The Ohio House has recently passed a number of bills aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence, children and animals, as well as our state's treasured historical sites. These groups are very different, but as lawmakers, we have the responsibility to ensure each of them have the resources they need to thrive and protect them from unjust manipulation or harm whenever possible.
One of the bills passed addresses the obstacles many victims of domestic violence face with government assistance, as well as workplace and lease agreements. Domestic violence is an issue for many families today, and often it has an impact on the way the victim is treated by the community.
House Bill 167 protects domestic violence victims from being charged for assistance they receive as well as suffering from discrimination in the workplace and in landlord-tenant agreements. The bill allows for unpaid leave for victims of domestic violence with proper documentation. The legislation also protects the employee from discipline if a disruption occurs in the workplace at no fault of the employee.
Finally, the bill bars landlords from discriminating against a domestic violence victim when the victim is leaving an existing lease, signing a new lease or renewing a previous lease.
I voted "yes" on House Bill 167 as it passed out of the House. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 75 allows taxpayers to contribute a portion of their income tax refund to the Ohio Historical Society. The Ohio Historical Society has felt the sting of a 45 percent reduction in revenue in the last two years. The bill adds a tax check-off in order to offset the reduced revenue at no cost to the state. The Ohio Historical Society would distribute the money to local history and preservation groups through a competitive matching grant program.
House Bill 75 also requires the Director of the Ohio Historical Society to submit a report detailing how the check-off money was spent. Currently, you can donate a portion of your refund to three programs: the Natural Areas and Preserves Fund, the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund, and the Military Injury Relief Fund. Adding a provision to include our historical sites to the programs you can donate to ensures that we can preserve the rich history of Ohio. Preserving our historic sites also promotes tourism and engenders economic activity.
I voted "yes" on House Bill 75 as it passed out of the House by an overwhelming majority. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
House Bill 96 protects innocent children and animals from being poisoned by engine coolant or antifreeze-products found in many home garages. The bill requires the inclusion of a bittering agent in the product to remove the tempting flavor of the liquid. We can easily avoid the countless tragedies caused by antifreeze poisoning by enacting this legislation.
The legislation would not take effect until January of 2011.
I voted "yes" on HB 96 as it passed out of the House. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.