NEWS AND VIEWS
1. Proponent testimony was heard on Senate Bill 23 (Heartbeat Bill) on Tuesday. 32 witnesses submitted testimony, with nearly 20 testifying in person. Physicians, attorneys, post-abortive women, women conceived in rape and pro-life activists all shared why the bill is the proper vehicle to adopt into law and send on to the United States Supreme Court for affirmation of Ohio’s right to protect the defenseless in the womb at the earliest stages. The committee has scheduled a hearing for opponents on Tuesday Feb. 26 at 9:30 a.m.
2. House Bill 68- While attention has been focused on the Senate version of Heartbeat, the House version has been assigned to committee (House Health) and the committee chairman, Rep. Derrick Merrin (R-Waterville) has marked the bill for sponsor testimony from Representatives Ron Hood and Candice Keller on Tuesday, Feb. 26 beginning at 11:00 a.m. This action can mean that the timeline for finishing Heartbeat through both chambers can be shortened, and get the measure to Governor Mike DeWine for his signature prior to the Easter break.
3. Senate Bill 27- Another significant pro-life measure that RTLACO is pleased to be working on is the bill to ensure humane disposal of fetal remains from abortion. Senator Joe Uecker’s bill would require either burial or individual cremation of the remains of the unborn victims of abortion, with the mother being given the option to choose, and should she not choose, it would require abortion providers to ensure that each set of remains is properly accounted for and delivered to a funeral home or crematoria for humane and respectful interment. The Senate Health Committee has scheduled this bill for sponsor testimony from Senator Uecker on Tuesday (alongside the Heartbeat bill hearing).
4. House Bill 60- Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Dayton) and Rep. Brigid Kelly’s (D-Cincinnati) bill to exempt infant and toddler diapers from the state sales tax will be having its second hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster). This is a proponent hearing. This bill can be helpful to pregnancy care centers that provide diapers for new mothers, as it will allow for more product to be purchased, or as an encouragement for donors to provide more diapers for the pro-life material assistance programs.
5. In a surprise announcement, Senator Brian Hill of Zanesville, appointed to the Senate in December, has notified Senate President Larry Obhof that he has accepted a position in the private sector and will be relinquishing his 20th Senate District seat at the end of March. This will set up another Senate screening committee to accept applications and recommend a candidate to the Senate Republican caucus for the appointment. Current House members Ron Hood of Ashville and Tim Schaffer of Lancaster have their House districts within the 20th Senate district, and are anticipated to screen for the appointment.
Treasurer of State Robert Sprague
A Republican and former four-term House member from Findlay, Sprague is Ohio’s 49th Treasurer of State where he oversees the state’s investment and debt portfolios, domestic & international custody portfolios, and annual cash movements and deposits. Sprague is succeeding pro-life champion Josh Mandel in the office. Sprague, a consistent pro-life vote in eight years in the House, has raised concerns among a number of pro-life activists due to his hiring and continued employment of former Senator Bill Beagle, who was the vote that caused the Heartbeat legislation to be killed at the close of the 132nd Assembly.
Senator Rob McColley(R)
McColley, from Napoleon, represents the 1st Senate District (Auglaize (part), Defiance, Fulton (part), Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan (part), Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams). Senator McColley has been a consistent pro-life vote in both the House and Senate, and is a co-sponsor of SB 23, the Senate Heartbeat bill.
Representative Jamie Callender (R)
Callender, from Concord, is returning for a second cycle in the House, having served prior in the early 2000’s. He has the Public Utilities Committee chairmanship and sits on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Callender has co-sponsored HB 68, the House version of the Heartbeat bill.
Representative Rick Carfagna (R)
Carfagna, representing the 68th House District (Franklin (part), Delaware (part), Knox County), is in his second term in the House. A former township trustee, Carfagna is chairing the House Finance Higher Education subcommittee. Carfagna is notable for having voted against the Heartbeat bill three times (House passage, concurrence with Senate amendments, and override vote on former Governor John Kasich’s veto), although he voted in favor of both the Down’s Syndrome ban (HB 214) and the Dismemberment Abortion ban (SB 145) during the 132nd General Assembly.
Representative Sara Carruthers (R)
A first-term member from Butler County’s 51st District, Carruthers, of Hamilton, replaces former Rep. Wes Retherford. She has been assigned to the House Finance, House Health and House Primary and Secondary Education Committees, and is a co-sponsor on the House version of the Heartbeat bill. She has not cast votes on pro-life issues to this point.