To close out May, we’re bringing you the first edition of our monthly newsletter from the Women’s Public Policy Network. In these monthly updates, we will share news on the coalition’s work, share news on bills impacting women moving at the Ohio Statehouse, and provide calls to action for fellow advocates. Sign up for our email list to get these monthly newsletters and other timely updates in your inbox!
Earlier this month, The United State of Women launched The Galvanize Program – a nationwide effort to turn the passion of women across the country into strategic action in local communities!
Ohio will host a Galvanize mini-summit August 12-13 in Columbus, training women to become leaders in their communities. Attendees will choose one of five tracks based on their interests to receive in-depth and skills-based training:
Political Candidates – Training developed by Vote, Run, Lead
Campaign Management – Training developed by Wellstone
Grassroots Organizing – Training developed by Midwest Academy
Leadership – Training developed by Bossed Up
Entrepreneurship – Training developed by BRAVA Investments
Are you ready to turn your passion for gender equity into action? Learn more and register online, at www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/galvanize.
Ahead of Mother’s Day, we hosted a press conference with coalition partners to call attention to the ways that mothers – and women as a whole – would be particularly hurt by the Republicans’ healthcare bill – the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Under the bill, being a women would essentially be treated as a pre-existing condition.
The AHCA passed in the US House of Representatives earlier this month, and is now being considered in the Senate. With Congress home on recess, now is the time to contact your Senators to voice your opposition. Use our AHCA Fact Sheet for guidance on how the bill harms women and families.
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 the month of May:
HB 2 (Seitz) – Modifies Ohio civil rights laws in employment, which would significantly weaken protections against employment discrimination. Amendments were added to the bill during the most recent hearing to move the statute of limitations to two years and require an individual to file a charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission before filing a lawsuit.
HB 13 (Gonzales) – Allows a prospective juror to be excused from jury service if she is a mother who is breast-feeding. The bill received an initial hearing this month in the House Government Accountability and Oversight 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. A 4th hearing on the bill was held last week, where an amendment passed to remove the term “abortionist” from the bill language.
HB 214 (LaTourette, Merrin) – Introduced earlier this month and assigned to the House Health Committee, this bill bans abortions based on prenatal genetic testing indicating Down Syndrome.
HB 234 (Howse, Lepore-Hagan) – Criminalizes the blocking of access to reproductive health care and provides the ability for legal action for harassment or intimidation at clinics. The bill was introduced in the House last week, but has no hearings scheduled yet.
HB 240 (Barnes) – Designates the month of April as “Respect Your Date Month” and require state higher education institutions to adopt a policy regarding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and rape on campus. It was introduced in the House earlier this month, but has not yet been assigned to a Committee.
HB 248 (Antonio, Lepore-Hagan) – The Ohio Prevention First Act would offer comprehensive and abstinence inclusive sex education for teens and ensure full access and availability of contraceptives for women in Ohio. It was introduced in the House last week, but has not yet been assigned to a Committee.
SB 7 (Bacon, Manning) – Aims to strengthen protection orders for victims of domestic violence. The bill advanced out of the Senate in March with a unanimous vote, and has since received three Committee hearings in the House Criminal Justice Committee.
SB 145 (Huffman, Wilson) – Another bill that would limit abortion access, this legislation would ban the most common procedure for abortions in the second trimester. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee in early May, but has not yet been scheduled for hearings.
SB 150 (Brown, E.) – The “Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act” prohibits an individual convicted of domestic violence or assault of a family member from having a firearm. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for any hearings.
Ohio is one of only two states failing to cover dating violence under state domestic violence protections. HB 1 seeks to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws by extending victims of dating violence access to DV protections, such as civil protection orders.
The bi-partisan bill moved quickly out of Ohio House chamber earlier this year with a 92-2 vote. However, after receiving two hearings in the Senate Judiciary committee in March, the bill has stalled and needs your help to keep it moving forward.
TAKE ACTION: Contact the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Kevin Bacon, and urge him to hold additional hearings and a vote on HB 1 before the summer recess. Tell him that closing the existing loophole in Ohio law to cover dating violence victims is necessary to help victims in an abusive relationship seek the help they need and end the cycle of violence.
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 would 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 has been assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing.
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.
The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network is a coalition of over 25 key advocacy organizations focused on promoting policies that create economic security for women and strengthen Ohio families. Using a collective voice that represents the women of our state, this network works to ensure that public policy reflects the true needs of women and families.