Week of 02/27/2017: Celebrating Women’s History Month, a bill to close Ohio’s marital rape loophole, & #OHLeg updates

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve joined over 300 organizations across the country that advocate for women’s rights, equality, justice, and inclusion in sending a letter to the president urging him to build a more fair, just, and equal nation.

The letter outlines six domestic policy areas that are critical to improving the lives women and strengthening families, and upon which we will evaluate the Trump administration’s success.

By signing on to this letter, we’re demonstrating our commitment to standing with America’s women and families in fighting against any efforts to undo hard-fought gains and take the country backwards. Read the full letter here.

Ohio Legislative Highlight of the Week:

To close a loophole in state law, Representatives Greta Johnson andKristin Boggs introduced legislation (HB 97) outlawing marital rape. The bill currently has 10 co-sponsors, however not a single Republican legislators has signed as a co-sponsor. It will be numbered and assigned to committee next week.

Ohio is one of only eight states with “spousal exemptions” in rape cases so long as there is no force or threat of force. This means that husbands can drug and rape their wives, and avoid a first-degree felony rape charge. Ohio HB 97 aims to change that.

#OHLeg Alerts:

We are tracking the progress of any state bills affecting women in the Ohio Legislature for the 132nd General Assembly. Here’s a quick overview of some key updates from the last few weeks:

HB 1 — Legislation extending domestic violence protections to victims of dating violence, advanced out of the Ohio House on Tuesday, and is now headed to the Ohio Senate. The vote was 92–2, with Representatives Tom Brinkman and Nino Vitale casting the only “no” votes on the bill.

HB 56 — This bill would allow for the expungement of criminal records for victims of human trafficking. It is scheduled for its first hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee next Tuesday at 1:30 PM in Statehouse Room 114.

HB 61 — Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee last week, the bill would eliminate sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products(also known as the ‘pink tax’). No hearings have been scheduled yet.

SB 7 — Aiming to strengthen protection orders for victims of domestic violence, it received its second hearing this week. The House Local Government, Public Safety & Veteran Affairs Committee will hold a third hearing — with possible amendments and vote — next Tuesday at 10:30 AM in the South Hearing Room.

SB 28 — A medically unnecessary bill that would require aborted fetal remains be cremated or buried, received its first hearing in the Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee two weeks ago.

We are also share 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.

TAKE ACTION: Call your State Representative and urge them to support HB 97 — outlawing marital rape — and then ask Speaker Rosenberger to hold hearings on the bill

Find out more information about the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network and sign up for our email alerts by visiting our website, at www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.org