Posts Tagged 'Women'

Members of Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus Urges Congress to Pass Paycheck Fairness Act

State Rep. Nancy Garland, Chair of the Women’s Caucus and other members of The Ohio House Women’s Democratic Caucus announced they will soon be introducing a resolution to urge Congress to take immediate action on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“Throughout our history women have fought hard to achieve equality in education, voting rights and employment.  Our progress has not come easy and although we have made substantial gains, discrimination persists,” said Rep. Garland.

The Paycheck Fairness Act was originally introduced by Democratic Senator Barbra Mikulski of Maryland along with several other co-sponsors.  The legislation seeks to strengthen enforcement of regulations against sexual discrimination with regards to pay.  The bill amends sections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and requires employers to use qualifications such as education, training, and work experience to determine pay grades.

Rep. Garland added, “The facts are clear, women are disproportionately paid less than their male counterparts and this discrepancy is unfair.  Equality among all citizens is a fundamental aspect of a strong democratic society.  This is pure common sense; we must act now and do what we can to end discrimination in all forms.”

Women in the United States currently make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job.  This legislation, if enacted by Congress, would allow women to seek punitive damages if evidence is found of broad differences between the compensation of male and female workers at a company.  This bill would also bar companies from retaliation against women who seek to find out if there is pay disparities between them and their male counterparts.

The legislation was blocked along party lines from passing the Senate on June 5th.  It is possible that the bill could be reintroduced at a later time.

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MUST READ: House Republican’s Sneak Attack on Women and Families

While House Democrats are working to create and maintain good paying jobs through programs focused on education like our Kids and Communities First Fund, just introduced, Republicans continue their partisan agenda attacking women’s rights, workers’ rights and voter’s rights.  Their effort to defund Planned Parenthood is just the latest example. Excerpts of an article by the Huffington Post are below:

“The GOP may insist that there is no war on women, but the campaign against Planned Parenthood, which provides health care to one in five American women each year, is gaining ground in the Midwest.

“Republican state representatives in Ohio slipped an amendment into the state’s substitute budget bill on Tuesday that puts family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood at the bottom of funding priorities and blocks them from receiving funding for cancer screenings and HIV and domestic violence services.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood through Ohio’s budget bill is a way for GOP lawmakers to pass the measure without having to vote on a separate bill, which would likely cause controversy. The Planned Parenthood amendment, introduced by Republicans in the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, puts family planning clinics that provide abortions in the bottom tier of priority for Title X funds, making it more likely that the state will run out of money before it can provide any funding to Planned Parenthood.

“The amendment further prohibits federal funds from the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Violence Against Women Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act and the Infertility Prevention Project from going to Planned Parenthood or any other family planning clinic that provides abortions.

“The GOP-controlled House is expected to vote on the budget bill next week and pass it, with the amendment attached.

“’This House seems to stop at nothing to attack women and their reproductive rights, and in this case, their access to basic health care and cancer screenings,’ State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), a member of the House Finance Committee, told HuffPost. ‘It’s just a very tough legislature to be a part of.’

“Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio said that of its 37 health centers, only three perform abortions, and none of the $1.7 million it receives in federal funding annually is used to pay for abortions. Opponents of the amendment are concerned that many of the rural and low-income women in Ohio who rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for basic health and family planning services will not have any nearby alternative if Planned Parenthood is stripped of funding.

“Republicans on the Finance Committee, however, ‘seem to be burying their head in the sand on that issue,’ Clyde said. ‘We’ve heard some pretty clear testimony that the services are not available — there’s already wait times, not enough doctors out there offering these services — but the Republicans seem to think that other types of health centers can pick up all of the extra demand and absorb all of these patients. I think that is completely false.’

“House Finance Chairman Rep. Ron Amstut (R-Wooster) and state Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), who are pushing the amendment, did not respond to calls for comment.

…”

Read the full article here.

Republican Budget Cuts Responsible for More than 700 Teacher Layoffs this Week Alone

State Representatives Denise Driehaus and Mike Foley urged the Republican legislature and Gov. Kasich to take a serious look at the Kids and Communities First Fund announced by House Democrats this week.  The fund would help offset historically deep budget cuts after the layoff of more than 700 teachers that was disclosed over the course of two days.

Cleveland City Schools announced that 508 teaching positions would be lost at the end of this year while another 200 teachers take retirement packages.  The district will also shorten the school day and cut music and arts programs.  These layoffs come even as the district will place a $65 million levy on the ballot in the fall to close the budget hole created by the $59 million the district will lose due to state budget cuts. Additionally, the Cleveland Teachers Union agreed to a 5.6 – 6 percent pay cut for next year.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/17/12]

“These kinds of cuts will only continue statewide if we do not take action to curb Gov. Kasich’s massive budget cuts.  This week’s news is incredibly disheartening,” said Rep. Foley. “While unemployment rates slowly go down more than 700 teachers were laid off this week in two of the state’s largest districts.”

Cincinnati City Schools, the highest ranked urban district in the state, announced 237 teacher layoffs this week due to $43 million dollars in budget cuts.  The district says the layoffs are due to funding cuts. Cincinnati City Schools faces a projected deficit of more than $53 million ($53,868,502) in fiscal year 2013 and a frightening $115 million ($115,099,388) in fiscal year 2014.  Julie Sellers, President of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers was quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer as saying, “This year already most of our grievances were about overloaded classrooms…” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/18/12]

“These layoffs will not only hurt our children’s education and future, they will hurt the families of those losing jobs, predominantly women,” said Rep. Driehaus. “Gov. Kasich’s policies are bad for economic development and bad for women.  Our communities deserve better, but unfortunately we’re seeing that women and families are being disproportionally affected. I urge my Republican colleagues and Gov. Kasich to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for our children and their teachers by passing the Kids and Communities First Fund.”

This week, House Democrats announced the Kids and Communities First Fund will be offered as an amendment to Gov. Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review (HB 487).  This fund will help keep teachers in the classroom and cops and firefighters on the streets in communities all across Ohio. Additionally, this fund will help curb the growing need for local tax levies due to state budget cuts and provide relief for local property taxpayers. The fund will make up to $400 million available this year from surplus revenue (currently $265 million), a portion of the Budget Stabilization Fund ($120 million), and $15 million from Gov. Kasich’s proposed severance tax increase.  The fund would be replenished after fiscal year 2013 by increased severance tax revenue.

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Rep. Clyde Disappointed with Disrespectful Comments by Ohio Right to Life

As an Ohio Right to Life advocate was testifying in the ongoing Finance Committee hearings on the Mid-Biennial Budget Review (HB 497), which now includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood, State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) was taken aback by the inappropriate comments made about young women. 

During her testimony before the committee, the Ohio Right to Life advocate stated, “We know why Planned Parenthood clinics are in places like Kent.”  The statement was made as if there is something wrong with locating a Planned Parenthood clinic near a college campus, where thousands of young women would be in proximity to the clinic’s important, life-saving services.  That sentiment was expressed further during questions and answers.    

“These insinuating comments are completely out of line and disrespectful to young women around this state,” said Rep. Clyde.  “Many college students are away from home, do not have a primary care physician on campus, and are not insured or are out of their network while away at school.  They often do not have the financial means to go elsewhere for these very basic and private healthcare needs such as annual pap smears.”

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Kent does not perform abortions.  However, like all Planned Parenthood clinics, they provide basic preventative health services for thousands of women and men.  If Ohio follows through with this attempt to defund stand-alone family planning clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, we risk losing millions in federal funding putting women’s health at great risk.  Recently, Texas lost all federal family planning funding, which totaled $39 million last year, for blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving any state or federal funding.  Federal law already prohibits funding for abortion services.

During Rep. Clyde’s questions, Committee Chairman Ron Amstuz abruptly cut off all questioning, calling this an “emotional” issue for some members of the committee and ended the hearing. 

“This war on women is offensive and degrading.  This is not simply a women’s issue or an issue about a women’s choice, this is a family issue,” said Rep. Clyde.  “Many mothers depend on services such as cancer screenings that Planned Parenthood provides.  If we take these critical services away, we put these families at risk of losing a mother, a daughter, grandmother or aunt.  That is simply unacceptable.”

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Leader Budish Praises President Obama’s Efforts to Re-build the Economy

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish released the following statement on President Obama’s visit to Lorain County Community College in Elyria:

“I welcome President Obama to Ohio today to see his economic policies at work, rebuilding our economy and creating jobs.  Lorain County Community College is a great example of a higher education leader preparing working and middle class Ohioans for the jobs of today and the future in manufacturing, clean energy production and technology.

“While President Obama and Democrats here in Ohio are working to create and maintain good paying jobs through programs focused on education like our Kids and Communities First Fund, just introduced, Republicans continue their partisan agenda attacking women’s rights, workers’ rights and voter’s rights.  Their effort to defund Planned Parenthood is just the latest example. This overreaching partisan agenda only continues to demonstrate the clear difference in priorities between President Obama and the Republican majorities in the Ohio House and in Washington.”

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Ohio Summit on Women and HIV/AIDS Video Now Available Online

The Ohio Summit on Women and HIV/AIDS, led by State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) was held on March 15, 2012, and is now available to watch online via the Ohio Channel’s website. The summit was meant to build strategic connections to battle this critical women’s health issue. Rep. Antonio is proud to announce that the event was a great success.

HIV/AIDS is increasingly becoming a “women’s epidemic” in the United States. Some women, especially those living in poverty or at-risk situations, such as domestic violence or human trafficking, are more likely to face barriers in accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care. The Summit provided an opportunity to bring together professionals from women serving organizations around Ohio. Professionals who work in human services fields such as social work, health education, mental health and chemical dependency attended.

We had attendees from various organizations in Ohio and some from across the country. We also had 12 speakers present during the event.  There was an abundance of educational materials and business cards exchanged. We shared personal stories along with informational ways to spread awareness and how to work within human service fields. Since the summit, already new collaborations have been made.

Women’s Caucus Calls for Focus on Policies to Support Women & Families

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus today held a press conference to discuss several pieces of legislation focused on advancing rights and opportunities in all aspects of women’s lives.

“Women are a majority of the population and can make a difference when we unite behind legislation that will improve lives of women and families,” said State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Women’s History Month is a great time to refocus our attention on common-sense policies designed to support, benefit and encourage the advancement of women here in Ohio.”

Several bills recently introduced by members of the Women’s Caucus help ensure all women have access to quality healthcare, including HB 419, the CARE Act; HB 281, the Prevention First Act; and HB 412, to establish health insurance exchanges in Ohio. All three bills were introduced by State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood).

“We must continue to support Ohio women’s right to access basic healthcare and accurate information regarding their healthcare decisions,” Rep. Antonio said. “These rights should not be legislated away nor used as a political football. Women’s lives hang in the balance.”

Members of Women’s Caucus have also introduced legislation to protect Ohio women and families from violations of their right to safety and security. HB 262, sponsored by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), aims to stop human sex trafficking in Ohio and to protect young women and girls from being forced into sexual slavery.

“Human trafficking victims are more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and are more likely to suffer from mental illness,” Rep. Fedor said. “And the average trafficking victim wants to leave prostitution but can’t.”

A woman’s right to security also extends to security in her own home. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is cosponsoring HB 103, a bill to protect victims of domestic violence by keeping their home addresses confidential. Additionally, State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) is cosponsoring HB 105, legislation to protect and support domestic violence victims by guaranteeing their rights to safety at home and at work.

“Survivors of domestic violence deserve to live safe from their abusers. I truly hope Ohio can join 37 other states by enacting this important Address Confidentiality Program legislation,” said Rep. Clyde.

“Victims’ advocates have said that stability in housing and employment are the largest hurdles in keeping their lives together, staying safe and protecting their children,” said Rep. Driehaus. “We need to empower victims so they know it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for time off, it’s okay to ask for new locks, and it’s okay to leave when their safety or their children’s safety are at risk.”

In addition to discussing the many pieces of women-focused legislation, the members of the Women’s Caucus reinforced their commitment to creating good-paying, long-term jobs for Ohio’s women through job creation measures such as the Local Government Jobs Fund and the Small Business Working Capital Loan Program.


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