GREATER TOLEDO RIGHT TO LIFE & RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO "Friday Five" Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant March 15, 2019 The “ides” of March are blowing mainly against abortion advocates, and pro-life activists have a great deal to be thankful for!
NEWS AND VIEWS
1. The major debate in the Ohio Senate this week didn’t surround the Heartbeat Bill for once. Senator Matt Huffman of Lima, along with Senate President Larry Obhof, introduced Senate Resolution 41. The resolution is intended to express the support of Ohio for the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” introduced by US Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Extensive testimony was offered on the resolution, which had its first and only hearing on Tuesday. After an intensive back and forth, the resolution was passed by the committee after Chairman Dave Burke noted, not as the chairman of the Committee, but as an individual “Any time I get the chance to double down on someone murdering babies, I am going to take it.” It was passed on a party-line vote of 9-3.
2. The Senate Health committee also voted the Heartbeat Bill (SB23) out of committee after accepting a substitute bill offered by sponsor Senator Kristina Roegner. The substitute bill made a number of minor changes to the bill to clarify provisions and tighten the language to ensure the intent of the bill to prevent the provision of an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Democrats, supported in voting by Republican Senator Stephanie Kunze of Columbus, unsuccessfully offered a number of amendments to add exceptions to allow children conceived by rape or incest to be killed, and to allow killing of an unborn child due to a “mental health” condition of the pregnant woman. All of these amendments were tabled, and the bill was reported out on a vote of 8-4.
3. Speaking of the Senate floor, both Heartbeat (SB 23) and the Born Alive Abortion Survivors’ resolution (SR 41) were debated by the full Senate on Wednesday. An interesting note occurred when, after speaking in opposition to SR 41, the Senate Democratic Caucus called for a recess to discuss among their members. Over 20 minutes later, the 9 members returned and immediately cast votes in favor of the resolution, making the vote on it unanimous! The Heartbeat Bill didn’t enjoy such “overwhelming” support, but after a series of weakening amendments offered by Democrats were tabled, the bill passed on a vote of 19-13. Four Republican Senators joined the nine Democrats opposing the bill to protect literally tens of thousands of pre-born children. Those Senators are Stephanie Kunze of Columbus, John Eklund of Geauga County, Matt Dolan of Cleveland, and Nathan Manning of Lorain.
4. Support testimony was given on the “Pink Tax” bill (House Bill 19) by RTLACO’s Margie Christie during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing. The bill would eliminate tax on women’s feminine hygiene products. She stated “I urge the members of this committee to approve House Bill 19 and ease the burden of all women of Ohio, especially those with low-income struggles. Feminine hygiene products, like medicine, should not have to be rationed or sacrificed to “make ends meet.” The bill is scheduled for further hearings next week.
5. Sponsor testimony was offered this week on the “Humanity of the Unborn Education Act” (HB 90), sponsored by Rep. Niraj Antani of Dayton in the House Health Committee. The bill seeks to establish accurate, scientifically verifiable information concerning the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at two-week gestational intervals, for public school Health classes. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) already creates such materials, and a school can utilize that resource or create their own. Another provision would have ODH create a database of public and private agencies that care for women and children through pregnancy and beyond childbirth. The link to the page information would be posted in public facilities. The bill will be given proponent testimony the week of March 18th.
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.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall—Hall, who enters the position from the post of senior vice president of administration and general counsel at Columbus State Community College, served as deputy chief counsel for Attorney General Mike DeWine. She also served as deputy chief counsel for the Ohio Department of Education. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Columbus School for Girls and the YWCA of Columbus. Hall is the founder and president of the Olive Tree Foundation for Girls, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring, enrichment programs and scholarships for young women. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law. ODJFS deals with issues from Medicaid and workforce development to foster care.
Senator Bill Coley (R)—The second term Senator from West Chester in Butler County (Senate District 4), Coley is an attorney in private practice. Currently serving as chair of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, Coley is term-limited in 2020. The Senator is a member of St. John’s Parish, and is active in the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts. Coley has been a consistent vote for pro-life legislation during his tenure in the office.
Representative Bill Dean (R)—The gentleman from Xenia in House District 74 is a plumber by trade and a father of 10 and is currently serving his second full term in the Assembly. Dean is solidly pro-life, and votes consistent with those principles. An interesting note is that his legislative colleague and pro-life stalwart Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville is also his son-in-law.
Representative Sedrick Denson (D)--The freshman representative from Cincinnati’s House District 33 has yet to introduce legislation or cast votes on pro-life bills. He carries into his legislative work an endorsement from Planned Parenthood.
Representative Anthony DeVitis (R)--A member of the House Republican Leadership team (assistant majority floor leader), Summit County’s DeVitis represents District 36 from his hometown of Green. An entrepreneur, DeVitis and his family own three businesses. A former city councilman, DeVitis currently volunteers for his church, the Greensburg Temple Baptist church. DeVitis has been a consistent pro-life vote on issues during his tenure.
Greater Toledo Right to Life 5726 Southwyck Blvd., Ste. 120 Toledo, Ohio 43614 phone: (419)535-5800