FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2017
Contact: Erin Ryan, (440) 382-2900
Ahead of Women’s March, Women’s Public Policy Network Releases Updated Scorecard on Ohio Legislature
Lame duck policies impacting women alter scorecard, provide reminder to stay engaged beyond marches
COLUMBUS – As thousands of Ohioans participate in the Women’s March on Washington and sister marches across the state, the Women’s Public Policy Network called for Ohioans to stay involved after the weekend is over. The coalition of over 20 advocacy organizations, focused on advancing positive policy solutions for women and families, highlighted the hub of resources and advocacy opportunities they provide, including their newly-updated Women’s Economic Security Legislative Scorecard for Ohio’s 131st General Assembly.
“We have to work together to ensure that the momentum to advance progress for women does not stop with the marches,” said Erin Ryan, manager of the coalition. “We want Ohioans to stay engaged, and we urge people to use us as a resource to stay in-the-know about what’s happening on the federal level, but – more importantly – on the state and local levels where we can make the most direct impact. Together, we can hold state lawmakers accountable for their actions through tools such as our Legislative Scorecard.”
The Scorecard evaluates the progress that the Ohio General Assembly has made to accomplish or impede the advancement of women throughout the state.
Of the 22 policy goals outlined in the Scorecard, over two-thirds failed to score above a ‘D’ grade, and not a single policy goal earned an ‘A.’ In fact, the only scores to change on the final version of the Scorecard, moved in the wrong direction as three policy goals dropped from ‘D’ grades to ‘F’ grades upon passage of a bill with last-minute amendments added to prohibit cities from enacting minimum wage, worker benefits, or scheduling protections that go beyond state or federal set levels.
“As state lawmakers reconvened in December for the final weeks of session, we hoped that they would focus on advancing bills to improve the lives of women and families here in Ohio,” said Nichole Dunn, President and CEO of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. “Instead, the ‘lame duck’ session further demonstrated the missed opportunity of the 131st General Assembly. These are bills that affect women right here, right now in Ohio. If we stand together in the future, we can make Ohio a better place for women and families.”
There was a concerted effort to advance bills supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence earlier in the session, earning ‘B’ scores for the three policy goals relate to this issue. However, stating that a bill strengthening protection orders for victims of domestic violence was ‘too complicated’ to take up during lame duck after an amendment was added to extend domestic violence protections to intimate partners, the Ohio Senate failed to formally pass the legislation; leaving it as a high priority for next session.
“Despite the start of positive steps forward for women in this legislative session, little was done by the legislature to actually give traction to these bills,” explained Ryan. “Instead, lawmakers narrowed their focus and hastily advanced two unconstitutional abortion bans in the final days of session.”
While the 6-week abortion ban, known as the ‘Heartbeat Bill’, was line-item vetoed by the Governor from the language of a bill it was added to as an amendment, a 20-week abortion ban with no expectations for rape, incest, or fetal anomalies was passed out of both chambers and eventually signed into law by the Governor. State lawmakers cited the incoming presidential administration and the promise of a new Supreme Court as the primary reason that they were emboldened to advance these abortion bans.
An earlier version of the Scorecard for the 131st General Assembly was published by the group last June as the legislature went on summer recess to demonstrate the progress made before the ‘lame duck’ session.
A full copy of the Women’s Economic Security Scorecard can be found online at www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.org.
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The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network is a coalition convened by Innovation Ohio Education Fund un-like any other group in the state. Pulling together over 20 key advocacy organizations from across the state focused on promoting policies that create economic security for women and strengthen Ohio families.
Member organizations of the Women’s Public Policy Network include:
ACLU of Ohio
American Association of University Women of Ohio (AAUW Ohio)
Catholics for Choice
Cleveland Jobs with Justice
Innovation Ohio Education Fund
Main Street Alliance of Ohio
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
National Coalition of 100 Black Women Central Ohio Chapter
National Council of Jewish Women, Cleveland Chapter
Nyla’s Angels Fund
Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Ohio Urban Resources System
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
Policy Matters Ohio
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75