Stay engaged, involved, and up-to-date: 04/09/2018 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 April 10th, we marked Equal Pay Day in 2018. This is the day when the average woman’s pay ‘catches up’ to the average man’s pay from the following year. And this does not even take into account the even larger gender wage gaps for women of color.
According to research from the National Women’s Law Center, over a 40-year career, typically: Black women lose $840,040 due to the gap; Native American women lose $934,240; and Latinas typically lose more than $1 million. The loss of these resources and pay contributes to the gender wealth gap, which holds back women from having the ability to save for emergencies, invest in higher education and small businesses, or to plan for a secure retirement. Read more about equal pay day and how you can take action on our blog.

The United States is the only industrialized country in the world without a paid leave policy. In the absence of a national standard, we’re taking action in Ohio to advance a statewide paid family and medical leave policy.
To help demonstrate the need for a policy, we’re partnering with State Representatives Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse, State Senator Sandra Williams, and community partners next week for a Cleveland screening of the documentary ZERO WEEKS. We hope you’ll join us!


We are tracking the progress of any state bills affecting women in the Ohio Legislature for the 132nd General Assembly. The legislature is back from break, and here are the updates for 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 reported an amended version of the bill last week. It now heads to the full House for consideration. You can read testimony from the hearing here (look under Hearings from April 11).
  • 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 held a third hearing for opponent testimony last Tuesday, April 10. You can ready testimony from the hearing here (look under Hearings from April 10).
  • HB 497 (Rogers, Manning) – Private Images: Prohibits the nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, and creates certain legal rights and employment protections for a victim of such a crime. The House Community & Family Advancement Committee held a a second hearing for proponent testimony this past Wednesday, April 11. You can read all testimony from the hearing here (look under Hearings for April 11). 
  • HB 511 (Lanese, Rogers) – Marriage Age: Makes changes to the state laws governing marriage ages by requiring both males and females to be aged 18, with exceptions for 17 year olds to marry with court approval. Legislation was prompted after a Dayton Daily News story investigated the prevalence of minors marrying in Ohio. The House Community & Family Advancement Committee held a third hearing for opponent testimony this past Wednesday, April 11. You can find all testimony from the hearing here(look under Hearings for April 11).
  • HB 576 (Kelly) – Minimum wage: Increases the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The bill was referred to the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee last week.
  • SB 201 (Bacon, O’Brien) – Reagan Tokes Act: Would require 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. A companion bill is moving in the House, as well. An amended version of the bill was passed out of the Senate with a unanimous 33-0 vote last week on April 11.
  • SB 244 (Dolan, Manning) – Prostitution: Increases penalties for soliciting and promoting prostitution. The bill was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee last week on April 11. 
  • SB 277 (Thomas, Schiavoni) – Minimum Wage: Increases the state minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The bill was referred to the Senate Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee last week on April 11.
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.


State legislators recently introduced bills in the Ohio House (HB 550) and Ohio Senate (SB 261) to establish a statewide paid family and medical leave program.
The bills create an insurance program funded by employee payroll contributions, which allows workers to continue to earn a portion of their paycheck for up to 12 weeks of leave to:
  • Care for and bond with a new baby;
  • Care for a family member with a medical issue; or
  • Address their own medical emergency
The bills have both been referred to committees, but have not been scheduled for hearings yet. Use our letter writing tools to contact the committee chairs and urge them to hold hearings on the bills: