GREATER TOLEDO RIGHT TO LIFE & RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO "Friday Five" Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant February 1, 2019
The first month of the 133rd General Assembly is in the books, and it’s a very slow start. Look for the pace to pick up significantly during February.
NEWS AND VIEWS
1. The major news of the week is that the Heartbeat Bill looks to start it’s progress through the Legislature next week. Senate President Larry Obhof has indicated that a press conference will be held on Wednesday to announce the introduction of the Senate version of the measure, sponsored by newly-elected Senator Kristina Roegner of the 27th Senate District (Wayne County and parts of Stark and Summit). The Senate moving first means that the House, which has passed the measure four times, will likely have the final say over the legislation’s wording and effect. Governor Mike DeWine has repeatedly noted that he will sign the bill upon receiving it from the Assembly. The House version, sponsored by pro-life champions Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville and Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown, will be introduced once 50 cosponsors have been secured. The count currently stands at 47.
2. Theresa Gavarone WILL be the next Senator. From Gongwer: "A Senate Republican screening committee on Monday chose Rep. Theresa Gavarone to fill the seat vacated by Randy Gardner. Rep. Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) will head to the Senate just weeks into her second elected term in the House. "We appreciate the interest and the public service experience of both of the candidates we met with today," Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said in a statement. "Theresa brings a strong understanding of the issues important to the people of Northwest Ohio, and we look forward to working with her in the Senate."
3. Senate is confirming our info on Heartbeat (from Gongwer): "The Senate plans to introduce its first batch of bills Wednesday, with environmental issues expected to be among the top areas of focus for majority Republicans...Another item expected to move quickly in the Senate next year is a proposed ban on abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat. That measure is expected to be sponsored by Sen. Kristina Roegner. Sen. Obhof said Sen. Roegner will introduce the measure "soon." "We will let it run its course through the process and that will take however long it takes, but I expect that it will be expeditious," he said.
4. Standing Committee chairmanships should be announced next week as well. The key standing committees that we hope to see pro-life elected leaders take the helm of include the House Health Committee, House Judiciary and House Criminal Justice Committees, the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Criminal Justice Committee and Senate Government Oversight Committee. The House has announced the appointment of pro-life champion Rep. Nino Vitale as chairman of the Sunset Review Committee, a special panel to review and make recommendations to the legislature on whether or not boards and commissions of state government should continue to operate or be eliminated.
5. On the elections front, a likely primary between two solid pro-life state Representatives in the Dayton area looks to be in development. Third-term Rep. Niraj Antani has already announced that he is seeking the 6th District Senate seat that will vacated by current Senator Peggy Lehner due to term limits. Fourth-term Representative Jim Butler, who is also facing term limits in his House seat, is also highly likely to seek this Senate seat. Both Representatives have been strongly pro-life in their votes and actions in the House. Antani is not term-limited this cycle, as four consecutive two-year House terms are the limit in Ohio. He will be foregoing seeking a final term in the House in order to make the move to the Senate.
Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key policymakers. One statewide office holder or agency director, one Senator and three House members will be profiled each time.
Attorney General Dave Yost—Yost, a former Delaware County prosecutor and state Auditor, is Ohio’s 51st Attorney General. Dave Yost began his career as an award-winning newspaper reporter for the Columbus Citizen-Journal, and later practiced law with Burkam, Yost & Fuller in Delaware, before serving on city council and becoming the county Auditor. Yost is expected to continue the strong pro-life and pro-family defense of Ohio’s laws as did his predecessor Mike DeWine.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Bob Peterson—Peterson, a former Fayette County commissioner and Representative is beginning his final four-year Senate term. He has held the #2 spot in Senate Republican leadership for two years. He has a consistent pro-life voting record, but did not co-sponsor virtually any of the pro-life legislation considered by the Senate in the 132nd Assembly (except for SB 28, the Fetal Remains bill).
Representative Brian Baldridge—A former county Commissioner in Adams County, Baldridge is new to the General Assembly, having filled the open 90th House District seat formerly held by Dr. Terry Johnson. Baldridge, a former firefighter and paramedic, received the endorsement of RTLACO during the 2018 campaign, and has already co-sponsored the Heartbeat bill for this session.
Representative John Becker—The fourth-term Representative from Clermont County (65th House District) has been a pro-life vote during his time in the Assembly. Becker has co-sponsored pro-life legislation regularly, including four times on Heartbeat. He will likely be seeking the 14th Senate District seat of Joe Uecker which will be opened by term limits at the end of this two-year session.
Representative Louis William “Bill” Blessing 3rd—Also in his fourth term in the House, Rep. Bill Blessing hails from suburban Cincinnati (House District 29). An engineer by trade, Blessing was Chairman of the House Government Oversight committee in the 132nd session. Blessing regularly co-sponsors and votes pro-life. It is unlikely that Blessing will try to move to the Senate in the next election, as sitting Senator Lou Terhar will likely run for re-election to the 8th District Senate seat that encompasses HD 29.
Greater Toledo Right to Life 5726 Southwyck Blvd., Ste. 120 Toledo, Ohio 43614 phone: (419)535-5800