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OCHLA endorses resolutions opposed to HB 477 and Amended SB 260

Columbus: The Ohio Commission of Hispanic/Latino Affairs has endorsed resolutions calling upon the Ohio House of Representatives to oppose House Bill 477 and Amended Senate Bill 260, on the grounds that one is lacking a focus on promoting English-language learning, and the other threatens safety and security for all Ohioans.

On May 22, 2008, the House passed HB 477, by a vote of 54 to 42, and this bill now goes to the Ohio Senate. 

According to Ezra C. Escudero Director of OCHLA, House Bill 477 is an unnecessary bill that carries negative messages for business and education in Ohio. “All state agencies already conduct their official business in English.  Furthermore, the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission conducts all its official business and maintains all official documents in English, and has done so for over 30 years,” said Escudero.   

Senator Teresa Fedor

“Ohio Latino Affairs opposes House Bill 477 because it does not change the status quo. Instead, the Commission supports legislation that supports English language education and programs such as ESL (English as a Second Language education) and other initiatives that can help new U.S.-Americans learn the language and integrate into our communities,” continued Escudero.  

Amended Senate Bill 260 was passed by the Senate and is now before the House. OCHLA, likewise, opposes the passage of this amended bill.

“This bill cannot render our communities safer; it does not resolve the challenges of a broken immigration system, and has the potential of destroying important community relationships with the police that are in place right now. Ultimately, we must also encourage federal agencies to do their job, not volunteering state and local agencies with no guarantee of reimbursement,” said Escudero. “Across Ohio, partnerships between state, local, and federal law enforcement are a reality today without the need for legislation like Senate Bill 260.”

Recent accounts across the country, such as Prince William County, Virginia, show that programs like SB 260 are bankrupting local agencies, adding an unnecessary burden to local jails, and distracting law enforcement from more critical tasks like fighting violent crime.

Senator Teresa Fedor, who cosponsored Amended SB 260, informed La Prensa that she has since had second thoughts about bill 260 and will oppose its ultimate passage. Gov. Ted Strickland has expressed similar views of discontent.

On that Thursday, the Ohio House in Columbus heard testimony concerning opposition to Amended Senate Bill 260. According to Richard Romero, Chair of OCHLA, “I have taken the opportunity to talk to Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti and Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera; they agreed that this is not something local law enforcement needs to be involved with. It is a federal responsibility and local law enforcement should not be asked to participate when they have a lack of manpower and inadequate funding—Chief Rivera testified as such.

“I have also spoken with State Representative Matt Lundy, State Representative Joe Koziura, State Senator Sue Morano, State Senator Capri Cafaro, and Joyce Beatty, Minority House Leader, and they all agree that as the bill is written now there are some concerns and they will be keeping OCHLA informed as this bill continues to move forward,” said Romero.  

According to Escudero, ultimately, the goal of the OCHLA’s endorsed resolutions is to promote English language learning and public safety for all people in Ohio, while doing so in a fiscally responsible manner.






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