As state legislatures across the country move to restrict our access to the ballot, we must call on Congress to protect and expand voting rights. Without proper access to the ballot, we run the risk of our voices being diminished by special interests, partisan gerrymandering, or legislative attempts to suppress the vote.
The For the People Act is a comprehensive legislative measure that addresses voting rights, election administration, campaign finance, and the practice of gerrymandering. In order to make sure our voices echo throughout the halls of power, the Senate must pass the For the People Act.
Across the country, conservative legislators are introducing dangerous and discriminatory bills, targeting transgender youth and those who provide them care. These bills seek to prohibit trans youth from participating in organized sports in accordance with their gender identity and expression. They even seek to criminalize gender affirming services. Two bills that are currently pending in the Ohio General Assembly seek to restrict the participation of trans kids in high school and collegiate sports – let them know that we won’t tolerate attacks on trans youth!
SB50, sponsored by Senators Antonio and Maharath, would ban conversion therapy for minors in Ohio. This practice is already outlawed in 20 states. Organizations like Equitas Health, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Psychiatric Association support the passage of this bill into law.
As a community health center servicing the LGBTQ+ community, we understand the astronomical harm of this practice, especially to LGBTQ+ youth.
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House Bill 135 would prohibit insurers from implementing copay accumulator adjustment policies that discriminate against patients who need high-priced medication. Often these are patients living with chronic, complex, or life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia, HIV, arthritis. Currently, copay assistance does not count toward a patient’s deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. When copay assistance runs out, patients are stuck paying the bill, often a second time, and out of their own pockets.
When confronted with high costs and no available assistance, patients are likely to abandon their treatment altogether, which adversely affects a patient’s health outcomes. This can ultimately lead to costly emergency room visits and hospital stays for individuals with chronic conditions. Ohio needs to pass HB 135 to ensure all payments made by, or on behalf of, patients count toward the patient’s deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
House Bill 294, introduced this spring, would decrease early voting, limit ballot drop boxes, stiffen voter ID requirements, and place other arduous and unnecessary restrictions on voting in Ohio. We must stand up against any attempt to suppress the vote in Ohio – we deserve the opportunity to demonstrate our political power at the ballot box. We are #countworthy!
The U.S. Senate has the historic opportunity to codify protections from employment, housing, credit, health care, education, and public accommodations discrimination for LGBTQ+ people. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act earlier this year and it is time that the Senate takes up this issue to ensure equal protection for LGBTQ+ people under the law. The legislation, in line with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, will solidify the framework created by Supreme Court rulings, executive orders, and protections enshrined in state law across the country.