Yesterday’s pro-choice rally at the Ohio Statehouse gave us a preview of what future “security upgrades” at the public building might look like.  It wasn’t pretty and it’s only going to get worse.

Security Threat??

Security Threat??

The mostly-female crowd of over 100 showed up to protest the anti-choice amendments recently added to the state budget and to deliver 17,000 petitions to Kasich at his Statehouse office.   Kasich’s staff locked the office and refused to accept the petitions, which were then left in a pile outside.

Attendees noticed an increased presence of Ohio Highway Patrol troopers inside and outside of the Statehouse, and troopers were inspecting the bags of people entering the building, something State Rep. Teresa Fedor found extremely unusual: “We checked bags today,” she said. “When we have bills on guns, we don’t check bags.”

In addition to the increased Patrol presence, one attendee explained that there were ”guys in suits in the House telling us we couldn’t take pictures, be in the aisle, stand up, etc.”  The “guys in suits” appear to have been the house sergeant-at-arms and his assistants, who are responsible for the security of house members and staff.

During hearings in the House, the sergeants-at-arms attempted to force all of the protesters to sit together in the gallery “so they could control us”, said one attendee.  State Reps Connie Pillich and Nickie Antonio eventually came up to the gallery to diffuse the tension and allow the spectators to sit wherever they wished.

Spectators at the Senate hearings were not given the same courtesy, instead they were all forcibly removed from the gallery, including Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Ohio, who was “personally shoved in the back from the gallery to the door”.

During earlier conference committee hearings on the budget, Senate Republicans blocked the broadcast of  the hearings, going so far as to put bags over the cameras in the House Finance hearing room.

Lt. Ann Ralston of the Ohio Highway Patrol confirmed that there was an increased presence of troopers at the building and they were checking the bags of everyone entering the building.   Both of these changes came at the request of Sergeant-at-Arms Richard “Butch” Collins.  Troopers were not involved in the events that took place in the galleries.

Collins, a former Highway Patrol Superintendent who resigned during an investigation into the misuse of a special activities fund, was hired by Speaker Batchelder earlier this year.

Ever since the big SB5 rallies rocked the Statehouse, Kasich and Republicans in the legislature have been looking for ways to limit access to “the People’s House“.   The current budget sets aside over $1 Million to pay for the “security upgrades” which will including having every visitor screened by officers with security wands while registered lobbyists receive a special badge exempting them from the screenings.

Since taking office, Kasich has also used the cover of “security concerns” to avoid releasing public records and as an excuse for the multimillion dollar increases in the cost of his security.   Plunderbund currently has a case pending with the Ohio Supreme Court over public records that the Kasich administration is refusing to release for “security concerns”.

 

Evangelize!
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  • buckeyekelly

    Yesterday the very gruff man in the Senate attempted to intimidate some of us. I held my head high and walked as slowly as possible. The state troopers outside the Senate were very polite (the gentleman holding the door for us smirked a little at my pace knowing exactly what I was doing).

    The NONSENSE upstairs in the House gallery was just that. I sat on the wings when I returned and decided to move with the others to the center of the gallery. Then Mr. Misogyny wouldn’t let us go back “because he said so.” I honestly though Rep. Pillich was going to clock him. When she asked who wanted to move, I simply stood up and trotted my pro-choice butt over there, front row, center. It goes beyond nerve. To demand women stay separate from men and from view of the cameras is degrading, unnecessary, and he should be reprimanded as such. I wasn’t aware the wailing wall was relocated to the Statehouse.

  • Think.

    When I went to the “People’s House” a few weeks ago, I saw the new fence surrounding the Statehouse grounds. As I walked toward the building, I found it almost funny that the Civil War cannons were pointed at the sidewalks.

  • wendy

    As Mr. Collins suggested, I have contacted Speaker Batcheider to determine how to file an official complaint. Thanks for reminding me that I haven’t heard back yet. I refuse to be discriminated against in the “People’s House”.

  • buckeyekelly

    should you need additional names, please use mine or contact me and I can file my own (kellypdillon@gmail.com).

  • Alliea

    Please call and ask to file a formal complaint if you were discriminated against in any manner! Mr. Collins’ behavior should never be allowed. 614-466-8140

  • Laurel Hardy

    It’s a goddamn shame that what once was the party of Lincoln has sold its soul to become America’s Taliban. Maybe Batchelder can hire Butch to head up the Morality Police you know will be coming next to ensure the women wear their burkas like they surely will be mandated.

  • Clecinosu

    Seems the GOP in Ohio didn’t want to be embarrassed the same way the Texas GOP was when Wendy Davis filibustered. Trouble is, they look just as arrogant and pathetic, if not more so.

    Kasich’s staff locking the doors to his statehouse office makes him look even more of a petulant child. (It wouldn’t surprise me if Kasich’s staffers chose to kick the petitions around the statehouse, use them as scrap paper, or just take them and throw them in the trash. That, to me, has been their idea of “listening to their constituents” all along.)

    The intimidation of people in the House gallery, as well as the forcible ejection of people from the Senate gallery is, to put it mildly, an outrage. To put it more forcefully, it was criminal.

    The Senate GOP blocking broadcast of precedings is as shameful as anything else, but nothing new for this legislature and this administration. They’ve done nothing but try to hide their dirty deeds from the public since they slimed their way into power.

    All we can do is keep it up. From one who couldn’t be there with you to all of those who were, thank you.

  • Mark Schrider

    God forbid any of these self-righteous, right-wing, misogynistic prigs should have to face anything resembling reality. They will pay the price at the ballot box as women turn out at the polls to vote these ass-hats out of office.

  • LAS555

    OK, so Kasich has PO’d the women of Ohio (and many of the men). What needs to happen now is a door-to-door campaign, educating each and every family in our neighborhoods about the crooks in the Statehouse. There is no way that the people can have the influence of the muzzled and/or collusive media unless there is personal contact to inform every voter personally. And this needs to be an effort that is informed and respectful of your neighbors’ existent opinions (a little training never hurts). We are in the spotlight here!

  • Think.

    So true- never forgive nor forget Kasich and his accomplices in the legislature!

  • dmoore2222

    The girls will decide the next state election just like they did the last presidential election. Vote this fraud out, ladies!

  • dmoore2222

    The arrogance of these deadenders is nothing short of mystifying. They refuse to recognize that Ohio’s demographic makeup is changing rapidly and women are the majority of voters now. This reminds me of the chauvinsim of the 50s. One look at Batchelder’s eyewear says it all. What he continues to see through those lenses is totally removed from reality. Their “safe district” calculus tells them they’ll stay employed but there’s a point at which women, and even men, of their own party will either abstain or vote against them. November 2014 can’t come soon enough.

  • Lesley Maynard-Pegg

    Yeah I’m not surprised Butch got hired by the Rethugs, his brother is just as much of a bully here in Marion. He’s always been a bully and is dumber than a box of rocks, should know Bill was a couple of years ahead of me in school. Guess women have no say any more.

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