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· May 14, 2012

Anti-women bills on the fast track in Ohio Legislature

In recent months, many observers have noted what they see as a coordinated effort to roll back many protections and rights that women enjoy through the introduction and passage of legislation in statehouses across the nation. However, others are pushing back, suggesting these claims are made up. We decided to cut through the arguments and look at the record. Innovation Ohio, as part of our Ohio Women’s Watch initiative, has reviewed legislation introduced during the 129th General Assembly, which began in January of 2011 and ends with the swearing-in of House and Senate members after elections this November. The results are striking. We found that, as of today, bills unfavorable to women are twice as likely to have received hearings and ten times more likely to be brought to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. Out of 23 bills favorable to women, only 10—43%—have received so much as a single hearing in a House or Senate committee. By contrast, 87% of bills unfavorable to women have had the same courtesy. And only 4% of pro-women bills were brought up for a floor vote in the Ohio House or Senate, compared to nearly half—47%—of the anti-women bills. At the end of the day, what really matters is not process, it’s what legislation becomes law. And on that score, the results are clear. Of 38 bills with provisions directly affecting women, only 4 have become law, all of which served to roll back women’s rights. See our chart illustrating the fast-track that anti-women bills are on in this General Assembly. And check our legislation page for bill summaries, sponsors and status reports.

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