March 30, 2015

Heartbeat Bill Passes the House

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55 Lawmakers Voted For The “Heartbeat” Abortion Ban

The so-called “Heartbeat” bill (HB 69)  passed the House yesterday with a 55-40 vote. It prohibits the abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as 6 weeks of gestation. Doctors in violation of the ban would face fifth degree felony charges. The bill permits exceptions only in cases when the mother’s life is in danger or when she is at risk of developing irreversible damage to major body functions. Despite its passage in the House, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, due to objections that the proposal may be unconstitutional and face a difficult path in the courts.

Whatever the fate of the Heartbeat bill, other abortion restrictions are perhaps more likely to advance. A slightly more moderate  anti-abortion proposal, the Fetal Pain Abortion Bill (SB 127 and HB 117), was proposed in both chambers mid-March. This bill is fully supported by Ohio Right to Life and would ban abortions at 20 weeks of gestation. (Anti-abortion activists claim that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks.)

Here are the votes for the Heartbeat (6-week) Abortion Ban:

House Bill 69 Vote 3/25/2015
Yes: 55
Ron Amstutz Niraj Antani John Becker Louis W. Blessing III
Terry Boose Andrew Brenner Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr. Jim Buchy
Tony Burkley Jim Butler Margaret Conditt Robert R. Cupp
Anthony DeVitis Timothy Derickson Jonathon Dever Mike Dovilla
Timothy Ginther Doug Green Bob D. Hackett Christina Hagan
David Hall Stephen D. Hambley Bill Hayes Michael Henne
Brian Hill Ron Hood Stephen A. Huffman Terry Johnson
Kyle Koehler Steven W. Kraus Sarah LaTourette Al Landis
Ron Maag Jeff McClain Robert McColley Bill Patmon
Dorothy Pelanda Rick Perales Bill Reineke Wes Retherford
Jeffrey S. Rezabek Mark J. Romanchuk Cliff Rosenberger Margaret Ann Ruhl
Tim Schaffer Gary Scherer Kirk Schuring Marilyn Slaby
Ryan Smith Robert Sprague Louis Terhar Andy Thompson
A. Nino Vitale Ron Young Paul Zeltwanger
No: 40
Marlene Anielski Nickie J. Antonio Mike Ashford Nan A. Baker
Kevin Boyce Janine R. Boyd Tim W. Brown Nicholas J. Celebrezze
Jack Cera Kathleen Clyde Hearcel F. Craig Michael F. Curtin
Denise Driehaus Mike Duffey Teresa Fedor Ronald V. Gerberry
Anne Gonzales Cheryl L. Grossman Stephanie D. Howse Greta Johnson
Stephanie Kunze David Leland Michele Lepore-Hagan Nathan H. Manning
Sean O’Brien Michael J. O’Brien John Patterson Debbie Phillips
Dan Ramos Alicia Reece John M. Rogers Scott Ryan
Barbara R. Sears Michael Sheehy Stephen Slesnick Kent Smith
Michael Stinziano Fred Strahorn Martin J. Sweeney Emilia Strong Sykes

 

As always, a complete list of Ohio legislation impacting women can be found on our Women’s Watch page. We will add information and analysis on bills as they emerge during the 2015-2016 legislative session. Follow Ohio Women’s Watch on Twitter and Facebook to receive updates and alerts on legislative action.

 

6-Week Abortion Ban Set For Vote Today

womanToday, legislators in the Ohio House will vote on House Bill 69, a proposal that would ban abortion after a heartbeat can be detected – as early as six weeks in many pregnancies.

This action puts Ohio one step closer to being like just two other states in the entire country – North Dakota and Arkansas. In both states these laws have been ruled unconstitutional and are now tied up in costly appeals.

After four hearings, HB69 passed a House committee yesterday after amendments to require emergency contraception for rape victims, provide healthcare coverage for low-income pregnant women and offer paid maternity leave were rejected.

This is the third time the House has considered the so-called “Heartbeat” ban in its last three sessions. The proposal is pushed by extreme anti-abortion organizations who hope the US Supreme Court will take up the ban and use it as an excuse to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It has been opposed by Ohio Right to Life as too extreme and unlikely to survive a legal challenge.

Contact your Representative and ask them to oppose HB69.

How the 2016-17 budget impacts schools, communities, and middle-class families

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Budget Presentation March 20 2015

How the 2016-17 budget impacts schools, communities, and middle-class families

Budget Briefing: Local Impacts

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After four years of deep funding cuts – estimated at over $1.5 billion over four years – Ohio’s local communities see little relief in Governor Kasich’s proposed 2016-2017 budget.

Key Points:

  • Sweeping tax reform proposed in the budget would affect local tax collections and services supported by sales tax levies.
  • A small portion of new revenue from increased severance taxes on oil and gas drilling is set aside for communities impacted by fracking.
  • The proposal reduces – and in many cases eliminates – reimbursements from the state to communities for revenue lost after state tax reform.
  • Local transit funding remains well below prior levels and the recommendations of an ODOT analysis.

Bottom Line: After four years of cuts, the modest increase in funding for local communities included in the budget depends on passage of Kasich’s controversial tax reform plan. If it fails, a small gain could turn into an additional loss of revenue for Ohio’s cities, towns, villages and counties.

Download our briefing on local impacts of the Kasich budget.

IO Analysis: The School Funding Squeeze (updated)

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Today, IO education policy fellow Stephen Dyer will be testifying before the House Finance Subcommittee to discuss Innovation Ohio’s latest analysis: The school funding squeeze.

In this analysis we examine how over ten years of income tax cuts and funding increases for charter schools have squeezed valuable public education dollars in Ohio. Here are just a few of the key points:

1. Over the last ten years, Ohio has been investing up to $3 billion annually in tax cuts for the rich instead of high-quality schools for our students.

2. Since 2011, state aid has dropped below 50 percent with local revenue now paying for the majority share of the public education funding mix.

3. When factoring in lost revenue to charter schools, education spending as a share of the budget drops to a historic low of 23 percent.

4. In the 2016-17 budget proposal, the percentage of local school districts that face funding cuts jumps from 51 to 67 percent when subtracting the revenue that goes to charter schools.

5. In too many cases, state funding to charter schools reduces the amount of the total per-pupil funding available to students in local public schools, even with their local revenue.

Read the full analysis: IO Analysis – The School Funding Squeeze 3-5-15

Hearings to Start on Proposed Ohio 6-Week Abortion Ban

Ohio lawmakers are about to consider a bill to outlaw abortions at the first sign of a detectable heartbeat — as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Tomorrow afternoon, House members will hear from sponsors of House Bill 69 in the brand new Community and Family Advancement committee.

It’s worth noting that the bill was not assigned to the chamber’s Health and Aging committee, led by Chairwoman Anne Gonzales and the committee where most abortion-related bills are heard. GOP leaders instead assigned HB69, which regulates medical procedures, to the newly-formed committee the Speaker had said would focus on access to employment and educational opportunities.

Was the GOP’s male committee chairman simply more willing to take on controversial legislation restricting women’s healthcare options than Gonzales? We can’t help but wonder.

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Rep Tim Derickson presides over the committee that will hear HB69

Only North Dakota has enacted a ban this early in pregnancy, and it was quickly overturned by a federal judge. Arkansas passed a law banning abortions six weeks after a detectable heartbeat – around 12 weeks of pregnancy – and it, too, was ruled unconstitutional by a judge. Both states have appealed and the matter is pending before the 8th Circuit.

These court fights appear to be the main point behind the proposal, which all agree is inconsistent with Roe vs. Wade. Anti-abortion activists hope the US Supreme Court will take up the ban and use it as an excuse to overturn Roe.

Fifty Ohio lawmakers have signed on as sponsors of HB69.

 

State of the State in Wilmington

Research Overview

Gov. John Kasich has made Wilmington the site of his fifth State of the State address and has described Wilmington’s story of economic recovery as Ohio’s story of economic recovery.

While unemployment in Wilmington has dropped, it is important to look more closely at the local economic picture and how recent state policies have impacted this quintessential Ohio community.

5 Key Points

Read the full analysis: A Closer Look at How State Policies are Impacting Wilmington

KnowYourCharter.com: Analysis of Proposed Charter Legislation

Yesterday, KnowYourCharter released an analysis on the introduction of charter legislation HB2.  The report gave a general summary of what the bill includes along with a provision-by-provision analysis that gives an in-depth look at the good and the bad of the new legislation on the charter school system.

The report states that this legislation is the start of much needed charter legislation, but there is still much more room for reform.  HB2 begins the necessary steps towards strengthening the laws on charter sponsors to ensure that charter school reform works to benefit Ohio’s students and taxpayers.

In addition to strengthening this reform, KnowYourCharter outlined three core components necessary for real reform:
  1. Accelerate the process for real reform
  2. Ensure that charter schools are subject to the same public records laws and financial accountability standards as any public entity
  3. Fund charters in a way that does not penalize local public schools

You can view the entire analysis here and find more information on  The Ohio Charter School Accountability Project by visiting the KnowYourCharter website.

 

Legislators seek reversal of Kasich plan to end Medicaid for pregnant women

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State Rep. Sykes speaks about Kasich proposals that could undermine efforts to lower Ohio’s infant mortality rates.

Today, Ohio lawmakers joined with advocates for women’s healthcare to hold a press conference calling for a reversal of policies proposed in the Kasich budget that they say could worsen Ohio’s infant mortality epidemic.

Ohio has one of the highest rates of infant mortality — the number of babies who do not reach their first birthday — in the country, 30% above the national average. The Governor’s proposed budget highlights efforts aimed at addressing the problem, including $13.4 million to connect women in high risk neighborhood with prenatal care. But the budget also contains a number of measures that legislators and advocates say will make the problem worse. [Read more…]

Budget Briefing: Proposals Impacting Women

Governor Kasich’s 2-year budget contains a number of policies that could impact Ohio women.

The good: the budget contains additional funding for child care, preschool and maternal health and funds training for public colleges and universities to deal with sexual assaults.

The bad: the budget makes low-income women pay more for Medicaid coverage, forces many women who become pregnant or are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer to shop for insurance in the private market, and threatens the employment of thousands of women employed as independent home health care providers. And the proposed tax changes benefit the wealthy while raising taxes on the lowest-income Ohioans, the majority of whom are women.

View our latest budget briefing to see some of the ways Kasich’s proposals could impact the women of Ohio.