Patrol: No bias shown toward black state lawmaker
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The State Highway Patrol says troopers and security personnel acted properly when stopping a black Ohio lawmaker as she attempted at least three times to enter state buildings.
A patrol report released Wednesday said the agency’s investigation found no “unprofessional conduct or bias” toward Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes, of Akron. Sykes had filed a complaint with the patrol. She has said she’s been singled out at security checkpoints, while white lawmakers pass through unquestioned.
The 32-year-old lawmaker said she was stopped despite displaying her security badge and her bag was searched.
The report says it was standard procedure to ask Sykes to run her bag through a screening device when her badge didn’t work.
Sykes said the report was disappointing, but says that’s what happens “when you investigate yourself.”
Governor signs bill increasing some drug penalties
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s governor has signed a bill that increases penalties for drug trafficking and some other drug offenses when the drug involved is a fentanyl-related compound.
Republican Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 1 on Wednesday. The law will go into effect after 90 days.
Among other things, it calls for increased penalties for drug trafficking, drug possession and aggravated funding of drug trafficking when a fentanyl-related compound is involved. The law could add as many as eight years to sentences of drug offenders convicted of serious crimes involving drugs containing fentanyl.
Increased penalties wouldn’t apply if the defendant didn’t know a compound contained fentanyl.
When a fentanyl-related drug conviction is connected to a homicide conviction, the law would require that prison sentences for each conviction run consecutively.
Ohioans get 3-day break from state sales tax for some items
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Shoppers get ready. Ohio’s sales tax holiday is set for this weekend.
From Friday through Sunday, clothing items costing less than $75 per item and school supplies costing less than $20 per item will be tax-free. The discount applies to purchases made in stores and online.
A full list of what falls under the sales tax holiday is available online.
The Ohio Senate unanimously approved a bill earlier this year that made the three-day sales tax holiday permanent. The Legislature had approved temporary sales tax holidays for the past three years.
State officials estimate the sales tax holiday will reduce state revenue by up to $16.9 million in 2020.
Gordon Gough, president of the state Council of Retail Merchants, says consumers will get the “lion’s share of benefits.”
Patrol issues over 500 citations enforcing Move Over law
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s State Highway Patrol says its recent enforcement and awareness effort focused on the Move Over law resulted in 586 citations issued to motorists.
The law requires drivers approaching any vehicles with flashing or rotating lights that are parked on the roadside to move over to an adjacent lane. Motorists should slow down and proceed with caution if moving over isn’t possible due to traffic or weather conditions or lack of a second lane.
The safety effort from July 22 through July 28 included state police in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
From 2013-2017, Ohio patrol cruisers were involved in 58 crashes that appear to be related to the Move Over law. The crashes resulted in the deaths of two civilians and injured 34 civilians and 24 officers.