not-for-profit institutions of higher learning.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: make the EITC refundable and remove the cap on refunds.
 
 
  
Senator Thomas testifies before the State and Local Government Committee to reinstate Pete Rose to the MLB.

Columbus—Today, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) testified before members of the State and Local Government Committee on Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 to urge Commissioner Robert Manfred to reinstate Pete Rose to Major League Baseball. The resolution also encourages the Baseball Writers' Association to consider Pete Rose for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

"Pete Rose is unquestionably a great American athlete," stated Senator Thomas during his testimony. "The way he played the game of baseball reflects many of the values we want to impart on our children, such as maximum effort, hard work, and perseverance." 

The 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held on July 14th at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, the city where Rose spent a majority of his career as a player and manager.

Rose is baseball's all-time hit leader and a 17-time All-Star as well as the winner of three batting titles and two Gold Gloves. He also won three World Series titles, two with the Cincinnati Reds and one with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rose managed the Reds beginning in 1984 until 1989, compiling a record of 426-388, the fifth most wins by a manager in Reds history. He was also one of the few player-managers in baseball history from 1984 to 1986. 

The resolution has received bipartisan support in the Ohio Senate. A similar resolution, HCR 15, has been introduced in the Ohio House. 

 
 
  

Cleveland—Today, Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) released the following statement calling for accountability after Judge John O'Donnell found Officer Michael Brelo not guilty of voluntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams: 

"I am deeply disappointed by the not guilty verdict in the Brelo trial. This verdict reveals how broken the justice system is. If Officer Brelo will not be held responsible for the fatal shots that killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, then who will be?  All of the officers involved should be terminated immediately. 

I encourage those who want their voices to be heard, continue to do so peacefully. While this is a blow to our work in rebuilding trust between the community and police, I remain steadfast in my dedication to ensure fairness and justice for all."
 

 
 
  

Columbus—Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) released the following statement after Governor Kasich rescinded an executive order that granted collective bargaining rights to home healthcare and childcare providers: 

“The Governor’s executive order silences the collective voice of thousands of workers who provide crucial services for long hours at low pay.  These workers, many of whom are women and minorities, are valuable assets to Ohio families. For Ohioans who work third shift, these childcare providers are sometimes the only option that fits their schedules.  And in-home healthcare providers allow those in need to stay in their homes. The Governor talks about lifting people out of poverty with jobs that pay a living wage. But, taking collective bargaining rights away from workers who already earn low wages shows his words don’t match his deeds.  Senate Democrats will be submitting budget amendments to address this attack on worker’s rights.”

 
 
  
 
Senator Williams Applauds Efforts To Assist Ohioans With Re-entry Into The Workforce
Issues call to action to private sector employers
May 21, 2015
 
 

COLUMBUS— Today, State Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) released the following statement applauding the efforts of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to “ban the box” and assist Ohioans with re-entry into the workforce. The department recently changed its policy to remove the checkbox requesting information on past convictions from civil service applications beginning on June 1st.

“This change in policy is a step in the right direction to evening the workforce playing field and assist rehabilitated Ohioans who are seeking employment. There are many ex-offenders who have gained necessary skills that can be utilized in our workforce and they should not be penalized for past mistakes. I now call upon private sector employees to join the movement to ‘ban the box’ and support our efforts to put Ohioans on a path to success.  Employment is vital to reducing recidivism, and as the economy continues to recover, it’s time for Ohio to ensure people who want work are given a second chance.”

In 2012, Senator Williams introduced legislation, HB 235, as a State Representative prohibiting employers from asking an applicant if they have been convicted or pleaded guilty to a felony on an employment application.  

 
 
  
 
Black Ohio Lawmakers Push For State Action On Justice Reform
Layout justice reform agenda to guide state, community efforts
May 20, 2015
 
 

COLUMBUS— Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) joined OLBC members today to call for justice reform and to urge the governor to release an action report on executive efforts toward reform in Ohio. The justice reform agenda* developed by the OLBC aims to guide state and community efforts in dialogue and action between communities of color and the state justice system. 

“Public outcry and civil unrest following the police-led deaths of unarmed African American men has started a new public dialogue surrounding police-community relations and the need for justice reform immediately in Ohio and throughout the nation,” said Rep. Reece. “We need to take hold of a moment in time when Americans and Ohioans are crying out for meaningful justice reform that keeps us safe, treats citizens fairly and restores faith in our justice system. Now is the time to take action for real justice reform.”

OLBC and community leaders are calling for changes in police and law enforcement training, including increased mental health training for peace officers, a greater degree of diversity at the at the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy and community-police partnership incubators that allow communities and law enforcement officials to discuss best practices and create community-based solutions specific to neighborhoods and cities across Ohio.

“I am eagerly anticipating movement on improving community-police relations, restoring confidence in our justice system, and the commitment of resources to ensure reforms are implemented,” said Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati). “It is time that we act on the findings of the Governor’s Task Force and maintain an awareness of community dynamics across the State of Ohio.”

Also among the OLBC’s action agenda items is an effort to change the state’s Grand Jury process through Ohio’s Constitutional Modernization Commission, requiring law enforcement to be equipped with body cameras, collecting social demographic data from police interactions to identify discriminatory policing tactics and reforming the death penalty. 

“Change comes with action, not promises,” said Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati). “While I applaud the governor’s executive order, our communities deserve a full and thorough follow-through of the recommendations from the Task Force on Community-Police Relations.”

As part of the comprehensive action plan, OLBC President Alicia Reece and members are urging Gov. Kasich to release a report on the current status of executive action taken by his administration following recommendations issued by the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations last month. The governor’s executive order created a board to develop and oversee minimum standards and best practices for police departments throughout the state.

Here is what other members of OLBC are saying about the need for justice reform: 

“I applaud the work of the Governor's Taskforce on Community and Police Relations, but we want to ensure that the report and recommendations do not sit on a shelf. We studied, recommended and now it is time for action, followed by ongoing education and enforcement.”—Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus)

“The trust between law enforcement and the people they serve and protect is critical to the safety of our officers and the integrity of our criminal justice system. I look forward to continued conversations with law enforcement, community members and elected officials about how we can get this right in Ohio.”—House Democratic Whip Kevin L. Boyce (D-Columbus) 

“I’m pleased to see the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission is considering examining the effectiveness of the grand jury. I will be following the commission’s progress, but I have high hopes they will be able to recommend ways to modernize Ohio’s judiciary process. Transparency is my main focus and I believe at minimum the Court should allow transcripts to be publicly available, ensure the independence of grand jury stenographers, and require the presence of a judge.”--Senator Sandra R. Williams (D-Cleveland) 

“It is of utmost importance for our communities to trust the men and women have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving the community. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, The 131st general assembly, and the administration to implement practical solutions in improving the relationship between police and the community. The future of our state depends on it.”—State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

“Our call to action requires that the state take meaningful and substantive steps toward improving police-community relations while making changes that will help restore faith in our justice system.” –Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) 

 
 
  

State Senator Kenny Yuko honored the Beachwood High School Girls Track Team in the Ohio Senate for winning the State Championship. Coach Smith was joined by Mia Knight, Maya Gaines-Smith, Emilykate Hopsum-Boyd, and Hannah Kahn who all received special recognition, along with a Resolution honoring all of them for their accomplishment. 

 
 
  

Columbus – Today in the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo) gave testimony to advocate for a budget amendment recognizing the renaming of the University of Toledo Urban Affairs Center in honor of former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford.

“Jack Ford left a lasting mark in Toledo, in Northwest Ohio, and throughout our state as an educator, a public servant and a leader,” said Senator Brown. “I am honored to advocate for this name change in the Ohio Senate. Continuing to support the Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center’s work enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life in Toledo is a fitting tribute to his legacy."

The amendment was drafted in recognition of the recent University of Toledo Board of Trustees vote, which officially changed the center’s name to the “University of Toledo Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center” in honor of John Marshall “Jack” Ford.
 
Ford passed away on March 21st of this year at the age of 67. 

 
 
  

Columbus—State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) applauded the passage of Senate Bill 30, legislation she sponsored which establishes the Ohio Family Stability Commission. The proposal establishes a time-limited commission that will focus on the strengthening of Ohio families and emphasizing the well-being of children. 

"While research has shown that the disintegration of the traditional family unit has contributed to the escalating rates of poverty and a wide-range of pathological social conditions, the Ohio Family Commission is a proactive step to addressing these issues in the state," said Senator Tavares. 

The commission, consisting of 25 representatives including policymakers, and representatives from state agencies and faith-based organizations, will address issues related to family instability in Ohio such as poverty, academic failure, poor health status, crime and incarceration. Members of the commission will be tasked with compiling a report and presenting its findings along with a series of recommendations to the Ohio General Assembly at the end of its four-year term on best practices to promote family stability. 

"The state of Ohio spends over $15 billion annually on public assistance services that tend to social issues that are in many ways the repercussions of single-parent homes and absent fathers," stated Senator Tavares. "While some may fear that we as a state cannot afford to address the issues of family instability at this time, I firmly believe that we cannot afford to not address these issues."

Senate Bill 30 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 32-1 and will now move to the Ohio House for consideration. 

 
 
  
<< Older Posts
Featured Posts

Senator Tavares To Introduce Eyewitness Protection Act

 

Columbus—Next week, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) will introduce legislation aimed at protecting citizens who record law enforcement and civilian involved incidents. The Eyewitness Protection Act will give a person the right to lawfully record any incident involving law enforcement or the public and to maintain custody and control of that recording and the device used to record the incident. 



 
 

Senate Democrats Submit More Than 500 Budget Amendments

 

Columbus—Today, members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus submitted more than 500 amendments to House Bill 64, the biennial state budget.  The amendments represent the commitment of Senate Democrats to help Ohio families, grow our communities through targeted investments and increase opportunities for everyone. 



 
 

Senator Thomas Testifies To Reinstate Pete Rose To Major League Baseball

 

Columbus—Today, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) testified before members of the State and Local Government Committee on Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 to urge Commissioner Robert Manfred to reinstate Pete Rose to Major League Baseball. The resolution also encourages the Baseball Writers' Association to consider Pete Rose for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 



 
 

Senator Williams Issues Statement Calling For Accountability After Verdict In Michael Brelo Trial

 

Cleveland—Today, Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) released the following statement calling for accountability after Judge John O'Donnell found Officer Michael Brelo not guilty of voluntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams: