Stay engaged, involved, and up-to-date: 03/05/2018 Weekly Review

Stay engaged, involved, and up-to-date: In the weekly reviews from the Women’s Public Policy Network, we look back on last week’s highlights from the WPPN, share updates on bills affecting women that are moving at the Statehouse, showcase weekly news clips, and provide calls to action on bills pending in the Legislature. Sign up for our emails to receive these updates in your inbox every week!

On Thursday, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, which is a day of celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. On this day, we remember and honor all of the wins that have been made to create gender equality and the trailblazers that have helped pave the way for change.
“But we must also be looking ahead at the progress on the policy landscape that still needs to be made for women, from pay equity, to full access to reproductive health care services, to access to paid family and medical leave.” Read the full International Women’s Day blog post to learn more about how you can get involved with our efforts to press for progress for women and families here in Ohio.

Lawmakers are moving forward with a number of bills that would further restrict access to abortion care and one of these bills (Ohio Senate Bill 145) will receive a committee hearing this upcoming week.
“Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive reproductive health care for women, and the passage of bills like SB145 present barriers to the accessibility and affordability of abortion care. Reproductive health care is directly tied to the economic security of women and their families.” Read our full blog post here for actions steps to push back on these harmful abortion restrictions. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Please join our local movement of African American women, as we advocate for change and create impact, hear special guest speakers address issues that are affecting our communities, meet and share with state leaders and fellowship with women from across the State.

Legislators will discuss the following topics:
*Claiming Our Voices, Claiming Our Time: Preparing Black Women to Run for Political Office
*The Power of Our Voice and Our Vote: Voting Rights; Gerrymandering; Voter Suppression; Voter Purging
*Economic Security: Hard Work & Education: Still No Seat at The Table
*Women’s Health: Separate and Unequal Healthcare
*Human Trafficking
*Education: The Cause and Effect of Out-of-School Suspensions

Visit our Partner Events Calendar for more details on future events hosted by our coalition partners across the state.

We are tracking the progress of any state bills affecting women in the Ohio Legislature for the 132nd General Assembly. The legislature is back in session for 2018. Here are some updates from this past week and a look ahead at activity to watch for in the House and Senate:
  • HB 240 (Barnes) – Month Designation: Designates the month of April as “Respect Your Date Month” to raise awareness on the issue of partner violence. The bill would also require state colleges and universities to adopt a policy regarding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and rape on campus, and to declare an emergency. The House Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee held a fourth hearing on the bill for all testimony on Wednesday, March 7. You can find all testimony from that hearing here (look under hearings for March 7).
  • HB 355 (Hill, Rezabek) – Sexting: Prohibits ‘sexting’ by anyone under the age of 21 and require every county in Ohio to create a sexting educational diversion program aimed at helping first time offenders under 21 convicted of sending sexually explicit materials of a minor. The bill was amended to continue to allow prosecutors to go after individuals possessing child pornography. The House Criminal Justice Committee will hold a second hearing on the bill for proponent testimony this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 1:30 PM in Statehouse Room 114.
  • HB 365 (Hughes, Boggs) – Regan Tokes Act: Requires released violent offenders wearing GPS monitors to have set geographic boundaries and would give law enforcement the ability to access the GPS data without a subpoena. The House Criminal Justice Committee will hold a fifth hearing on the bill with a possibility of a substitute bill this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 1:30 PM in Statehouse Room 114.
  • HB 520 (Miller, Hughes) – Human Trafficking: Increases the penalty for solicitation from a third degree to a first degree misdemeanor. The House Criminal Justice Committee will hold a first hearing on the bill for sponsor testimony this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 1:30 PM in Statehouse Room 114.
  • HB 532 (Galonski, Fedor) – Sexual Harassment: Requires all state officials, state employees, and employees of state contractors and vendors to complete training on the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment. Establishes a Commission on Sexual Harassment within the Ohio Attorney General’s office to study and make recommendations to eliminate workplace sexual harassment. The bill was referred to the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee this past week. It now awaits hearings.
  • SB 41 (Eklund) – Testimonial Privilege: Provides testimonial privilege for open communication between an advocate providing services and a victim of sexual violence, stalking, or domestic violence. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a second hearing on the bill this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 10:15 AM in the Statehouse North Hearing Room.
  • SB 72 (Huffman) – Prevailing Wage: Enables local governments, public universities, special districts and others to bid public construction projects without mandated wage rates. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee this past week. 
  • SB 145 (Huffman, Wilson) – Abortion Method Ban: Bans the safest and most common procedure for abortions in the second trimester. The House Criminal Justice Committee will hold a fourth hearing for all testimony this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 1:30 PM in Statehouse Room 114.
  • SB 171 (Hottinger) – Protection Orders: Increases the penalty for violating a protection order under certain circumstances. The bill would then require those that have violated their protection orders to be electronically monitored by probation agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a third hearing on the bill for all testimony on February 27. You can find all testimony from that hearing here (look under Committee Documents for February 27). 
  • SB 244 (Dolan, Manning) – Prostitution: Increases penalties for soliciting and promoting prostitution. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a third hearing for all testimony with a possible amendment and vote on the bill this Tuesday, March 13. The Committee meets at 10:15 AM in the Statehouse North Hearing Room.
  • SB 270 (Tavares) – Sexual Harassment: Requires legislative employers (including those employed by the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Senate, capitol square review and advisory board, state highway patrol, and employer of a retirement system lobbyist or executive agency lobbyist) to complete sexual harassment training. Creates the General Assembly Sexual Harassment Task Force in order to review sexual harassment policies, recommend best practices, and conduct anonymous surveys of employers regarding the culture of the workplace. And authorizes the Legislative Inspector General to investigate claims of sexual harassment within the General Assembly and allow for victims filing a claim to do so anonymously. The bill was introduced in the Ohio Senate last week. It has not yet been referred to a Committee.
We will keep tracking any new updates and will be sharing timely legislative updates on these and other women-centric legislation on Twitter using the #OHLeg hashtag. Follow us to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the Statehouse.

Governor Kasich and the Ohio Department of Medicaid are proposing changes to Medicaid, which are required from changes the the Ohio Legislature passed in the biennial state budget. If these changes are approved, many people will lose their health care coverage through Medicaid. And women would be hit especially hard, threatening their health and economic security.
Even more people will have to fight paperwork and bureaucracy to keep their coverage. To get or keep your health insurance through Medicaid, you will have to (1) work, (2) participate in community engagement activities, or (3) be exempt. You will have to provide proof to show that you fit in one of these three groups.
TAKE ACTION: Submit a public comment on the Medicaid work requirements proposal to tell Governor Kasich and the Department of Medicaid how these changes would impact you, your family, and your community. Use this surveyfrom our partners to submit your comment by Sunday, March 18.
Use these resources from our partners for more information about work requirements and the proposal here in Ohio: