This week, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced the leaders of the House’s 25 standing committees, and women will be outnumbered by men 5 to 1.
Legislative committees are where the hard work of lawmaking gets done. The chairs of these committees wield considerable power in deciding which bills are heard and will advance to a vote. In the past two legislative sessions, at least 10 new restrictions were enacted that restricted women’s healthcare choices. The significance of who runs these committees cannot be overstated.
Innovation Ohio Ed Fund looked at the new leadership slate and found that of 68 committee leadership positions — Chairs, Vice Chairs and Ranking Minority Members — just 15 (22%) will be held by women. Only four of the 25 incoming committee chairs (16%) are women. And just two committees — the Health and Aging committee and the Finance Transportation subcommittee — will have a female majority in leadership. Beyond committees, only 3 of the 10 leadership positions in the House as a whole (Majority Floor Leader, Assistant Majority Whip and Assistant Minority Whip) will be held by women.
Only 26 women are currently elected to serve in the Ohio House, but leadership missed a key opportunity this week to remedy this under-representation through leadership appointments.
Here are the 2015-2016 House Committees and their incoming leadership: