by Arlena Echoles
In our generation, the roles in the “average” household have changed quite a bit. Both of the parents take the time to be with their children, the fathers are not always the bread winners, and the mothers are not always at home. This stereotype has dictated the way society has taken view of the “average” family for too long.
In the Legislative Bill # GS 30, Alannah Graves has laid out a new plan titled D.A.D.S., or Dads Acting in Domestic Situations. This bill was passed in the senate its first deliverance. D.A.D.S. is a bill that will help fathers of newborns get more paid time off of work. This bill was centered around the fathers, until an amendment was proposed. This amendment changed mandatory pay from not just fathers, but mothers as well. Alannah Graves got her inspiration to write this from the absence of her own father, she states, “knowing that my dad would have tried to hard to do anything for me is an inspiration.”
This isn’t the only bill that has shown a light on the maternity/paternity subject. In the Legislative Bill # GH 01, Kate Falko describes her plan to set up partial pay for maternity and paternity leave. This bill discusses the twelve weeks of leave and the paid amount to the new family. It does not just regard women, but men as well. During the twelve weeks of absence, it disclaims,”at least two-thirds of the parent’s current salary will be provided.” This bill passed the house and will move onto the next step.
The stereotype of the household are not the same as it used to be in the “dark ages”. The change is not just helping our families, but our future. This bill will change the views of society in the brightest of ways.
By Olivia Nicole
Alcoholic drinks have been the source of many controversial events in the history of the United States, for example the 18th amendment of the Constitution. The age has been equally controversial, with the states’ varying changes of legal age requirement to purchase and consume it. When creating bills for the Ohio YMCA Youth Conference, three young women decided they wanted to make a change. Their names are Emily Seidle, Belle Taylor, and Trinity Gonzalez.
Seidle’s bill was created to raise the drinking age to 25. “What inspired me to write this bill is that my mother is an drug and alcohol counselor,” said Seidle, “as well as the fact that I’ve lost many family members due to this kind of thing. Maybe others [won’t] have to experience it like I did.” Seidle’s bill died in committee, by one vote, on March 30th, 2017.
Taylor and Gonzalez shared the same interest for their opposing bill, which was for lowering the legal age of purchase and consumption alcohol. “I think [our bill] passed because 18, 19 and 20 year olds are still out drinking as well as the 21 and over,” said Taylor, “They think they are adults and they should be treated like adults, and saying 18 is too young, at the same time [they] will do it anyways.”
Seidle’s bill died in committee, by one vote, on March 30th, 2017. Taylor’s/Gonzalez’s bill was passed onto the Senate on March 31st, 2017. The idea of lowering the drinking age shows the development and progression since 1919.
By Ruby Ford
Many of this year's Youth & Government conference delegates have written legislation in favor of caring for our environment. These individuals have taken the initiative to eradicate some of the most relevant and controversial issues and concerns about our daily habits and lifestyles and its effect on the world we live in. The main goal of the majority of these delegates is to emphasise the importance of taking action in our communities now. They have acknowledged the fact that whatever it is that we do today will gradually take its course and reveal its detrimental effects that have been caused due to the ignorance and apathy amongst others about the subject. According to these delegates, it is safe to say that we are the change we want to see in our world.
While interviewing representative Kaitlyn Antle and Jenn Hays, both explain how they witness the mistreatment of their communities on a daily basis. Their way to solve this problem was by creating legislative bill #GH 12. This is a bill that consists of laws and restrictions regarding the penalties for citizens who litter. According to the authors of this bill, it is a piece of legislation that will promote a better alternative to the penalty for littering while also working to improve the environment. Most delegates who have opposed this bill argue that section 2, regarding funding, is completely unnecessary. It states that funds are obtained from the fines paid for parking violations. The problem with this is that those fines are typically spent to cover things such as public safety, education, and other miscellaneous costs that may be left for the state.
Officer bill #GS 23 can be defined as a crucial start to the beginning of a healthy environment in Ohio. By placing a 10 cent tax on the distribution of non-recyclable bags, and a 5 cent tax on all other plastic bags distributed in retail or grocery stores in the state of Ohio, citizens are encouraged to use more eco-friendly resources such as cloth or paper bags. These taxes will then go towards the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. This bill causes awareness in not only the streets of our communities and landfills in our towns, but also in marine ecosystems. It sheds a light on the detrimental affects our actions have caused in ecosystems we don't even reside in. The authors Sara Schmidt and Joey Metzger show a great interest and an immense amount of knowledge on the impact plastic bags have had on our environment. During the presentation of this bill, opposing delegates have argued that the recycled bags are harder to reuse once they have been used by consumers.
The effort of this year’s Youth & Government delegates to improve our environment is truly admirable and should be recognized by many. Authors of bills consisting of environmental issues who have not been as fortunate to pass committee and session hearings, should take what they have learned during this year’s conference and make their bills stronger than ever. It is important to continue to pursue what is most important to the people and what will have a tremendous impact on generations to come. We are the people who have a say so in what will happen.
Judicial Branch Reviewing UnConstitutional Laws, by Juliana Discher
Chief Justice Parker Graham said the judicial system is implementing a new system this year where bills are reviewed for their constitutionality.
“We have been working with the Attorney General and the Governor’s Cabinet to find bills on the house floor that are in violation of our Constitution in a very flagrant way,” Graham said. “We are bringing those authors in and essentially having a hearing to give them an opportunity to argue if they believe their bills are not in violation. The state will be taking the role of arguing that there is a violation and that it can’t be instated as an actual piece of legislation and the justices will be presiding and ruling on that.”
There were several bills discussed. GH04 aimed to reform firearm laws by limiting guns from usage in the “public space”. The judicials saw this as a violation of the Second Amendment by limiting the right to carry arms.
GS08 required prescription drug companies in the state of Ohio to limit their advertising. The judicial system said this bill violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech.
GS28 aimed to decrease sex-trafficking by increasing traffic checkpoints to check trucks for sex slaves. The bill writers used the court case New Jersey vs. TLO to defend the right of probable cause for searching. The jurisdiction ruled that it interfered with the Fourth Amendment’s protection of people from search and seizure.
GH42 stated that the father of a child should have the final say in whether a woman has an abortion. The bill writers claimed that they were not contradicting Roe v Wade, but adding on to the ruling. Additionally, they believed that they were not limiting the rights of women, but ensuring that the rights of the father were protected. The judicial system ruled that the bill contradicted Roe v Wade.
The Judicial Branch said they are doing these discussions for several reasons. They want to give legislators a public speaking opportunity and an opportunity to defend their bill. They also want bill writers to consider every component of the bill they write. Finally, they want to reinforce the actual government ruling that the Supreme Court can overrule a bill that contradicts The Constitution.
Education is the building block of a democratic society. As it says on our bill book "democracy must be learned by each generation." Our delegates recognize the need for a superb and competitive education system and have written a number of bills promoting reform to improve Ohio's education system.
GH 13: Funding of Extracurricular Activities by Cedric Ebbeler and Hannah Seckman
This bill recognizes the need for enrichment activities outside of the classroom environment, providing for such activities to be funded by the state. The opposition comes however, in concern of placing an undue burden on Ohio's taxpayers.
GH 29: A Bill to Fund Fine Arts Education by Leah Ostendorf and Ashley Bushman
This bill would require schools to incorporate fine arts education into their curriculum, pointing out that only 64% of Ohio schools provide such programs. The authors both participate in fine arts and recognize the impact it has had on their education. Fine arts can allow students to discover different types of talent and become more well-rounded individuas.
GS02 & GH 37: Reforming Sexual Education
These bills recognize the failure of Ohio's abstinence only sex ed program and advocates that it be replaced with comprehensive reforms so students can be fully knowledgeable about STDs and safe sex. These reforms will be difficult due to the taboo nature of sexual topics however, they are proven to decrease pregnancy rates and STDs.
GS17: Employment of a School Psychiatrist During Campus Hours by Vineisha Jones and Arlena Echoles
This bill would require a school psychiatrist to help students mental health needs and improve emotional well-being
Grey House Bill #42 caused an uproar at the conference when a misunderstanding drew into question women's rights, rape victim's rights, and human rights. As stated in the bill book, Two Parents are Better than One by La'Precious Simon and Lydia Lundy appeared to insinuate that only in cases of rape or incest a father would have the final say in whether or not a woman has an abortion. Upon speaking with the authors this morning I heard a completely different story. Rep. Simon and Rep. Lundy told me that their intent was to give fathers a larger role in the lives of children and promote a healthier relationship between the mother and father. They also told me that the bill would NOT apply to cases of rape or incest. Upon speaking with members of the governor's cabinet Katie Bergmann and Grayson MIck I was informed of a email sent to Governor Cody-Harvell informing them of the misinterpretation of the bill. Due to this inherent change and crucial misstep in authoring the cabinet members had formed a strong opposition to the bill. They stated that it was sexist, oppressive, unenforceable, unconstitutional, deeply immoral, and setting a dangerous precedent. However, they also emphasized that this is a positive learning experience and though the bill cannot be altered at this stage it is important to discover passions, deal with controversial topics, and find personal growth regardless of opposition. After a heated debate in committee over the consequences the bill would have on women it was not passed. This bill, while mostly misunderstood demonstrated the way women in our society still have many obstacles to overcome in the sense of equality. It also displayed the way legislation can be easily misinterpreted in our democracy. We can all use a reminder that mistakes are inevitable, compromise is crucial, and it is always essential to stand up for your rights. As an observer it was beautiful to see such diplomacy between bill authors and cabinet members. The way in which issues are separated from the people representing them is essential to the functioning of a democratic government, perhaps our national lawmakers should take some advice from Katie, Grayson, and Ishmael.
Katie Bergman Sec. of Health & Human Services
Grayson Mick Lt. Governor
Equal Pay for Women fails in Committee
Representatives Amanda McAfee and Representative Morgan Atkinson of Cincinnati YMCA proposed Legislative Bill #GH 27 for equal pay for women. McAfee said she strongly believes this law should be passed under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“It’s 2017 and equal pay for women should have been done by now, so we need to take action. Men and women should be equal,” McAfee said. “It came pretty easy to write because we both felt very strongly and all the facts are there. The Fourteenth Amendment says everyone should be equal, but I don’t know why women aren’t equal in the workforce yet.”
Atkinson said this bill will try to accomplish legislation that has failed to be enforced. She said women should not have to make $0.78 to a man’s dollar while working.
“People have tried to make this legal, but it has failed to be enforced,” Atkinson said. “Women can do anything they choose to accomplish.”
When this bill was brought up in committee, support was initially high because of the promotion of equality. Katie Bergmann from the Governor’s Cabinet lobbied for its passage. Representatives pointed out that women who perform the same job should receive the same pay.
Governor Ishmael Cody-Harvell was in strong support of the bill because of the enforcement of equality. He stated an amendment should be added that changes the dollar amount to a percentage to ensure fairness when penalizing businesses.
The opposition shifted more against the bill, however, after Representative Abhi Ramesh and Representative Jacob Dumas stated that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 already covered equal pay for women. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. It was signed into law on June 10, 1963, by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program.
Representative Ramesh argued the bill was redundant with the Fourteenth Amendment and that no specific punishment for companies was addressed.
An amendment was proposed to make the fines vary for company size, instead of the base $500 proposed by the bill authors. This amendment failed.
After a close vote, the bill did not pass in committee. Governor Ishmael Cody-Harvel said the governor and the cabinet are extremely disheartened.
The governor and the cabinet are extremely disheartened at the failure of GH27,” Cody-Harvel said. “The members of the Ohio YMCA Youth Program pride ourselves as progressive people who strive for complete and total equality. The delegates are encouraged to meditate upon the principles of all things good and fair.”
One of the many hot topics at our conference is gun control. When it comes to gun control the debate is safety v. freedom. The 2nd Amendment guarantees US citizens the right to bear arms, however, it does not specify the circumstances under which the firearm may be obtained. Our delegates are focusing on this gray area.
GH 04: Firearms Reform Act by Abhi Ramesh & Charlie Sabgir
This bill would ban the possession of firearms in public spaces and prohibit the transportation of loaded firearms. However, many would argue it is a citizen's right to carry that firearm for the sake of protection.
GH 03: Enacting Firearm Education by Nathan King & Thomas Rossolot
This bill would require a preliminary course on firearm safety before a person can legally own a firearm. It is designed to promote proper use, storage, and precautions of firearm ownership. The author has stated that coming from a safety-oriented family of firearm owners inspired him to write this bill. Safety precautions are not necessarily a breach of first amendment rights because they do not take away the ability to own a firearm merely increase the safety of ownership.
GH 19: Increase Conceal Carry Firearm Training and Requirements by Shawn Bear & Avery Peters
This bill would increase the amount of practice and preliminary courses required to obtain a conceal carry license. This bill aims to decrease violence and increase competence and abilities of local gun owners. Conceal carry is a precious right to many people who may find it inconvenient to fulfill heavier requirements.
SS 05: Firearm Tracking Devices by Tarma Obeng
This bill would require all firearms to have a tracking chip installed in order to decrease the purchase of illegal firearms. Technology to implement this bill is available and therefore lobbying has occurred for this bill with the intent of promoting safety. Some people cringe at the thought of being tracked, therefore the question becomes what is safety and what is an invasion of privacy.
So where do you stand on gun control?
Tune into our pass fail updates to see how your views stack up.
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