In our weekly updates from the Women’s Public Policy Network, we highlight some of the work our partners have been up to this week, share updates on bills affecting women that are moving at the Statehouse, and provide a call to action on proactive bills pending in the Legislature. Sign up for our email list to receive these updates in your inbox every week!
REDISTRICTING REFORM IS A WOMEN’S ISSUE
This week, legislators re-introduced the six-week abortion ban for the fourth consecutive year. Ohio House Bill 258 would outlaw any abortion at the earliest detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is as early as six weeks – at a time before many women even know that they are pregnant.
HB 1 (Sykes, Manning) – Modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws by extending victims of dating violence access to DV protections, such as civil protection orders. The bill is scheduled for a third hearing with all testimony next week on Tuesday, June 13th in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 149 (Patmon, Conditt) – Expands the crime and increases the penalty for abortion trafficking, despite there being no evidence that any wrongdoing or mishandling of fetal tissue occurs by abortion providers. During a previous hearing, the term “abortionist” was removed from the bill language, but it still remains a stigmatizing and unnecessary bill. The bill was scheduled for a hearing this week in the House Health Committee, but was later removed from the schedule.
HB 160 (Antonio) – Known as the Ohio Fairness Act of 2017, this bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee held a first hearing on this bill this week.
SB 4 (Kunze, Oelslager) – Expands the expungement law for human trafficking survivors. Current law only allows for the expungement of records for prostitution and related charges, but does not apply to certain other offenses committed during the time that they were trafficked, such as theft or drug possession. Too often, these other charges hold back women from finding housing or employment. The bill was scheduled for a hearing this week in the House Criminal Justice Committee, but was later removed from the schedule.
Many women forced into human trafficking are charged with other offenses during that time, such as theft and drug possession. Current law only allows for the expungement of their records for prostitution and related charges, but does not apply to other offenses committed during the time that they were trafficked. Too often, these other charges hold back women from finding housing or employment.
SB 4 seeks to remedy this issue by expanding the expungement law for human trafficking survivors. The bill passed out of the Senate in early May with a unanimous vote, and was assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee. The Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on SB4 earlier this week, but the bill was later removed from the committee schedule.
TAKE ACTION: Contact the Chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee, Representative Nathan Manning, and urge him to hold hearings on SB 4 before the summer recess. Tell him that this bill would help protect survivors of human trafficking from discrimination in housing and employment they currently face.