Stay engaged, involved, & up-to-date: Week of 06/26/17

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!

The budget bill passed by the Ohio legislature earlier this week includes a number of provisions that threaten women’s health: $1 million in funding for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” and new limits to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion program.
Governor Kasich does have line-item veto authority to block certain provisions from going into effect, but must now sign the bill into law by midnight tonight! Read our blog post for more information on these harmful provisions and to find out how you can take action.


Struggling to get enough support to pass the Senate Republicans’ version of the federal healthcare bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Republican leadership announced this week that they would be postponing the vote on the bill until after the July 4th recess.

After the vote delay, Ohio Senator Portman – who had previously remained quiet about how he planned to vote – came out against the current version of the bill. Calls from constituents helped make this possible, but we must keep up the pressure over the July 4th recess. Use our Advocacy Toolkit to help with your efforts.

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 highlights from this week and a look ahead to next week:
HB 63 (Hughes) – Increases the prison term for an assault if the harm caused results in a permanent, serious disfigurement or substantial incapacity. Known as “Judy’s Law”, the bill is named after Judy Malinowski, a woman who was doused with gasoline and set on fire by her now ex-boyfriend. Sadly, Judy passed away earlier this week from her injuries. The bill passed unanimously in the House earlier this session. It was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this earlier week and was unanimously passed out of the full Senate on Wednesday. It now awaits Governor Kasich’s signature
HB 298 (Merrin) – Decreases the number of sick days provided to public employees (city, county, school, and college employees) in Ohio. The bill was introduced in the House on Wednesday. 
SB 7 (Bacon, Manning, G.) – Aims to strengthen protection orders for victims of domestic violence by allowing for prosecution of offenders who knowingly violate protection orders.The bill passed in the Senate in early March, and moved fairly quickly through the House over the last few months. The House approved it with an 86-2 vote last week, with the only no votes coming from Representatives Hood and Vitale. The bill was sent to Governor Kasich and signed into law on Wednesday. 
SB 145 (Huffman, Wilson) – Bans the safest and most common procedure for abortions in the second trimester. The bill was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week and sent to the full Senate. It passed out of the Senate with a 24-9 vote on Wednesday.
SB 164 (LaRose) – Bans abortions based on prenatal genetic testing indicating Down Syndrome. The bill received a first hearing in the House Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee on Tuesday.  
We are also 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.

While Governor Kasich is expected to veto the Medicaid expansion enrollment freeze in the state budget, the legislature may have the votes to override his veto. If this happens and the enrollment freeze is passed into law, it could cause 500,000 Ohioans to lose their coverage. 
State legislators need to know that Ohioans stand against cuts to Medicaid. Join fellow advocates for a Save Medicaid, Save Lives Rally at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday, July 5th at noon. More details here.