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An alarming number of atrocious right wing reactionary bills are being introduced during this year’s lame duck period – after election day and before the new state legislators take office. Here’s a roundup of what our state legislators have done, are planning to do and how people are fighting them, all conveniently categorized for you as Good, Bad, and Horrendous.


Real universal health care for everyone in Ohio: Reps. Teresa Fedor and Bernadine Kent bravely sponsored HB 440 providing universal and affordable health care coverage for all Ohio residents, including comprehensive benefit package that includes benefits for prescription drugs. The bill reads: ‘The Ohio health care plan shall work simultaneously to control health care costs, control health care spending, achieve measurable improvement in health care outcomes, increase all parties' satisfaction with the health care system, implement policies that strengthen and improve culturally and linguistically sensitive care, and develop an integrated health care database to support health care planning.” A hearing is planned for Wednesday, December 4 for this bill, which unfortunately has an uphill battle. To get involved, contact SPAN-Ohio.

Stop executing the mentally ill: On Tuesday, December 4, theHouse Criminal Justice Committee plans to discuss HB 81, a bill that would stop executions for those with serious mental illness: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Delusional Disorder. Studies show most of Ohio’s death row inmates suffer from mental illness, childhood trauma or intellectual impairment. There are 26 men scheduled for execution between now and 2020, and Ohio is gaining national attention for its three botched executions since 2006. HB 81 is sponsored by Representative Nickie Antonio (D). For more information, contact the Ohioans to Stop Executions.


Banning potential plastic bag bans: Setting aside the fact that there are 5.5 million pounds of plastic entering Lake Erie any given year, and that there are no bills banning plastic bags in the state, there was bipartisan support for HB 625 to ban bans and fees on plastic bags. The rationale was that a fee would hurt poor people and the ban would hurt business. Clearly, the environment had no say in this argument. The bill has yet to reach the Ohio Senate and Governor Kasich’s desk.

Ban the boycott:The Ohio House approved HB 476 on November 29. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kirk Schuring (R), is a blow to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement advocating a stop to Israel’s violence and actions toward Palestinians. The bill requires any businesses working with the state of Ohio to explicitly state in contracts declaring they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel. All that is left is for the Anti-BDS legislation to obtain Kasich’s approval.


Shoot first, ask questions later:Even the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police is against this one. Not surprisingly, Ohio’s “Stand Your Ground” bill, HB 228, passed 64-26 on November 14. Though the bill is likely to be vetoed by Governor Kasich, this legislation sends a chilling message to Ohioans. The bill gives us the right to shoot to kill instead of retreating, encourages concealed carry without a permit, and eliminates “gun-free zone” signage requirements, among other things. reported that during the hearing, the majority white, male, Republican bill sponsors refused to hear arguments that the bill is racist by Rep. Stephanie Howse, a black Democrat from Cleveland.

Republican Right to Make Less Money bill:The infamous misnomer “Right to Work” (RTW) reared up in the middle of November in the form of HB 53. Republican State Rep. John Becker is behind it. In 2011, the people of Ohio rejected a RTW referendum because they know that the “Right to Work” really means the right to work for lower wages and to be easily fired. Both Governor Kasich and incoming Governor Mike DeWine claim they are not supporting RTW.

Protecting pipelines and punishing protestors: In an obvious reaction to the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, Sen. Frank Hoagland (R) introduced Ohio Substitute SB 250 that would turn trespassers into felons and imposes huge fines. According to environmental activist Teresa Mills, the bill violates the Constitution, is “frivolous and vindictive” and is an assault on free speech and free association under the guise of protecting “critical infrastructure” such as oil and gas pipelines. At a November 28 hearing, the Ohio Senate Committee heard powerful citizen testimony, but the bill prevailed in an 8-2 vote. The two “no” votes were from Senators Michael Skindell and Cecil Thomas. The bill still needs to be heard by the full Senate and House.

Continued attacks on women’s reproductive rights:The so-called “Heartbeat Bill” passed the Republican-dominated Ohio House, in a 58-35 vote. HB 258 prohibits any abortion if the unborn fetus has a detectable heartbeat, which could be as early as six weeks Governor Kasich has pledged to veto the bill. A companion bill is HB 565, currently under consideration as of November 20, would criminally charge both the pregnant mother and the doctor for performing an abortion with murder. There are no exceptions in the bill for rape or incest. Thank you, Republican Rep. A. Nino Vitale. Also, Rep. Antani (R) introduced HB 619, the Pregnancy Misinformation and Coercion Act. This bill mandates that Ohio’s State Board of Education and Department of Health develop a public school curriculum on fetal development for the propaganda purpose of achieving an “abortion-free” society.