Posts Tagged 'State Rep. Clyde'

Rep. Clyde Disappointed with Disrespectful Comments by Ohio Right to Life

As an Ohio Right to Life advocate was testifying in the ongoing Finance Committee hearings on the Mid-Biennial Budget Review (HB 497), which now includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood, State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) was taken aback by the inappropriate comments made about young women. 

During her testimony before the committee, the Ohio Right to Life advocate stated, “We know why Planned Parenthood clinics are in places like Kent.”  The statement was made as if there is something wrong with locating a Planned Parenthood clinic near a college campus, where thousands of young women would be in proximity to the clinic’s important, life-saving services.  That sentiment was expressed further during questions and answers.    

“These insinuating comments are completely out of line and disrespectful to young women around this state,” said Rep. Clyde.  “Many college students are away from home, do not have a primary care physician on campus, and are not insured or are out of their network while away at school.  They often do not have the financial means to go elsewhere for these very basic and private healthcare needs such as annual pap smears.”

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Kent does not perform abortions.  However, like all Planned Parenthood clinics, they provide basic preventative health services for thousands of women and men.  If Ohio follows through with this attempt to defund stand-alone family planning clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, we risk losing millions in federal funding putting women’s health at great risk.  Recently, Texas lost all federal family planning funding, which totaled $39 million last year, for blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving any state or federal funding.  Federal law already prohibits funding for abortion services.

During Rep. Clyde’s questions, Committee Chairman Ron Amstuz abruptly cut off all questioning, calling this an “emotional” issue for some members of the committee and ended the hearing. 

“This war on women is offensive and degrading.  This is not simply a women’s issue or an issue about a women’s choice, this is a family issue,” said Rep. Clyde.  “Many mothers depend on services such as cancer screenings that Planned Parenthood provides.  If we take these critical services away, we put these families at risk of losing a mother, a daughter, grandmother or aunt.  That is simply unacceptable.”

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Dem Lawmakers Disappointed in Husted’s Decision to Fight Counting Votes

State Representatives Kathleen Clyde and Alicia Reece expressed disappointment in Secretary of State Husted’s decision to appeal the federal court ruling to count provisional ballots in the undecided Hamilton County Juvenile judge race.

“I am incredibly disappointed in Secretary Husted’s decision to continue to drag out this voting debacle by once again appealing the federal court ruling to count the votes. The continued delay in resolving this case will cost citizens more of their hard earned tax dollars and further undermines confidence in Ohio’s election process,” said Rep. Reece. “Every citizen deserves to have their vote counted, and we will continue to fight for what is right and just.”

Last week, the Hamilton County Board of Elections came to a tie vote on whether to pursue yet another appeal of the federal court’s decision in favor of counting the provisional ballots.  Siding with the GOP board members, Secretary Husted voted late yesterday to appeal the decision. 

“Ohio has a provisional ballot crisis and Secretary Husted’s decision will only continue to prolong it in a crucial presidential election year,” said. Rep. Clyde.  “Secretary Husted has voted in favor of throwing out citizens’ votes even where poll workers admit they made a simple mistake and sent a voter to the wrong table. This is simply unacceptable.  It is the government’s job to tell voters where to vote and to count their votes.”

Last year, at an earlier stage of the 15-month long litigation, Secretary Husted voted with the GOP members of the Hamilton County Board of Elections to appeal an earlier order from the federal district court to count the provisional ballots.  The United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals then said that Ohio’s provisional ballot laws operate in a way that is “fundamentally unfair to the voters of Ohio, in abrogation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process of law” and refused to overturn the district court’s decision to count the votes.  Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the 6th Circuit’s ruling.

Dems Call for Slow Down of Redistricting Process

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde sent a letter to Rep. Matt Huffman, Chairman of the State Government and Elections Subcommittee on Redistricting, calling for a slow down on the process to pass a new congressional redistricting map.  In the letter Rep. Clyde states, “We need to step back and take the time to do this right with bipartisan support for whatever plan the legislature adopts.  We’ll need an emergency clause to act no matter our course of action, so there is no reason why we cannot take additional time for hearings and discussion.  Failure to do so ensures protracted legal battles, public confusion and uncertainty for voters and candidates across the state.”

A copy of the full letter appears below.

Dear Chairman Huffman,

I write to call your attention to the legal chaos that we are heading for at high speed.  With success looking more and more likely on the effort to referendum HB 194, we are almost certain to have a big problem with the timeline of upcoming election deadlines.  Without bipartisan cooperation, we will hit the December 7 candidate filing deadline for next year’s elections without first having the new congressional district lines in place.  Candidates will be required to file their candidate petitions by December 7 under the old congressional district plan and there is no provision in law to prevent this paradox. 

The primary is scheduled for March 6, 2012.  HB 194 would have moved the primary to May but that bill is likely to be on hold until November 2010.  The candidate filing deadline will be December 7, 2011, only 86 days away and within the typical 90-day waiting period before bills take effect.  Only a bipartisan vote of 66 members of the House can make a law take effect immediately and avoid the legal chaos that will ensue if changes are not made in time. 

Redistricting is moving fast and, despite the pleas of the public that we all heard when we traveled the state for regional hearings, the map under consideration has not been released to the public nor to members of the State Government and Elections committee.  Meanwhile, we have a possible vote scheduled for less than 48 hours from now. 

We need to step back and take the time to do this right with bipartisan support for whatever plan the legislature adopts.  We’ll need an emergency clause to act no matter our course of action, so there is no reason why we cannot take additional time for hearings and discussion.  Failure to do so ensures protracted legal battles, public confusion and uncertainty for voters and candidates across the state.  Politicians’ drawing the lines for maximum political advantage is not fair and has delivered extreme policies in Ohio and partisan posturing in Washington.  We can do better. 

Respectfully,

Kathleen Clyde
State Representative
House District 68

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“What’s wrong with the reapportionment process”

As the Apportionment Board met in field hearings across the state last week news media across the state have been covering this process. The Toledo Blade editorial board called last week’s hearings “little more than an exercise in failed public relations.” Excerpts of the Blade editorial “Remapping Ohio” follow:

“Ohioans finally have a map that shows how the boundaries of state legislative districts can be redrawn to make them more compact and competitive. The map didn’t come from the state panel that is charged with redistricting the General Assembly.

“The Republican-dominated board isn’t likely even to acknowledge the map’s existence. That’s what’s wrong with the reapportionment process.

“Once a decade, the Ohio Apportionment Board adjusts legislative districts to account for population shifts identified in the U.S. Census. Typically, whichever party — Republican or Democratic — has a board majority uses that advantage to draw districts to gain seats in the state House and Senate.

“This year, four of the five board members are Republicans: Gov. John Kasich, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Auditor Dave Yost, and Senate President Tom Niehaus (R., New Richmond). House Minority Leader Armond Budish (D., Beachwood) is the only Democrat.

“Among the Republicans, only Mr. Husted has expressed interest in making the process less partisan. Mr. Budish proposed several rule changes designed to expand public participation and make the process more transparent and less partisan. Republicans rejected them.

“The apportionment board just completed hearings across the state that offered the illusion of public input. But without even a tentative map to display, the hearings were little more than an exercise in failed public relations.

“Gerrymandering districts to maximize the political clout of either party is bad for democracy. It polarizes voters and encourages lawmakers to govern from the extremes rather than to seek consensus and compromise in the middle.

“When that happens at the state level, the result is the all-or-nothing partisan battle that surrounds Senate Bill 5. At the federal level, you get a minority of Republican lawmakers nearly pushing the nation into default in the debt-ceiling debate. That resulted in the first-ever downgrade of America’s credit rating.

“Into the state’s breach stepped the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting, a coalition of good-government groups including the Ohio League of Women Voters, Ohio Citizen Action, and Common Cause. They sponsored a contest that asked the public to draw redistricting maps that would enhance partisan competition, split as few counties and communities as possible, and reflect the true political makeup of the state.

“It turns out that creating legislative districts that strengthen the two-party system and encourage reasonable political debate isn’t difficult, once the politics are removed.

“The top-scoring map was drawn by Mike Fortner, a Republican state representative — from Illinois…”

 Read the full editorial here.

Rep. Clyde Criticizes Latest Attempt to Thwart Referendum

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde raised concerns over Secretary of State Husted’s directive to prohibit county boards of elections from mailing out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters.

 “This is yet another overreach that has become common practice of the Ohio Republican leadership.  Secretary Husted’s directive is a blatant attack on the citizens’ right of referendum clearly outlined by the Ohio constitution.  Secretary Husted supported an ill-conceived elections law that passed without any bipartisan support and is now trying to rescue some of its provisions from a referendum effort by concerned citizens around the state.” 

House Bill 194 would drastically change Ohio’s elections laws and included a prohibition on mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, a practice used in large counties to cut down on Election Day costs. A petition drive is underway to place HB 194 on the Nov. 2012 ballot as a referendum. This would halt the implementation of the bill until the voters decide. Secretary Husted’s directive is an attempt to skirt this possible referendum. 

 “This repeated claim of needing policies that create uniformity is disingenuous.  These policies will actually create huge disparities on Election Day.  We shouldn’t require counties with over one million people to use the same practices as counties with only 13,000 people.  We don’t require Cuyahoga County with more than 1,000 precincts to limit itself to just 20 precincts because that’s what Vinton County has,” Rep. Clyde said. “I am very disappointed in Secretary Husted’s decision that will hurt Ohio voters.”

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MUST READ: Toledo Blade “Focus on the voters”

During Monday’s Apportionment Board field hearing at the University of Toledo, witnesses and  Rep. Clyde highlighted the need for a fair and open process as the Republican-controlled Board redraws the boundaries of General Assembly districts. Excerpts from the Toledo Blade article by Tom Troy follow:

“A witness urged the Ohio Apportionment Board Monday in Toledo to redraw state House districts that are based on ‘compactness’ and ‘competitiveness,’ rather than on maximizing incumbent re-election chances.

“Catherine Turcer, director of the Ohio Citizen Action’s Money in Politics Project… called for more competitive districts that reflect the state’s relatively even distribution of Democrats and Republicans, instead of devising districts just to maximize the number of Republican-controlled House seats.

“’…I’m here to encourage you to focus on the voters rather than focusing on outcomes,’ Ms. Turcer said.

“Ms. Turcer thanked the board for its traveling hearings, but a couple of Democrats criticized the value of the meetings because no proposed maps have been published yet.

“‘This is a combination of a farce and a joke,’ said state Rep. Dennis Murray (D., Sandusky) of the 80th House district… They’re having a hearing before there’s anything to talk about.’

“State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent), a stand-in for apportionment board member Armond Budish (D., Beachwood), said the lack of maps rendered the hearings somewhat pointless.

“’This process I think is antiquated and kind of contrary to the will of the people,’ Ms. Clyde said. ‘I’m in the House, which is supposed to be the people’s house, but it doesn’t seem to reflect the will of the people. I just think the process stinks and Ohio deserves better. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have maps right now. The data’s been available since April.’

…”

Read the full article here.

MUST READ: Zanesville Times Recorder “House, Senate members look for public input on redistricting”

In Zanesville yesterday at the second of five scheduled public hearings on congressional redistricting State Rep. Kathleen Clyde stressed the importance of public input and openness in the process. Excerpts of the article by Brian Gadd of the Zanesville Times Recorder follow:

“Members of the Ohio House and Senate committees tasked with looking at Congressional Redistricting conducted a joint hearing Wednesday at the Ohio University-Zanesville/Zane State College Campus Center.

“Ohio is losing two of its 18 Congressional seats because of population shifts and likely will be taken from the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas.

“Only two people came to speak to members of the House State Government and Elections Subcommittee and Senate Select Committee on Redistricting because of a lack of publicity. The Times Recorder learned of the 3 p.m. meeting via an email shortly beforehand …Robert Brems Sr., of Coshocton, said he didn’t know about the meeting until Wednesday morning.

“The committees will make three more stops around the state — today in Cleveland and Aug. 2 in Lima and Cincinnati — in an effort to collect public input on the redistricting process.

“’Voters should be engaged in this process and it’s unfortunate not many people knew about this hearing,’ said Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Democrat from Kent representing the 68th legislative district. ‘But this is just stage 1 of many stages. Let’s hope this openness continues throughout the process.’

“Brems pitched a Congressional map he drew up…

“Brems said he became interested in tackling the redistricting process for himself in April, and he created his map based on the changing populations.

“He said he was worried about the ‘political shenanigans’ likely to occur in the state’s process which would further gerrymander districts to create or save ‘safe’ House districts for certain politicians.

“Allowing the public to have their redistricting ideas considered ‘would take a lot of animosity out of the process.’

“He told the committee his plan was published in the Coshocton Tribune on May 1, and he sent copies to Gov. Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted…

“But committee members Rep. Tom Letson, a Democrat from Warren, and Rep. Vernon Sykes, a Democrat from Akron, lauded Brems’ efforts.

“Clyde agreed.

“’I like the idea of the public submitting plans, rather than the public’s idea of back-room deals being done,’ she said, in regard to Brems’ map and the announcement of redistricting competitions.

…”

Read the full article here.


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