Wondering what the legislators at the Ohio Statehouse and on Capitol Hill are up to? We’ve got you covered! Check out our April Legislative Rundown for a list of bills we’re keeping our eyes on.
What’s Moving in Ohio
The Ohio House Starts on the Budget
Finance Subcommittee hearings in the Ohio House are underway with testimony from state department directors about how each state agency will spend its allotted money and the policy changes they want to advance.
What we’re watching: Two major line items in the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) budget for HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program.
Reproductive Rights Are Under Attack…Again.
We’re just as tired of saying it as you are of hearing it. The Ohio House Health committee is close to voting out the latest attack on reproductive rights: Senate Bill 23. This bill (already passed by the Senate) will ban abortions after a fetal heart is detected, which can be as early as 6 weeks—or before many people know they’re pregnant.
What makes this bill even worse? A new amendment to the bill that would criminalize doctors who provide these services after the 6-week mark by imposing a $20,000 fine from the Medical Board, a $2,500 court fine, and a felony charge. If passed, Ohio will have one of the strictest abortion laws in the country and a legal battle is all but guaranteed.
The full Ohio House is likely going to vote on this bill TODAY! Call your Representative and tell them to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 23.
At Equitas Health, we champion the ability of our patients – and all people – to decide what is best for their bodies, in consultation with their healthcare providers. This basic activity should not be criminalized.
Join us in calling your House Representatives today and telling them to vote AGAINST this discriminatory bill.
Ohio Fairness Act Needs More Hearings
The Ohio Fairness Act, which would extend legal protections to the LGBTQ+ community, has only gotten one hearing so far. Help us get more!
Ohio’s legislators need to hear from their constituents about why this bill is so important. When we get more hearings, Equitas Health will be offering our own testimony in support of this imperative legislation to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community under Ohio law. If you, too, are interested in submitting testimony, please let me know by responding to this email!
Protecting Patients’ Access to Affordable Medication
This week, Aaron Clark, Equitas Health’s Chief Pharmacy Officer, submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 63, which will end the secretive practices that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) sometimes employ that result in patients paying more than they should at the pharmacy counter. The bill would prohibit co-pay clawbacks that strip money away from pharmacists and patients and the problematic gag orders that penalize pharmacists who inform their patients about more affordable medication options.
The Ohio House unanimously passed a nearly identical bill last session, but the Ohio Senate didn’t get a chance to vote on it. New bills have now been introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate—HB 63 and SB 14—so we are looking forward to seeing this important bill pass soon.
What’s Moving in Congress
Violence Against Women Act Reauthorized in the US House, Heads to the US Senate
Last week, the US House passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a landmark law that strengthens law enforcement and provides essential resources to local service providers responding to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The 2019 reauthorized version includes an expansion of much-needed protections for women with violent abusers and for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite a fairly nasty campaign from the gun lobby, the US House easily passed the 2019 VAWA with new language that will make it more difficult for convicted domestic abusers to purchase guns. Women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm, so these sorts of protections are quite literally a matter of life and death.
The bill also includes a requirement for the Bureau of Prisons to consider the safety and protection of LGBTQ+ prisoners when housing assignments are given, like allowing transgender people who are incarcerated to serve in prisons and to access shelters that align with their gender identity.
The VAWA now heads to the US Senate for approval.
Equality Act Introduced in the US House
David Cicilline and other Congressional Democrats reintroduced the Equality Act—a federal version of the Ohio Fairness Act that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression—in the US House with bipartisan and unprecedented support.
Nearly 290 original co-sponsors introduced the bill, including four members of Ohio’s congressional delegation (Reps. Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, and Ryan)! In the US Senate’s companion bill, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown also signed on as an original co-sponsor.
We’ll be keeping our eye on this bill as it moves through the US House and will keep you posted on how you can help urge Ohio’s US House members to stand up for equality. And join us in thanking Reps. Beatty, Fudge, Kaptur, and Ryan and Sen. Brown for standing up for marginalized Americans!
Stay Tuned for More!
As these bills move through the various legislative chambers, be on the lookout for our updates and to learn how you can get involved.
Yours in the fight,
She, Her, Hers