Ohio House urges Obama to halt Syrian refugee resettlement

By Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com

November 17, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to urge President Obama not to accept refugees from Syria after it was reported one of the terrorists in Friday’s Paris attacks may have sought asylum in France.

The resolution, a symbolic gesture, was rushed to the House floor and cleared the GOP-controlled chamber largely along party lines, 63-24, after a heated debate lasting longer than an hour. Cleveland Reps. Bill Patmon and John Barnes Jr. were the only Democrats to vote for the measure.

On Monday, more than half the country’s governors, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, opposed Obama’s policy to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. The governors — all but one were Republican — cited concerns that the Department of Homeland Security can’t properly vet Syrian refugees.

Ohio is the first state to pass such a resolution, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California passed a resolution urging more refugee resttlement.

The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Derickson, who is running for the congressional seat recently vacated by former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, said the measure is not about turning away refugees but about protecting the citizens who are already here.

“We must act now to prevent those wishing to commit acts of terror from entering our soil under the guise of refugee protection,” Derickson said on the House floor.

More than 4 million people have fled Syria since civil war began there in 2011, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most have settled in Turkey.

Ohio has admitted 76 Syrian refugees since 2011, according to the U.S. Department of State. Nationally, 2,181 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since then.

Rep. David Leland, a Columbus Democrat, said the resolution gives the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) exactly what it wants — admission of fear. Leland quoted the poem on the Statute of Liberty — a gift from France — that says, “Give me your tired, your poor…”

“There’s no caveat on that statute that says ‘unless we’re afraid of you,'” Leland said. “That’s who we are as a people, that’s who we’ve been as a people, that’s what makes the United States of America different from every other country in the world.”

Ohio lawmakers push to restore buffer zones around reservoirs

Legislature approved a measure earlier this year allowing property owners to maintain publicly owned buffer strips around drinking water supplies

Monday, November 16, 2015


Some lawmakers believe Ohio’s water quality is in danger because of a provision added to this year’s budget. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports.

Earlier this year, lawmakers approved a measure that would let landowners near reservoirs chop and trim in buffer zones. These are the strips of land with trees, bushes and grass that can catch harmful runoff.

To hear the interview click here:  http://wksu.org/news/story/44956

Democratic Representative David Leland of Columbus says landowners believe this makes the area look nicer.

“And that may be true but those things were there for a purpose, those things were there to protect the drinking water, and that has to have number one priority.”

Leland has introduced a bill to stop landowners from touching the municipality-owned buffer zones.

Study: Ohio Not Doing Enough To Prepare For Climate Change Effects

  NOV 20, 2015

Two groups have released a study on the nation’s preparedness for climate change-related weather events showing Ohio is not ready for what could come in the next decades.

The project from ICF International and Climate Central faults Ohio and most states for doing little to take on threats of inland flooding, drought and extreme heat in the coming decades. The study is not peer reviewed science. It says there is no evidence the state has made policy changes or put money toward the problems.

Democratic Representative David Leland of Columbus says, despite the discouraging grade, he’s optimistic leaders can break party lines to address the issue.

Leland: “Everything that happens to us in the next 20 years whether we have enough water to drink, whether we have enough food to eat, everything is going to be related to our ability to deal with climate change.”

An example in the report of a well-prepared state is California which has programs in place to determine the effect development projects would have on climate change.

Democrats eyeing opportunities for general election in 2016

By Lee Morrison

TimesReporter.com staff writer

Although the Nov. 3 general election isn’t far away, much of the talk among Democratic Party leaders Wednesday focused on gearing up for victory in next year’s election.

“Every county in Ohio has to be firing on all cylinders if we’re going to be successful in 2016,” said state Rep. David J. Leland, D-District 22, who served as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party from 1995 to 2002.

“Tuscarawas County has a great tradition of being a strong part of the Democratic Party family. I know how important Tuscarawas County is to the success of the Democratic Party statewide.”

Leland said he was “very excited about the opportunity” to speak to the roughly 80 people attending a county Democratic Party banquet in the Elks club in Uhrichsville. He was joined by Frances Strickland, wife of former Congressman and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who is running for the United States Senate.

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New Bill Would Make It Easier For Communities To Close Nuisance Properties

  OCT 5, 2015

Businesses that cause problems in neighborhoods could be shut down a little more easily under a proposed change to the state’s nuisance law.

Columbus resident Kenneth Gilbert is the president of his neighborhood association. He says an after-hours club in his neighborhood was dangerous and caused problems for residents.

“There were murders, there were drugs, there was prostitution, and we were told by the Popeyes there that they had to lock their doors because people were shooting up in the restrooms,” Gilbert says.

His group worked with the Columbus City Attorney’s office to try to shut the Club LaRue down by declaring it a nuisance, but he says it wasn’t easy.

“What got them stopped was one single underage buy of alcohol according to our police officers,” he says. “You could have ten murders and only one drink of alcohol and it’s the alcohol problem that causes the property to be deemed a nuisance.”

Columbus police found it difficult to control crime in Gilbert’s neighborhood when the club was open. And Officer Scott Clinger says it’s not just this one club that is causing problems.

“We’ve had places for years that have remained open and continued to have violence over and over and over, shootings and that kind of thing,” Clinger says.

A bill that’s been introduced in the Ohio legislature would change the definition of “nuisance” to include the occurrence of violent offenses. Democratic State Representative David Leland, one of the bill’s sponsors, says he and the Republican co-sponsor of this legislation, Representative Stephanie Kunze, have worked with community groups, police organizations, cities, judges and others who have interest in the bill to come up with a way to close nuisance businesses faster.

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Lawmakers want to make it easier to shut down certain nuisance properties

NBC4i.com Published: 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — To say Club LaRue on Karl Road in Columbus was a nuisance is an understatement. Police were called there 45 times in less than three months in 2014 for shootings – including one homicide, fights and sexual assaults.

But it wasn’t until after undercover officers had evidence of the sale of alcohol to a minor that the city was able to board up the place as a nuisance under state law.

Some state lawmakers want to change that.

Under the current law, judges can consider evidence of illegal drugs, alcohol and prostitution when making a determination of nuisance.

Rep. David Leland, a Columbus Democrat, is one of the sponsors of a bill that would add the words “violent acts” to the state’s nuisance law.

“I mean, we’re talking about a pattern of violence,” Leland said. “We’re not talking about an incident here or an incident there. We’re talking about a place where this stuff happens a lot.”

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Projects promote sustainability

Tuesday September 29, 2015

From pulling weeds and prickly thistles to digging a rain garden, Green Apple Day of Service was all about connecting children with the natural world and improving “green” aspects at local schools.

Worthington Estates Elementary School, along with Violet Elementary School in Pickerington, held Green Apple Day of Service events Saturday, Sept. 26, joining several schools across the state and nation working on environmental projects.

School and community volunteers dug a rain garden at Worthington Estates, while students pulled weeds, landscaped and helped to build a “sustainable sign art station” at Violet.

“We hoped to help the students enhance their environment and give them tools to show that where they learn matters,” said Tyler Steele, a Worthington Estates parent and a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council Central Ohio chapter. “This is one way to connect with families and students to show that there are better ways to treat environmental issues.”

State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) joined the Worthington Estates students on their project. He and state Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) sponsored a resolution Sept. 22 to declare Sept. 26 as Green Apple Day of Service in Ohio.

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Troubled waters: Cities right to sue

The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday September 17, 2015

State law endangers their ability to prevent tainted reservoirs

As five Ohio cities sue to overturn a hastily passed state law that threatens the safety of drinking water for millions, the legislature should fix its mistake rather than risk a legal rebuke.

A provision slipped into the new state budget — at the 11th hour and without proper debate — essentially allows neighbors along rivers and reservoirs to trespass, mow and alter publicly owned lands. This ill-considered permission could justify about any change on these buffer strips, some as wide as 400 feet.

Trees blocking a waterfront view? Chop ’em down. Tall grasses ruining a manicured lawn? Mow. Want easier access to the waterfront? Build steps.

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Board’s resolutions protest funding decisions

By PAMELA WILLIS  Wednesday August 26, 2015 12:43 PM

The Worthington school board is taking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to task for a veto decision related to the state budget that slashed more than $10 million from the district’s bottom line.

Board members also have asked state legislators to stop shifting funds from public schools to fund charter schools.

The board invited state Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and state Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) to a workshop Monday, Aug. 24, to discuss that loss of state funding and two resolutions that ask legislators to reverse Kasich’s decisions.

The first resolution asks legislators to sponsor a bill to override the gubernatorial veto that eliminated the tangible personal property tax reimbursement for 2017. The second resolution asks for an alteration in the state funding formula for charter schools, which currently deducts state dollars from public schools for students in a given district who choose to attend charter or community schools.

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