The Ohio House of Representatives concurred on the Senate amendment to Substitute House Bill 294 during today’s voting session.
Authored by Representatives Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Margy Conditt (R-Liberty Township), HB 294 prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions, redirecting those resources to entities that provide healthcare services for women and to state programs focused on improving Ohio’s infant mortality rate.
“Amended Substitute House Bill 294 is about ensuring our tax dollars are used for programs that are helping women and children, especially infants, every day in their healthcare needs,” said Representative Conditt.
The legislation redirects funding to healthcare service entities that provide women and children with comprehensive health care and family planning services. As Representative Conditt explained in committee testimony, there is a substantial number of alternative healthcare providers, pregnancy help centers and free community health clinics that provide services to Ohioans all over the state, including in underserved and rural areas, that do not perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions.
“In Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger said of African Americans, immigrants and indigents, ‘…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning…human beings who never should have been born,’” Patmon said. “Since 1973, 58,586,256 minority and majority babies have never had a chance. In 2014, Ohio reported 21,186 abortions with 39 percent of those abortions being performed on African-American women, although they only make up 13 percent of the population. We say enough is enough.”
The bill sponsors also stressed the importance of addressing the state’s high infant mortality rate. In 2013, Ohio’s infant mortality rate was 7.4, which is 23 percent higher than the national rate, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Infant mortality rate is calculated by the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births.
The Senate amendment that was concurred upon today continued the fight against infant mortality and for the health care of women across the state. The two components of the Senate amendment for Sub. HB 294 are as follows:
• Sends an additional $250,000 to the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers to promote safe sleep practices for new moms and babies, birth spacing, and smoking cessation.
• Requires Medicaid to implement presumptive eligibility strategies in local health departments and WIC clinics to allow pregnant women earlier access to prenatal care.
Amended Substitute House Bill 294 now awaits consideration by Governor Kasich.
State Representative Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and State Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) today applauded an announcement by the Ohio Department of Education stating that, for the 2014-15 Ohio School Report Cards, there will be additional information regarding participation of students in state tests last year and how this impacts the achievement measure score and grade for schools.
The change comes after a small percentage of districts and community schools experienced a significant decrease in student participation on state tests. Discussions with legislators, schools and other stakeholders found that a solution was needed to ensure that students who did not participate in state tests were excluded from the Performance Index Score. For 2014-15 report cards, ODE will provide additional information on a “modified achievement measure” for scores and grades. This will be calculated using data only for students who participated in state tests and therefore won’t include those who opted to not take the tests.
“I am delighted to hear that ODE will be modifying its state report cards to include the ‘modified achievement measure.’ This measure will be calculated from only those students who have taken the assessments,” Rep. Roegner said. “I believe this change will help ensure that parents, teachers, and administrators have more accurate information concerning the education of our children.”
“As a result of the failed PARCC test, many schools faced significant negative impacts on state report cards,” Buchy said. “I applaud the leadership at the Ohio Department of Education for providing an opportunity for Ohioans to compare schools on a level playing field.”
More information can be found here: http://education.ohio.gov/Media/Media-Releases/Nearly-99-Percent-of-Students-Took-State-Tests-Las.
Yesterday the Ohio House Education Committee passed Sub. House Bill 113, which would require CPR training for high school students entering 9th grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2016. House Bill 113 was sponsored by State Representatives Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville).
“I am pleased to see how the importance of this bill will impact saving lives,” said Grossman. “A victim who receives CPR is often two or three times more likely to survive, and I am confident that this hands-on training will demonstrably increase the skills and confidence needed in an emergency situation.”
This legislation will require students in grades 9 through 12 to receive CPR training through the use of an automated external defibrillator. Additionally, the bill ensures that students practice "hands on" training with a mannequin to learn the psycho-motor skills necessary to perform CPR.
“This is common sense legislation that will provide life-saving hands-on CPR training for students across Ohio as well as training with AEDs which are becoming common place in our society,” Manning said.
To provide school districts with flexibility, HB 113 simply states that students must receive basic CPR training at some point in the four years they attend high school. Additionally, the bill only requires the training to last at least 30 minutes and students do not have to become CPR certified as a result of this legislation.
HB 113 was passed unanimously by the House Education Committee.
State Representative Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) yesterday announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 178, legislation he sponsored. The bill would allow certain wine manufacturers to participate at farmers markets that obtain a liquor permit.
House Bill 178 would establish the F-10 liquor permit, which could then be obtained by a person who organizes a qualified farmers market, to allow A-2 liquor permit holders and S permit holders to join the market. The wine manufacturers would be authorized to sell tasting samples of wine not exceeding one ounce, or sell up to four and one-half liters of wine per household for consumption off of the premises of the market.
“This legislation capitalizes on the trend of purchasing locally grown goods and growing interest in wineries,” said Rep. Manning. “It will attract a different consumer base to farmers markets while simultaneously helping Ohio wineries develop and gain name recognition. House Bill 178 is common sense legislation that will help small businesses and will have a positive impact on Ohio’s economy.”
A farmers market must be registered with the Department of Agriculture to be eligible for the F-10 permit and pay a fee of $100. The permit is effective for nine months and is nonrenewable; however, an organizer of a farmers market may reapply at its expiration.
Lee Klingshirn, president of Klingshirn Winery in Avon Lake, Ohio, remarked that he was “thrilled that Ohio's wine industry is well on its way to participating in the growing opportunity of Ohio's farmers markets. This legislation would allow wineries to promote themselves in the population centers by taking their products to farmers markets and surrounding areas. It’s truly a great tool for the state of Ohio to grow the agricultural sector by working directly with the consumer.”
House Bill 178 will now undergo further consideration by the Ohio Senate.
State Representative Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) today announced passage of House Bill 256, legislation that would designate a portion of State Route 48 between Interstate 71 and State Route 38 in Warren County as the “SFC Bobby Lee Estle Memorial Highway.”
“SFC Bobby Lee Estle is not only a hero to the State of Ohio, but a hero to the country. He gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can live with the freedom we do today,” said Maag, who sponsored the bill. His courage and bravery will never be forgotten, and I am honored to designate a portion of State Route 48 in Warren County in his memory.”
SFC Bobby Lee Estle served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and was killed in action in 2012 at the age of 38, just 10 days before he was due to come home. Throughout his 18-year career in the U.S. Army, Estle served two tours in Iraq as well as two tours in Afghanistan.
Born and raised in Ohio, Bobby was a 1991 graduate of Lebanon High School where he was in Jr. ROTC and Warren County Career Center where he studied Chef Management and Diesel Mechanics.
Bobby was a family man, and is survived by his wife of 15 years, his three children, and many loved family and friends.
House Bill 256 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
State Representative Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) today announced passage of House Bill 359, legislation he sponsored with Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville), which establishes for the first time in Ohio an Address Confidentiality Program for stalking and domestic violence victims.
HB 359 allows domestic violence victims, as well as victims of rape, sexual battery, menacing by stalking and human trafficking to secure an Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) number, assigned to a P.O. Box at the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, to be used for all governmental records in Ohio. In this manner, the true address of the victim is protected from disclosure, granting victims the freedom to register to vote, register a vehicle and complete many governmental forms without fear of disclosing their home address to an abuser searching public records in an ever-increasingly online world.
In his floor speech, Rep. Duffey graphically recounted the chronology of a 2009 triple-murder in Canton committed by an abusive ex-husband who stalked his ex-wife, Marcia Eakin, and then, in an effort to inflict emotional distress, killed both of their young children and her mother before unsuccessfully attempting to severely maim Ms. Eakin. Testimony revealed he used public records to find her address.
“The Eakin case is perhaps the most extreme I’ve ever heard of as it relates to domestic violence,” said Rep. Duffey, “but whether the abuse leads to murder or not, we know that protecting victims means separation from their abusers and address confidentiality is a key tool in achieving that goal. For hundreds of Ohioans who refuse to register to vote today, HB 359 will give them the freedom to no longer be forced to choose between their right to vote and personal safety. We owe a debt of gratitude to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for enthusiastically supporting this legislation.”
The only individuals who are able to access the participant’s true address are governmental agencies on a need-to-know basis such as county boards of elections to verify voter eligibility, the Secretary of State’s office to administer the program and law enforcement officials for legal purposes or to provide emergency protection to victims in the event of an eminent threat to a victim’s safety.
In addition to government agencies, the program permits participants to request their employer, school or institution of higher education use the P.O. Box assigned to them by the Secretary of State.
“Since introduction of this bill I have had victims call my office telling me they wish this program existed when they decided to leave their abuser; individuals who have been tracked down because of court documents, county auditors and even car registrations,” said Gonzales. “This bill is an important step for our state to take towards protecting victims after one of the most personal crimes that can occur.”
The bill is supported by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, the Ohio Coalition to End Sexual Violence, the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio Prosecutor’s Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Newspaper Association and others. It recently passed out of the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee with a unanimous vote.
House Bill 359 passed unanimously and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. If passed by the Ohio Senate, Ohio will become the 38th state to have an address confidentiality program.
During today’s session, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 384, legislation that gives the Auditor of State the authority to conduct performance audits of state universities, as well as state, community and technical colleges. The legislation is geared at increasing efficiency and identifying cost-saving measures in Ohio’s higher education system.
“It is time that we provide our colleges and universities with this powerful tool to help students get the most out of taxpayer and tuition dollars,” said Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), who cosponsored the bill with Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington).
HB 384 is an accountability measure providing oversight on approximately $1.9 billion of general revenue spending in the state’s higher education system. The potential cost-saving components of the bill come at a time when the price of earning a degree continues to rise for Ohio’s college students.
Since 2011, performance audits of school districts have uncovered about $77 million in potential savings. The same improvements are true for audits of state agencies, including identifying $11.6 million in savings on operating expenses at the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“Simply put, performance audits are a best practice when taxpayer money is involved,” Rep. Duffey said. “Nobody likes being questioned about the way they spend money, but it’s still the right thing to do. In passing this legislation, we are putting Ohio’s colleges and universities on notice that we expect them to be frugal and efficient with our taxpayer dollars.”
Under current law, state colleges and universities are not included in statutory requirements for performance audits. Ohio’s current requirement for performance audits of state agencies is a fairly recent development, having been sponsored by Rep. Tim Schaffer when he was in the Ohio Senate in 2011. HB 384 would broaden that scope to include colleges and universities.
Under HB 384, a performance audit of a state institution of higher learning would count as one of the four performance audits that the State Auditor is required to conduct every two years. In addition, a university that has been audited would be required to accept comments from interested parties and make them publicly available.
The bill is supported by Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost. If signed into law, Ohio would join seven other states that conduct higher education performance audits. The bill now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.
State Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) today announced the unanimous passage of Sub. House Bill 158, which replaces the use of “mental retardation” throughout the Ohio Revised Code. The legislation replaces this insensitive term with “intellectual disability” where applicable.
“The term ‘mentally retarded’ has a negative connotation and many find the term offensive. It is time that we ensure these individuals are able to hold their heads high and not be labeled with demeaning terms,” said Rep. Dever. “Those with intellectual disabilities continue to face a certain derogatory stigma in our society and we must do our part to combat that stigma.”
In 2010 and 2013, the federal government passed similar legislation to make statutory changes in the law by using the term “intellectual disability” rather than “mental retardation.” House Bill 158 will bring conformity between the Ohio Revised Code and the Code of Federal Regulations in an effort to rid developmental disabilities from a negative connotation.
The changes throughout the Ohio Revised Code will not impact the scope of developmental disability definitions, but instead serves as a simple word change to avoid using a term that is often found offensive. There are several instances where the phrases “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” will remain in law, however these instances mainly occur when referencing the names of existing facilities or developmental disability boards.
Sub. House Bill 158 now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) today announced plans for the Medical Marijuana Task Force, which will work to review the issue of medical marijuana in the state of Ohio.
In response to increased interest by citizens across the state to further discuss the topic and the inclusion of Issue 3 on last November’s ballot, leaders in the Ohio House have taken action through the creation of a bipartisan task force. In partnership with various business groups, medical experts, issue advocates, fellow state legislators and others, the task force will work to vet all sides of the issue.
“This issue is something that has been discussed for some time, on both sides of the aisle, and last November, the people of Ohio resoundingly defeated a ballot proposal that would allow the recreational use of marijuana. However, the initiative sparked debate about whether or not medical marijuana should be prohibited for those who are suffering from a specific illness,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “The goal of this task force is to have a methodical and holistic approach to the conversation, which means including members on both sides of the aisle, as well as medical experts, community advocacy groups and law enforcement officials. Having this discussion is important for our state and I think this task force gives us an ideal setting to do that.”
At today’s press conference, Rep. Schuring was announced as chair of the task force.
“Our goal with this task force is to invite everyone to the table and to have a real discussion about what’s best for Ohio when it comes to medical marijuana,” Rep. Schuring said. “I applaud Speaker Rosenberger for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to chairing the task force and facilitating a credible process.”
The task force will also include State Representative, and physician, Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City); State Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain); Dr. Brian Santin, Ohio State Medical Association; Nick Lashutka, President of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association; Betty Montgomery, former Ohio Attorney General; Chris Stock, advocate for medical marijuana; Jimmy Gould, issue advocate; Bill Sopko, Chair of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association; Lora Miller, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants; Linda Hondros, Ohio Chamber of Commerce; Matt Szollosi, Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT OHIO); Larry Moliterno, Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers; Gary Wolske, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio (FOP); and Matt Lutz, Muskingum County Sheriff and third vice president of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association.
The task force will hold hearings regularly throughout the next few months to study the issue, gather information and hear testimony.
State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) today announced his support for the recent CDC report, “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.” Sprague, joined by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), says that he plans to submit a letter of support for the guidelines to the CDC during its public comment period.
Sprague also made appearances today in Hardin, Logan and Hancock counties to further advocate for the recent guidelines. Joined by local law enforcement officials in each of the counties, Sprague encouraged community members to also submit letters of support to the CDC.
“Every Ohioan that has been touched by the addiction epidemic has an opportunity to take ten minutes and post a supportive comment for these CDC guidelines, which will address the narcotic addiction epidemic where it starts: a prescription pad,” said Representative Sprague.
Attorney General DeWine also voiced his support for the CDC guidelines, stating that he feels the recommendations will help Ohio continue to combat heroin addiction.
“According to federal data, 80% of new heroin users admitted to previously abusing prescription drugs,” said DeWine. “As part of our fight against the heroin epidemic, we need to change the culture involving how we treat pain with opiates, and the CDC guidelines are a step in the right direction. I applaud Representative Sprague for taking the lead on this important issue.”
The CDC report is still in the draft phase and currently has an Opioid Guideline Workgroup reviewing the draft. The primary recommendations included in the report encourage prescribers to utilize alternative methods for treating pain, prescribing the lowest effective dosage, and setting treatment goals with patients prior to writing an opioid prescription.
“The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain will have the same effect as the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning and labeling of cigarettes; that is, these rules will change the culture and perception of how these drugs are used,” said Representative Sprague. “I appreciate Attorney General DeWine’s support, along with Representative Smith’s support, and all of their efforts to address our addiction epidemic.”
The Ohio Department of Health estimates that in 2014 alone, more than 2,400 Ohioans died from accidental drug overdose. Representative Smith said the Ohio General Assembly has been working hard over the past three years to reduce that statistic.
“The Ohio House has already made substantial progress toward addressing the drug epidemic by passing crucial pieces of legislation, however there is still much more to be done to fight the addiction,” said Smith.
The “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain” is open for public comment through the end of the day on Wednesday, January 13. For additional information, please visit:
In a press conference at the Statehouse today, State Representatives Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) explained their recently introduced legislation to increase penalties for strangulation in domestic violence situations.
The Ohio House Healthcare Efficiencies Study Committee today held a hearing today at the MetroHealth main campus in Cleveland, focusing on the topics of Medicaid and aging.
The Ohio House Community and Family Advancement Committee held a hearing on the Kent State University East Liverpool campus yesterday, listening to testimony on how to help lift Ohioans up and out of poverty.
The Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee held a hearing yesterday in Bidwell at Green Valley Gathering Place, focused primarily on livestock.