Rep. Emilia Sykes

The leader of Democrats in the Ohio House is blasting a Republican controlled panel of lawmakers for its decision to deny a request by the Republican Secretary of State to pay for postage on ballots. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports. 

The Ohio House and Senate both addressed the potential repeal of the nuclear power plant bailout in different ways at the Statehouse on Tuesday. As Democrats call for a quick repeal, Republicans move ahead with a different approach.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) used an evening statewide address to urge Ohioans to take COVID-19 seriously and follow precautions such as wearing masks and observing social distance. However, DeWine stopped short of declaring any new health orders.

Ohio leaders are condemning threats of violence made against Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and her father, state Sen. Vernon Sykes, last weekend.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing for legislation that phases out EdChoice private school vouchers, which are based on public school performance. Legislators say the bipartisan House bill puts the focus back on making sure the public school system is fair and efficient.

photo of Emilia Sykes
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

We recognize the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday. Akron legislator Emilia Sykes recalled Dr. King’s work as she delivered a lecture Sunday at the Akron Library in his honor.

Sykes is the minority leader in the Ohio House. She talked about some of the issues she touched on in her speech—job training, transportation, and infant mortality—and why those are civil rights issues.

A photograph of legislative leaders
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The leaders of Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio House are coming together to sponsor priority legislation for this general assembly. That’s a departure from previous sessions, when each caucus announced their priorities separately.

Tuesday marks the first-ever meeting of the Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus.

photo of Rep. Emilia Sykes
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

As the Ohio House prepares to hold hearings on Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed operating budget, Democratic members want to make sure their priorities are considered. Issues including a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, and health care security are all part of what the Dems call “Ohio Promise.” 

Democrats say their “Ohio Promise” Plan focuses on working families.

The House minority caucus is in an interesting position since half of Republican Speaker Larry Householder’s votes came from Democrats.

photo of Rep. Emilia Sykes
OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Among the issues Governor Mike DeWine addressed in his state of the state address Tuesday were infant mortality and funding for children’s services. Both are concerns in Akron. WKSU spoke with Akron lawmaker Emilia Sykes.

Sykes liked the tone of the Governor’s address. She welcomed the attention he gave to issues affecting the city including a high infant mortality rate and an overburdened Children’s Services agency. It’s seen an increase in need because of the opiate epidemic. Sykes is hopeful when the Governor’s budget comes out, it will include specifics.

gas pump prices
ROSCHETZKY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gov. Mike DeWine says raising the gas tax from 28 cents a gallon to 46 cents a gallon will help fill a $1 billion construction budget shortfall. But the proposal has led to a debate over how it will impact Ohioans.

Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning groups are concerned a gas tax will disproportionately hurt poor people. That includes Policy Matters Ohio’s Victoria Jackson.

Study Finds Ohio Charter School Performance Is Not Improving

Feb 20, 2019
photo of charter school advocates
ANDY CHOW / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

A new study has found Ohio charter school students aren’t measuring up to their traditional school peers.

The report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University shows Ohio charter school students had weaker academic progress in math than traditional students. They showed similar results in reading.

The study finds the growth is even weaker for online charter students.          

SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

Ohio Republicans have made it a top priority this legislative session to cut state regulatory restrictions.

Senate Bill 1 calls for a 30 percent reduction in regulatory restrictions over the next three years.

Senate President Larry Obhof of Medina is a cosponsor. He said a study has found Ohio has more than 246-thousand restrictions, a number he calls burdensome. 

ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. Mike DeWine is extending protections and access to resources for victims of domestic violence. The executive order applies to state employees and extends existing protections while making one big change.

For the first time the protections for domestic violence victims will also be provided for those in dating relationships, not just marriage. Democratic House leader Emilia Sykes joined DeWine for the signing of the order.

Photo of Emilia Sykes
STATE OF OHIO

The election of Republican Speaker Larry Householder caused a shakeup among Ohio House Democrats as well. They’ve now picked new leadership, and for the first time women make up a majority of that team. 

Reps. Sykes, Strahorn and Celebrezze
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio House Democrats will pick a new leadership team next week, more than a week after their leader resigned in the fallout from the battle over which Republican would be speaker. 

Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) resigned on Friday, after voting for now-former Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who lost the overall House vote to Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).

26 of the 38 House Democrats Strahorn led backed Householder, including David Leland (D-Columbus). He’s not seeking a leadership position in next week’s vote.

photo of Emilia Sykes
OHIO HOUSE

An internal review of Ohio Statehouse security found no unprofessional conduct or bias during interactions with an African American state lawmaker who was trying to enter the building. But she says the report glosses over the bigger issue.

Photo of LeBron James
Brian Babineau / NBAE via Getty Images

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, June 2:

Photo of Emilia Sykes
STATE OF OHIO

An Akron-area state representative has filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission over how security has treated her at the Statehouse.

Family photo of Tamir Rice
Family of Tamir Rice

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, June 15:

Photo of Emilia Sykes
STATE OF OHIO

Rep. Sykes is 32-years old and African American. She says it’s hard to explain why she is being singled out. At the very least, she says it’s inconvenient and irritating.

But she says there is another reason for her raising awareness of her concerns.

“What is the face of leadership? Is it a middle-age white man, or a millennial black woman?

“I am hopeful people will start to recognize that leaders in our communities and our state are not monolithic.”

 Possible profiling

a photo of a trail
MEDINA COUNTY PARK DISTRICT

Ohio has a legislative caucus working to raise awareness of the state’s trails. 

The caucus, formed last year, is the only one in the U.S. dedicated to trails.  The group of lawmakers has been working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to create a website with an interactive guide to the thousands of miles of state trails.

Andy Chow / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The clock is ticking for Gov. John Kasich who has until Friday night to sign the $65 billion state budget that not only fills a revenue shortfall but makes some major policy changes. And there’s at least one change that could set the stage for a veto fight. 

The budget bill headed to Kasich’s desk cuts government spending across the board, gets rid of several funds that support local governments, reduces the number of tax brackets, and invests more than $175 million in the opioid epidemic.

Reps. Sykes, Strahorn and Celebrezze
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House is getting ready to vote on a bill that would ban cities like Akron and Cleveland from imposing local-hiring requirements for public construction projects. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports it also would restrict cities and the state from requiring contractors to use union labor on public projects.

Republican Rep. Joe Uecker’s bill would ban communities from requiring that local workers be used on state funded public construction projects.

“Anytime you limit who can bid on a project, that immediately serves to increase the cost of the bid.”

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