OEA President points to danger in legislation threatening civil rights
MANSFIELD, Ohio, May 21, 2011 -- Ohio Education Association President Patricia Frost-Brooks offered the keynote address at the 26th annual Crystal Life Membership Banquet May 21 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Mansfield.
Reflecting the event’s theme, “NAACP: Upholding the American Tradition of Checks and Balances via the Ballot Box,” the OEA leader stressed the importance of voter rights at a time when these very rights are threatened by legislation including Senate Bill 5, the state budget bill, House Bill 153, and House Bill 159, which would require state photo ID for all voters.
“We are not going back to a time before we had collective bargaining rights – indeed, a time before we had our full share of civil rights promised to us,” President Frost-Brooks said. “It is no coincidence that collective bargaining rights are under fire at the same time as our right to vote and our right to equal treatment under the law.”
Frost-Brooks addressed Senate Bill 5 – legislation that repeals Ohio’s collective bargaining law – and the movement to gather signatures to ensure that a citizen veto of Senate Bill 5 is on the November ballot. “This truly is a check and balance system built into the Ohio Constitution,” she said. “We believe we can overturn this legislation. This truly is our chance to make a difference at the ballot box.”
OEA’s President reminded those gathered that Senate Bill 5 is but one threat facing Ohioans.
“The reality is that the budget bill takes another crack at those who serve the public in our cities, hospitals and schools by including many of the same anti-union provisions that exist in SB 5,” she said. “This is a brazen attempt to circumvent the will of the people.”
The proposed Voter ID legislation also threatens civil rights, Frost-Brooks said. “By requiring a state photo identification card from every voter, HB 159 threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters. This is pure and simple, an attempt by those in power to take away voting rights from those who lack power and money.”
The Ohio Education Association represents 128,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
Click here for a downloadable copy of the prepared remarks of Patricia Frost-Brooks.