FRIDAY 5 - June 12, 2020
Barry Sheets
Legislative Consultant
June 12, 2020

The Assembly is rapidly moving towards trying to adjourn for
the summer (and campaigning for the fall),
and bills are moving and being amended at a frantic pace. 

1. News that is just breaking as this week’s Friday 5 is being written
Dr. Amy Acton (Governor Mike DeWine’s Director of the Ohio Department of Health), abruptly announced her immediate resignation  from the position during their regular 2:00 p.m. news conference on Thursday.  Acton, who has been under fire for withholding information regarding the true extent and impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, will become a “chief advisor” on healthcare to Governor DeWine.  This means that Acton will still be heavily influencing the DeWine/Husted Administration’s position on the matter, but won’t be directly responsible for issuing the orders . That task will fall to current ODH legal counsel Lance Himes, who becomes the interim director until Governor DeWine moves to make the interim appointment permanent, or nominates another person to take the helm at the Ohio Health Department. I firmly believe this time around, much closer scrutiny will be placed by the Legislature on whoever becomes DeWine’s second nominee for the position.
2. Speaking of dealing with the wake of the orders from the Health Director,  the Assembly was busy this week with a number of measures moving through the chambers, most having to deal with the effects of the COVID crisis on schools and businesses.  House Bill 624 , which passed the House,  would require transparency in the way data regarding a pandemic is reported House Bill 164,  a  Bill to Secure Religious Liberty for students in grades K-12 , became a vehicle in the Senate for education-centered fixes to protect students from being penalized because of school shut-downs, and was sent to Governor DeWine with
a House concurrence vote on the Senate amendments. 
3. A major focus at the Statehouse this week was on a measure,  Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 ,   which would declare racism to be a public health crisis . Perhaps during these hearings, someone will focus on yet another way racism has been institutionalized in our culture:
4. Be careful what you wish for:  As many governmental and health leaders are hoping for a “magic bullet” against COVID in the form of a as-yet-to-be-developed vaccine, some are already pushing to make this chimerical chemical concoction  (which could well include aborted fetal cells or tissue)  mandatory!  

5.  House Bill 679    to Expand Telemedicine  was reported from the House Insurance Committee this week,  but without language that would protect against the expansion of abortion through telemedicine.  The bill was voted
on the House floor, again without those safeguards, and was forwarded to the Senate. As the Senate will be in session through the end of June, the effort will
be made to get these protections inserted in the Senate version of the bill.


Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles
of key policymakers and committees. 
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit—Judge Julia Smith Gibbons . Judge Gibbons was the first judged nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals in 2001. Gibbons was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 95-0 on July 29, 2002 receiving her commission on July 31, 2002. Judge Gibbons grew up in Tennessee, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1972 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1975. She was in private practice from 1976 to 1979 before joining then-Governor Lamar Alexander's staff as a legal advisor in 1979. In 1981, she left the Governor's staff to become a state trial judge in Tennessee. She was nominated in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee and confirmed in June 1983.
Ohio House of Representatives, 59 th  House District—Rep. Alessandro Cutrona— The newest appointee to the Ohio House, Rep. Alessandro “Al” Cutrona was chosen by the House Republican Caucus to fill the unexpired term of the late Rep. Don Manning, who passed away of a heart condition in March. Rep. Cutrona, who  just recently registered as a Republican  after only voting in general elections since 2008, is an Attorney in private practice with the law firm of Amourgis & Associates. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Northeastern Ohio Infectious Disease Association, a medical specialty practice run by his father, Dr. Anthony Cutrona. Rep. Cutrona earned a Degree in Political Science and History from Youngstown State University and his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve School of Law. Cutrona has yet to sponsor any legislation nor has he been assigned to sit on any House committees as of this writing.
Joint Committees of the Legislature
Conference Committees —These special committees, which are empaneled when there is a difference between the House and the Senate over how the language of a particular bill should look before the measure is sent to the Governor for review, have a very limited duration of usually between one day and a week at most. Normally, a Committee of Conference has three House conferees and three Senate conferees (usually the chairman of the committees which heard the bill, the vice chairman and the ranking minority member of those committees). 
So far during the 133 rd  General Assembly, nine different Conference Committees have been created:
HB 166 —State Budget Bill
HB 2 —Tech Credentialing Programs
HB 276 —Omnibus Honorary Road naming legislation
HB 62 —State Transportation Budget (which included the gas tax increase)
HB 80 —Bureau of Workers Compensation Budget bill  
HB 9 —Student Degree completion and modification of Educational Choice Scholarship Program
SB 1 —Reduce Regulatory Restrictions; Limiting Power of Health Director in pandemics.   
SB 7 —Occupational Licensing for military members and spouses
SB 89 —Career-Tech Education; modification of Educational Choice Scholarship Program
SB 9 —Health Plan Claim Information Releases.
Cleveland Right to Life is a founding member of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio. 

The Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio is an association of metropolitan, county, and local pro-life organizations. RTLACO focuses on developing and strengthening local grass roots pro-life leadership, true representative governing for the statewide organization, a commitment to a consistent and holistic pro-life standard to evaluate both policies and elected officials/candidates, and collaborative engagement to develop priorities for action.