State Rep. Emilia Sykes was walking to work in the Ohio Statehouse last year with a fellow lawmaker when she was stopped by security. Officers needed to search her bag, she was told.

Sykes is serving her third year as a Democratic state representative from Akron. She is also a 32-year-old black woman. Her colleague, who was not searched, is a 65-year-old white man who has served in the Legislature for many years. 

Sykes said she questioned why her bag needed to be searched when that wasn’t protocol. Lawmakers only need a badge to gain access to the Statehouse or the nearby Riffe Center, which houses many lawmakers’ offices.

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