Lawmakers in a House committee rejected a proposed amendment that would have banned the sale and display of the Confederate flag at county fairs in Ohio.
Democratic Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) wanted to add the amendment to a bill that allows county fairs to hold events during the COVID19 pandemic. She told the Ohio House Agriculture Committee other states have banned the sale and display of the Confederate flag at their county fairs and said there’s no reason for Ohio not to follow suit.
“If we were talking about putting something inside of a museum, I would gladly put this flag inside of a museum because we could all learn from the history of our country. But to be selling it, distributing it, to be putting it up in the places that we love going to which is our county fairs, our independent fairs, when the state fair has not allowed it since 2015, we should make, have our county fairs fall in line with this," Brent said.
Brent said the Confederate flag is offensive and added there's no significance for it in Ohio anyway.
“Ohio was never part of the confederacy at all so we are holding onto a flag that was never part of our state’s history," Brent said.
Republican Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) said the debate over banning flags at county fairs could be held later and should be expanded to all flags.
“We’ve got a lot of enemies of our country. And I just don’t know that this is the appropriate bill, the appropriate time. If we are going to ban flags, I think we ban all of those flags, not just one," Jones said.
And Jones said local control should be respected.
“They need to make those decisions for themselves. That’s not our job," Jones said.
The Republican committee chair, Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) cut off debate over the issue against the objections from Rep Brent. He gaveled her down. Then, she responded with the word, "treasonous."
The amendment was rejected with majority Republicans voting to table it and Democratic members voting to adopt it.