RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO
Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
April 26, 2019
The legislature has been on a spring break for the previous two weeks, but we are gearing up for the May Legislative push before the finalization of the State Budget Bill.
NEWS AND VIEWS
1. Lawsuit watch: It has now been 15 days since the signing of the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection law, meaning only 75 days until the law takes effect. The ACLU has promised to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law on behalf of Preterm of Cleveland and Women's Med Center of Kettering (both privately-owned abortion mills), but as of this writing, have not delivered on the promise. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is fully ready to defend Ohio's law, the strongest pro-life law in the nation, against the challenge.
2. The California Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay of the legal actions against pro-life journalist David Daleiden and his associate Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress. Liberty Counsel (Merritt's attorneys) is seeking the recusal of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra from prosecuting the pair due to a serious conflict of interest related to Becerra's public support of and receipt of significant campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood, the plaintiffs in the case. The Court has not set a limit on the duration of the stay, pending review of the motion.
3. The House of Representatives is hiring, sort of. This week, the House learned it will need to fill the seat of Representative Steven Arndt of Port Clinton (89th District) who announced his resignation from the chamber effective July 31st. He plans to retire from service. House Speaker Larry Householder has announced a screening panel and will be accepting applications from candidates from Erie and Ottawa Counties in the district. The deadline is June 3rd.
4. Another screening panel has been convened by House Speaker Householder, as on Thursday Representative Sarah LaTourette also announced her resignation from the 76th District Seat in Geauga County, effective May 5th. She is leaving due to an appointment by Governor Mike DeWine to head up the Governor's Family and Children First Council, a coordinating council of a number of state agencies which work on children's issues. The screenings for this seat will be on June 3rd, with applications from candidates due on May 30th.
A new "Children's Caucus" is being formed in the Legislature. This group will be bi-partisan, and co-chair Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Dayton) announced its formation. Lehner states the goal of the caucus is, "Moving the needle on indicators of well-being through public policy and making lasting differences in kids' lives is our top priority, and I believe we have a plan to do just that." The first meeting of this new caucus is Tuesday. It remains to be seen what specific initiative or legislation will be promoted by this group.
Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda
Dorothy Pelanda was appointed as the 39th Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture by Governor Mike DeWine. She is the first woman to serve as Director in the Department's history. Her great-great-great uncle, Gideon Liggett, served eight years on the Ohio Board of Agriculture (the precursor to ODA) in the early 1900s. Holding degrees from Miami University, and the University of Akron School Of Law, she has practiced law in her own private practice for nearly 30 years. Pelanda was previously appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2011. She served in roles as Majority Whip and House Majority Floor Leader prior to leaving office at the end of 2018 due to term limits.
Senator Cecil Thomas (D)
Cecil Thomas, of Hamilton County's 9th
Senate District, is a retired Cincinnati Police officer and former City Council member. He serves in the Senate as the Assistant Minority Leader (second leadership position in the minority caucus). At one point early in his state legislative career, Thomas held pro-life endorsements when running for state office the first time, but those were rescinded upon his votes in the Legislature in favor of pro-abortion positions, which he continues to hold.
Representative James Hoops (R)
On his second stint as a legislator, Representative Hoops of the 81st
House District previously served in the chamber from 1999-2006. Hoops and his family live in Napoleon, and he is a vice-president at Northwest State Community College. He chairs the Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources subcommittee of the House Finance Committee. He notes as community activities involvement with Henry County Right to Life and the Henry County Gideon's. Hoops' record shows he votes for pro-life measures.
Representative Stephanie Howse (D)
The third-term Representative from Cleveland's 11th
District formerly served on Cleveland City Council and is an executive committee member of the Cleveland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Howse, the ranking minority member on the House Aging and Long-Term Care Committee has been an outspoken abortion advocate and offered an amendment during the debate on the Heartbeat Law in the House to remove African-American women (and their unborn children) from the protections of the law, which was rejected by the House.
Representative Catherine Ingram (D)
Ingram, serving in her second term representing Cincinnati's 32nd
House District, serves as the ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. A realtor by vocation, Ingram served on the Cincinnati Board of Education prior to being elected to the Legislature. Her voting record has been consistently pro-abortion during her tenure.