Yesterday, 5200 people arrived at the Ohio Statehouse from all around the state, and found the doors locked.
The State Highway Patrol limited access to the Statehouse today as thousands of protesters stood outside in the cold, many angry they could not get inside to register their opposition to a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining for state employees.
Unless the members of the State Highway Patrol have gone rogue and are occupying the statehouse, someone gave them an order to lock the doors. Presumably, Ohio Department of Public Safety Director and Kasich appointee Thomas Charles did.
Since the statehouse is huge, and the building was all but empty, I’m wondering why Governor Kasich’s appointee kept 5200 constituents standing out in 26 degree cold with no objections from the bold and brave lawmakers who make up the conservative caucus.
With a SWAT vehicle stationed across Third Street from the Statehouse and heavy security across the grounds, the patrol allowed only about 750 inside the Capitol. Seats were placed in the Atrium so the protesters could listen to the scheduled testimony of about 15 opponents to the bill at a Senate committee hearing.
Nothing says “lively debate” like a SWAT vehicle and a heavy police presence. Janitors, teachers, firefighters and clerks are, of course, terrifying. Maybe that was the reason for the lock-out. If they had been able to feel their hands and feet they may have rioted.
If you live in Ohio, call Governor Kasich and ask him if he was aware that 5200 people traveled to their statehouse and were locked out by his appointee, until Democratic lawmakers intervened and threatened an injunction.
Governor Kasich may not be the best contact, as he told CNN yesterday that SB5 is “not my bill”. The buck stops elsewhere.
In the alternative, try this potted plant, Shannon Jones.
She’s the conservative lawmaker who put her name on SB5, but couldn’t find her voice yesterday to stand up and object when dissenters were locked out. Call her up and ask if she’s (now) ready to defend her work.
Shannon Jones (R)
614 466 9737