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Ohio getting ready to celebrate 100 years of women voting
By Maggie Prosser
(February 26, 2019) — The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday to create a commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Senate Bill 30 would create the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to oversee statewide suffrage-centennial events from June 2019 — a century after the Ohio General Assembly ratified the amendment — through August 2020, the anniversary of the amendment’s adoption in the U.S. Constitution.
“I think that it’s important that … we celebrate, not only the history and those who fought valiantly to bring about this important change, but recognize why it is still relevant today and why civic engagement is so important and why inclusiveness in our elections is so important,” Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.
The intended purpose of the commission is twofold, LaRose said: to celebrate suffrage trailblazers and to educate young people on the 19th Amendment’s historical significance and the modern history of women’s rights.
Co-sponsor Sen. Hearcel Craig, D-Columbus, said, “Not only does this represent the historical nature and the importance of the women’s vote, but really a path forward for young women that will do extraordinary things in our nation.”
The commission also would partner with the Ohio History Connection to promote local events and provide schools with a curriculum on women’s suffrage and the modern history of women’s rights.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, said she hopes the commission’s events also spur voter turnout and new ideas to increase it.
“Much like the effort to advocate for the right to vote, this anniversary celebration will take place in communities all over Ohio,” said Megan Wood of the Ohio History Connection. “This legislation will create a commission that can support and magnify that great work.”
The commission would be bipartisan, made up of LaRose or his designee; two senators and two representatives of different political parties; one member from the Ohio Republican Party and one from the Ohio Democratic Party; and any other applicable organizations or community members.
“We should work — all of us — to tell this story,” LaRose said.
The bill now moves to the House.