This week was another heavy schedule for members of the General Assembly. However, we saw no movement on key pieces of legislation, such as Senator Joe Uecker’s (R-Miami Township) Senate Bill 28, which would create standards to define the “humane” disposal of aborted babies’ bodies; or Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) and Sarah LaTourette’s (R-Chagrin Falls) House Bill 428, a bill to protect free speech for children in schools. We hold out hope that these and other bills will be voted on before the summer break. Meanwhile, you will be seeing some exciting new pieces of legislation in the upcoming weeks that we are working on, so please stay tuned!
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK
MARIJUANA DISPENSING PROCESS FRAUGHT WITH FURTHER CONTROVERSY
Ohio continues to struggle to implement its dangerous and illegal marijuana dispensing program. This week, Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) introduces Senate Bill 264 which would require the state auditor’s office to audit the scoring and licensing process for the upcoming marijuana-dispensing program throughout Ohio. Under the bill, the Auditor would have 30 days to do the audit and the Ohio Department of Commerce would have 30 days to either implement the recommendations or explain to the General Assembly why they cannot implement them.
Ohio’s process of systematically dispensing marijuana has been a mess since the beginning. So far, there are two major lawsuits and the auditor’s office has already found problems that can’t be fixed in the time available. Most cities have imposed moratoriums and we encourage you to make sure your city disallows dispensing of this dangerous and illegal drug.
Senator Coley was quoted as saying of his legislation, “I think by doing this, we can remove any clouds of suspicion or clouds of impropriety or suggestion or innuendo of impropriety, we can remove that from the medical marijuana process.”
We have been highly skeptical of marijuana legislation from the beginning. First, the state has shown an inability to control prescription drugs, as demonstrated by the “pill mill” crisis. Another doctor was indicted just this week on 272 charges of running a pill mill. Secondly, the state has been unable to control illicit drugs. The opioid epidemic is crushing our state—and more so than most other states.
Meanwhile, we have no confidence that the hundreds of millions of dollars that poured into Ohio related to dispensing marijuana were spent here to improve people’s health. As the Ohio Pharmacist Association testified on this bill, all the medical benefits of marijuana were already available in Ohio before this bill was considered and the bill did not require a pharmacist to issue the drugs. We take the pharmacist’s word for it that this bill should never have passed in the first place. Because of this bill’s passage, we will soon have an effectively-recreational, federally-illegal, Schedule 1 narcotic available on our streets.
- We are praying for the people of Florida, in the wake of the recent school shooting there. Representative Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) announced this week that he plans to introduce legislation to create a comprehensive plan to increase school safety.
- Our team at CCV had a very productive meeting with a major business organization about House Bill 160, a bill that would give special litigation rights to people who identify or are perceived as identifying with their sexual orientation or gender identity. We had a great discussion about the way the bill exposes small businesses to fraudulent and predatory law suits and expressed our disappointment that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce did not appreciate the gravity of these problems before endorsing the bill.
- Voter registration for the May 8th primary election is due by April 9th. Click here to register or update your registration.
- Governor John Kasich will be giving his State of the State speech from Westerville, OH on March 6th at 7:00 pm. You can watch the speech at www.ohiochannel.org. You can apply for tickets here. We’ll be watching and hoping the Governor takes the opportunity to discuss the need to protect the unborn, families, and religious freedom in Ohio.
Please reach out to your member of the General Assembly to speak your mind about these bills and others that you care about. You can find your member here.