First Hearing Tuesday For Racism As Public Health Crisis Resolution

Jun 8, 2020

A resolution introduced last week to declare racism a public health crisis is getting its first hearing in the Republican-dominated Ohio Senate, where one member of the GOP has joined eight Democrats in sponsoring the measure.

Even though it wouldn’t have the same legal impact as a law, this proposal faces an uphill battle.

Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) is the only Republican in the Ohio legislature to join in sponsoring this resolution, either in the House or Senate.

In the House, none of the 34 sponsors are Republicans. Majority Leader Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said on Twitter that Republicans won’t be bullied into passing it without a hearing.

Sponsoring Democratic Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) said on "The State of Ohio" that her caucus is determined.

“We are focused beyond politics. We're focusing in on people," Howse said. "People will have conversations with their constituents. The people will always have the last say. People are understanding whether the power truly is. It's in the people.”

Another reaction came from Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), who’s blasted the state’s COVID-19 policies and shutdowns. He suggested on Facebook that the resolution could bring similar actions to those he’s criticized.

Howse and Vitale have clashed over social media before, over her bill to create a pilot therapy program for Cleveland area kids and families at risk of trauma related to gun violence.

Vitale wrote on Facebook that Howse’s bill gives ODH Director Amy Acton "the power to create and control firearms and therapy programs for guns."

Howse replied, “It's either he did not read the bill or he can't comprehend.”