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March, 29, 2019. This section is intended to keep our readers up to speed with key legislation moving through the Ohio State House.

New Legislation – In the past few weeks, the floodgates opened as lawmakers in both the Ohio House and Senate introduced a total of 118 bills for consideration by the 133rd General Assembly.

Some of the proposals that we’ll be watching in the coming months include:

House Bill 19 – Menstrual Hygiene Products (Antani, Kelly) – Exempts tampons and other menstrual hygiene products from the sales and use tax.

House Bill 34 – Minimum Wage (Kelly) – Increases the state’s minimum wage to be $15 per hour by 2023. Also allows for municipalities, townships, and counties to establish higher minimum wage requirements.

House Bill 49 – Voter ID (Greenspan) – To authorize the use of a concealed firearms permit as an approved photo identification for voting purposes.

House Bill 54 – Local Government Fund (Cera, Rogers) – To restore revenue sharing between the state and its counties, cities, townships and villages via the Local Government Fund to its pre-2011 levels.

House Bill 62 – Transportation Budget (Oelslager) – To approve expenditures of gas tax revenue for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. A placeholder bill today, the legislation will soon be amended to include the DeWine Administration’s proposals to address what they are calling a transportation funding “crisis.”

House Bill 68 (Hood, Keller) / Senate Bill 23 (Roegner) – Abortion Ban – Bans abortion at the point of a detectable fetal heartbeat. The bill would also criminalize doctors who perform an abortion after this point with a fifth degree felony, with the ability for the State Medical Board to suspend a medical license without a hearing. Many believe this measure would result in the closure of all remaining clinics in Ohio, effectively ending legal abortion in the state.

Senate Bill 3 – Drug Sentencing (Eklund, O’Brien) – To revise Ohio’s drug sentencing laws.

Senate Bill 11 – Ohio Fairness Act (Antonio) – Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, meaning that it would add LGBTQ people to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio. The bill would not affect existing religious exemptions that are currently present in Ohio’s law.

Senate Bill 19 – Extreme Risk Protection Order (Williams) – To allow family, household members and law enforcement officers to obtain a court order temporarily restricting a person from having access to firearms if that person is deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Senate Bill 27 – Fetal Remains (Uecker) – To require the burial or cremation of fetal remains resulting from a surgical abortion procedure.

Senate Bill 30 – Women’s Suffrage (Kunze, Williams) – Creates the Bi-Partisan women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission responsible to plan and carry out events that educate and raise the awareness about the women’s suffrage movement in recognition of the one hundredth anniversary of the 19th amendment.

Senate Bill 33 – Critical Infrastucture (Hoagland) – To increase penalties for damage to certain so-called “critical infrastructure” facilities. This measure is believed to be targeted at environmental protests of pipelines and other energy infrastructure.

Senate Bill 43 – Domestic Violence (Kunze, Antonio) – Addresses domestic violence by enhancing penalties and restricting firearms from convicted perpetrators. The bill also prohibits strangulation against a family or household member or dating partner.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

And call Gov DeWine’s office asking him to veto any bill you oppose that passes in the House and Senate. (614) 466-3555 or any bill you are in favor of that you want him to sign.

For detailed information on all legislation, including current status, schedules, how specific legislators vote and more, go to: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/

Join the Facebook Group – How Things Work at the Statehouse – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1202571436523926/

Testify or submit testimony on a bill (See end of this story for a How To Guide)

How to testify or submit testimony on a bill:

(If you CANNOT present your testimony in person – you’re done! No more steps!)

  • If you CAN present your testimony in person, show up to the committee on the day of the hearing.
    • You will have to wait a while – likely through several other bills. Plan for a few hours.
    • Supporter testimony is usually the 2nd hearing. Opponent testimony is usually heard during the 3rd hearing.
  • When they call your name – go up to the podium and read your testimony (you don’t have to read it word for word. The legislators just like to have your testimony in front of them ahead of time so they can follow along).

After you’re done, the legislators will have a chance to ask you questions. If you get into a good back and forth with the legislators, reporters may write about it!

⚠️Watch for committee schedules each week here:

Senate: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committees
House: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/standing-committees

Compiled and edited by: Marian Jacques