I hope that you will stand with me in supporting House Bill 1, to support victims of dating violence across the state and ensure that no one has to bury a child, no one has to bury their mother, no one has to bury a friend because the state has done absolutely everything that we could to protect victims of dating violence.Despite having 65 sponsors or cosponsors, the legislation did meet with some opposition. Two members — Republicans Tom Brinkman and Nino Vitale — voted against the measure. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate.
Here are a few things to watch this week and a call to action:Budget hearings continue this week. The state transportation budget takes center stage, while committees get to work on hearings about state agency funding requests. We continue to encourage you to call your State Representative and let them know which critical needs the state should be funding instead of $3.1 billion in income tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy.
The House has put House Bill 36, the so-called “Pastor Protection Act” on the fast-track for passage. HB36 supporters claim the bill will “protect pastors and churches” from participating in any marriage to which they have a religious objection. While there is no evidence that any member of clergy has ever been forced to perform a wedding against their will–both the Ohio and US Constitution already grant this type of religious freedom–the sponsor says the bill is necessary to avoid the hypothetical possibility of lawsuits. Opponents have noted that the bill’s very broad language could have unintended consequences leading to further discrimination.
On Wednesday, the Community and Family Advancement Committee will hold what may be the only hearing featuring testimony from opponents. Anyone wishing to speak against HB36 must submit written testimony by 4pm Tuesday to the Chair’s office. The hearing will be held in Room 114 of the Statehouse, and is open to the public.
Call to Action
Call Speaker Rosenberger and your State Representative at 1-800-282-0253 and ask them to oppose HB 36, legislation which is unnecessary and could have harmful unintended consequences.
Attend the hearing on Wednesday at 4 in room 114 to send a strong message of opposition.
If you are a faith leader, testify in committee or send a statement by 4pm Tuesday to Rep05@ohiohouse.gov.
On Wednesday, Sen Uecker will testify on Senate Bill 28, his proposal to mandate cremation or burial of aborted fetal remains. The bill is a response to a [bogus] video alleged to show Planned Parenthood engaging in the sale of fetal remains, something that investigations—including one by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine—found to be untrue. This unnecessary and costly requirement would be another in a long list of efforts to create undue burdens on women exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. SB28 gets its first hearing in the Senate Government Oversight & Reform committee on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.
In more encouraging news, House Bill 1, a bipartisan proposal to address disparities in the handling of domestic violence cases involving unmarried intimate partners, will also be heard in committee this week. HB1 would allow victims of dating violence to seek court-issued protection orders and access to shelter facilities. The hearing takes place on Wednesday at 4pm in the House Civil Justice Committee.
- 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’
- Despite the start of positive steps forward for women in this legislative session, little or nothing was done by the legislature to actually give traction to proactive bills, earning ‘D’ scores for 11 policy goals
- 3 policy goals had scores move in the wrong direction, dropping from ‘D’ grades to ‘F’ grades upon passage of SB 331 during lame duck, which included last-minute amendments added to prohibit cities from enacting minimum wage, worker benefits, or scheduling protections that go beyond state or federal set levels.
- Lawmakers continued to advance legislation that restricts access to reproductive healthcare services: passing 2 unconstitutional abortion bans out of both chambers and earning 3 of the policy goals dealing with women’s healthcare ‘F’ scores
- 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
- Meanwhile, a number of proposals to restore access to reproductive health services (HB132, HB356, HB357, HB370, HB376, HB408, and SB101) were introduced in the legislature, but only three bills received one committee hearing each, and none made it out of committee
- The only ‘C’ grade was earned by the policy goal dealing with protections against discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or caregiver status: Senate Bill 301, which would provide basic accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace, received 4 committee hearings resulting in a substitute version of the bill being introduced during lame duck, but ultimately did not end up advancing out of committee
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 (SB 76) 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
Columbus: Women’s March on Washington Ohio Sister March Date: Sunday, January 15, 2017 Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM [line-up starts at 12:30 PM] Location: Columbus, OH [Line-up for March at Washington Blvd between W Broad St and Town St (right behind COSI Science Center)] Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1839160356298611/
Chillicothe: Ross County Ohio Women’s Sister March Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 Time: 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM Location: Ross County Courthouse, 2 North Paint Street, Chillicothe , OH 45601 Event Sign-Up: https://actionnetwork.org/events/ross-county-ohio-womens-sister-march
Cincinnati: Women’s March on Washington Sister March Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Location: Cincinnati, OH [Line-up at Washington Park – 1230 Elm St, Cincinnati 45202] Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/620743914780648/permalink/623726294482410/
Cleveland: Women’s March on Cleveland Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Location: Cleveland, OH [Line-up at Public Sq, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States] Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/779232568896876/
Dayton: Rally in Support of Women’s March on Washington Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Location: Courthouse Square, 3rd & Main St in downtown Dayton Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1884247885139066/
Washington D.C: Women’s March on Washington Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2017 Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Location: Washington, D.C. [Line-up at Independence Ave & Third St SW] Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2169332969958991/
The momentum from this movement cannot stop at the conclusion of these marches. We must remain engaged and active around policies and legislation in Ohio and DC that impact women. Sign up for Innovation Ohio’s alerts:
Terra Goodnight, Policy Director, Innovation Ohio Testimony to the Unemployment Compensation Reform Joint Committee November 3, 2016 Good afternoon Chairman Peterson and members of the Committee. My name is Terra Goodnight, and I am the Policy Director at Innovation Ohio, a policy and advocacy non-profit in Columbus. I am here today to speak on behalf of the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network – a statewide coalition of organizations that advocate for policies that benefit women. Attached to my testimony is a copy of a letter signed by many of those partner organizations. I am here today because women have been mostly overlooked in the conversation about reforming Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation system. The program has real problems that go beyond the size of the trust fund, and those shortcomings disproportionately impact women. Ohio’s unemployment compensation eligibility rules are out of step with our state’s changing workforce. Because these rules favor higher-wage and full-time work, women—who are more likely to work for low-pay or part-time—are less likely to receive benefits than their male counterparts. One recent analysis showed that, over the past decade, women made up over 43 percent of Ohio’s unemployed, but just 36 percent of those receiving unemployment compensation. There are a number of reasons for this gender gap. First, in order to collect benefits, Ohio requires laid-off workers to have earned a minimum average weekly wage of $243 that would be hard to achieve in many low-paying jobs. Under current rules, a minimum wage worker whose hours fluctuate between 25 and 30 hours a week is ineligible for benefits after becoming unemployed because they fail to take home the required weekly wage. In fact, in accommodations and food services, an industry where 57 percent of the workers are women, the typical worker in 34 Ohio counties earns too little to be eligible for unemployment. Women are far more likely than men to work for low pay. Women in Ohio take home, on average, $478 per week – this drops to $410 if they are African American – compared to $710 for men. Even if a part-time worker earns enough to qualify for benefits, if they seek anything less than a full-time job—even one with the exact same schedule as the job they lost—they remain ineligible under another of Ohio’s outdated rules. In Ohio, 43 percent of women work part-time, compared to just 29 percent of men. For many women, including myself, a non-traditional work week is the only way to balance work with the scheduling demands of a family, especially for the one in four Ohio families with children headed by a woman on her own. We should not preserve a system that discourages non-traditional, pro-family work schedules or that protects only those in high-paying jobs from falling into poverty. Ohio should expand its eligibility calculations to ensure even the lowest-paid workers are eligible for benefits when they lose their job. And Ohio should join the 30 states that currently allow unemployed workers to seek part-time positions and still receive unemployment benefits. Read the Letter from WPPN members.  West, Rachel, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Kali Grant, Melissa Boteach, Claire McKenna, and Judy Conti. Where States Are and Where They Should Be on Unemployment Protections. Center for American Progress, National Employment Law Center and Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown Law. July 7, 2016. http://www.nelp.org/content/uploads/Issue-Brief-State-Unemployment-Protections.pdf  U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table S2403 “Industry By Sex For the Civilian Employed Population 16 Years and Over.” November 1, 2016.  Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, “Geographic Cross-Sections: All Counties in a State, One Industry: NAICS 72: Accommodation and Food Services.” November 1, 2016.  U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B20017 “Median Earnings In The Past 12 Months (In 2015 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Sex By Work Experience In The Past 12 Months For The Population 16 Years And Over With Earnings In The Past 12 Months” October 1, 2016.  U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B20017B “Median Earnings In The Past 12 Months (In 2015 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Sex By Work Experience In The Past 12 Months For The Population 16 Years And Over With Earnings In The Past 12 Months (Black or African American Alone)” October 31, 2016.
The Ohio US Senate Debates Must Put #FamiliesFirstWhile it’s encouraging that issues impacting women and working families have entered the national spotlight during the 2016 election cycle—the discussion can’t stop there. Ohio voters deserve to hear from both Senate candidates on the issues that will have a direct impact on women and working families such as affordable child care, access to paid leave, raising the minimum wage, and addressing student debt. Every Ohio woman and working family should be able to make livable wages, take care of a new baby, family member, or recover from their own illnesses, to access affordable, high-quality child care, or get an education without being straddled with debt for decades. Ohio women and working families have too much at stake in 2016 to not hold your Senate candidates accountable for where they stand. Use this #FamiliesFirst toolkit to demand that Ted Strickland and Rob Portman put policies for women and working families at the forefront of the election and make these issues a central part of the Ohio US Senate race debates.