Ohio Democrats push to declare racism a public health crisis

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FILE – In this March 5, 2019 file photo, Ohio House minority leader Emilia Sykes delivers the Democrat’s response to the Gov. Mike DeWine’s State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Sykes is among a group of Democrats in the state who proposed a resolution Tuesday, June 2, 2020, to declare racism a public health crisis amid protests across the state and nationwide over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in Ohio have proposed legislation to declare racism a public health issue amid nationwide protest over the death of George Floyd.

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus introduced the resolution Tuesday as the state grappled with protests and a coronavirus pandemic that officials say has disproportionately impacted the black community.

If passed, the resolution would be the first of its kind at the state level, according to lawmakers. GOP Senate President Larry Obhof plans to meet with members of the black caucus next week to discuss the resolution.

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