Please note our office location
Same address - 139 Bell Street in Chagrin.   
Office numbers are 204 and 206 (FIRST FLOOR).

Patriots for Change 
2014 Officers 


Judy Kramer-President

Ray Kolcaba-Vice President

Kathy Kolcaba-Treasurer

Debi Thomas-Secretary

Steering Committee  and   Committee Chairs



Conversation on "The Story of Stuff
February 22nd 10 AM  - noon
Chagrin Falls Library


Patriots' Priority: Sustainability  In a 20 minute video, Annie Leonard takes us through problems with the origin, production, consumption, and discarding of goods (stuff). She then briefly mentions an alternative to the status quo. The video will be followed by a round table discussion of the video.        Ray Kolcaba  


Race to the Top, Are Our Public Schools in Danger?

 March 8th from 10 - noon

Hamlet Hills Retirement Community Club House

324 Hamlet Hills Drive


Speakers will include:

Representative Mike Foley

State Representative from Brook Park


Lois Romanoff

 Lois is a retired school psychologist from both public and private schools.

She is a human right activist and is on the

Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee's Economic Justice
and Empowerment Committee.
Sponsored by Patriots for Change


March 29th from 10 – noon

Details to follow


10th Anniversary Party

April 10th

Details to follow


Sustainability Group Discussion

 Call for interested participants for our 4th topic of discussion!

Book Title:  Discovering a Sense of Place

Dates:  Thursdays Mar 6-13-20-27, April 3 (Skip April 10), 17-24

Time:  6:00-8:00 p.m. for a potluck at group members who volunteer their homes followed by discussion of weekly assigned chapter.

Chapter Headings:  A Sense of Place; Responsibility to Place; Knowing Your Bioregion; Living in Place; Mapping Your Place; Building Local Community; Empowerment

Cost:  $27 for book, depending on number of participants, includes shipping. (Possible return of a dollar or two when shipping is computed.)  No additional charge.

Limit:  First 10 people who sign up and pay!

Contact:  Ellen Hunt, coordinator at 440-247-8782,  Please mail or drop off check through mail slot at 56 E. Orange St., Chagrin Falls, 44022

Deadline:  February 17 for books to be ordered and received for first class. 


  2014 Membership Meeting Reports    

Please contact the chair(s) of the committee(s) you would like work on



Finance / Economy  - Fran Dryer

 As someone who is new to this position I would like to expand our view and look into both the fiscal and monetary policies that affect our lives.  I plan to add relevant articles to the Patriots for Change Facebook site.  Please take a look at the site to see if there is an article that interests you on this subject. 

The following was submitted by Ed Fire.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2010.  It contains the most significant changes to financial regulation since the Great Depression of the 1930's.  Many involved in the finance industry have resisted the law strenuously.

In July, 2012 opponents of the law filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Dodd-Frank.  

In August, 2013 a Federal District judge dismissed the lawsuit.  Some plaintiffs now acknowledge that as a result of the judge's ruling, an appeal will be difficult to pursue, and that the consumer Protection Financial Bureau's ability to enforce the law has been strengthened.

At present Congress is conducting hearings on the implementation of Dodd-Frank.  Republicans appear to be emphasizing that the law places unreasonable burdens on community banks and credit unions.

The Volcker Rule refers to a part of the Dodd-Frank Act.  It restricts US banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments that do not benefit their customs.  Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Banking system, argued that such speculative activity played a key role in the financial crisis of 2007-2010.

The Volcker Rule is often referred to as a ban on "proprietary trading" by commercial banks whereby deposits are used to trade on the bank's own accounts.  Some exceptions to this ban were included in the Dodd-Frank Act.

The Volcker Rule's provisions were scheduled to be implemented as a part of Dodd-Frank in July 2012, but were delayed.  On December 13, 2013 the necessary agencies approved regulations implementing the Volcker Rule, and it was scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014.  However, as of December 30th the final Volcker Rule had still not been published in the Federal Register, and the agencies responsible for administering the Rule said they were evaluating several issues. 

We will look into the reinstatement of the Glass Steagall Act



Health Care  - Lynne Rustad

The amendments, passed under cover of the budget, are among the most restrictive in the country. As such, they invite legal challenges. The ACLU has already challenged the constitutionality of the restrictions noted below with **.

  •  No exception for rape, incest or mental health of the mother. Only a minority of the population (about 20%) believes there should be no exceptions to an abortion ban. This clause is particularly destructive to poor women who may be on Medicaid and are turned down because of ban on use of federal funds.
  • Redefinition of "pregnancy" as fertilization which abortion foes are now using to restrict access to contraception and family planning services.
  • Unnecessarily restrictive rules including "transfer agreements" for clinics performing abortion that can lead to the closure of clinics (four of fifteen have been closed in Ohio already).
  • Required scripts for providers that include requiring notification of women if a fetal heartbeat had been identified (with criminal charges for noncompliance).
  • Withdrawal of federal funding from Planned Parenthood (on which many women depend for a range of preventative health and family planning services) with redirection to "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" which misinform women and are ill equipped to deliver health care. (This is very unpopular with Ohio residents.) 

 HB 248 (the Heartbeat Bill), reintroduced in this session by Rep. Wachtman, imposes even more restrictions:

  •  Abortion would be banned as soon as heartbeat is detected (as early as 6 weeks) when many women are not even aware that they are pregnant. 
  • Abortion is banned even in cases of severe fetal abnormality.


Monitor implementation of the ACA and Medicaid Expansion, the latter favored by the Governor but fought by our extremely conservative legislature. Attempts to misinform citizens and derail implementation are likely.

  •  Stay informed, writing letters to the editor about your concerns, signing petitions you support and making advocacy calls and visits to your representatives to educate and inform them about your views are essential. 
  •  Replace the reactionary folks holding seats in Columbus and replace them with bright, progressive legislators who share many of your views and will fight for your interests. We have some excellent candidates this year. They need financial support to run successfully against candidates who are heavily funded by conservatives, and they will also need your volunteer efforts. Please contact me if you would like more information.


Fair Employment - Jim Ciocia


  • First, the right to work issue.  Early last year there was some talk about a right wing group preparing to circulate petitions to get a right to work measure on the ballot for the 2014 fall election.  Then that talk kind of died down. Speculation is that, this being an election year, the Republicans saw this as an issue that would draw out a lot of voters who oppose this measure.  The result being not only a defeat of this ballot issue but defeats for Republicans in the statewide races.  So the thinking came to be that they would wait until after the November elections and either introduce measures in the legislature or mount a campaign for a ballot issue to go before the voters in 2015.  


    But there is something else out there, something that could negate the need for any of this.  Several days ago the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Harris v. Quinn.  This involved unionized home care workers in Illinois.  The case came about when a small group of these workers who chose not to be in the union also objected to paying what are called fair share or agency fees.  These are legally permissible fees a union is allowed to charge non-union members of a bargaining unit for the services the union is nonetheless required by law to provide.  These workers claimed this was a violation of their First Amendment Rights.  Fair share or agency fees are a form of insurance premium.  Non-union workers obtain many of the benefits of union membership, such as representation in grievances and contract negotiations.  


    If the Supreme Court agrees that compelling the payment of these fees constitute a violation of the First Amendment, this will be a death knell for the labor movement and put another nail in the coffin of our democracy.  The practical effect will be for unions to lose substantial portions of the revenues they need to provide services and they will eventually fade from the scene.  Although this case involves public sector workers, it's hard to imagine that it would not apply to private sector unions as well.   

  • The second issue is an increase in the minimum wage.  On this issue we need to wait and see if Congress is going to do anything.  In the mean time I sign every petition that's sent to me and will continue to do so.  But, frankly, it's hard to imagine the House of Representatives even holding a vote on a minimum wage increase, let alone passing such a measure.  

Gun Violence Prevention  - Lori O'Neill -

Overview of gun violence prevention efforts:  State and federal levels

Federal Action

As most Patriots already know, the major push at the federal level to require background checks on most gun sales, failed in 2013.  The Manchin-Toomey bill, which would have required background checks on firearms purchased at gun shows and via the Internet, failed to garner enough votes in the US Senate to move to the House.  The failure of the bill killed any other efforts to address the issue of gun violence at the federal level.  Though President Obama mentioned gun violence during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Senators including Joe Manchin acknowledged there will be no action on gun violence legislation in 2014. 

State Action

All the action on our issue last year took place at the state level, with 109 laws passed that both loosened restrictions on firearms and a handful that strengthened laws on guns.  The breakdown is 70 laws that loosened restrictions and 39 that strengthened

Highlights include:

Most states that loosened restrictions focused on making concealed carry of weapons easier, or made records of CCW holders confidential.
  • New Jersey now requires proof of training before purchasing guns, requires mental health records be reported to NICS.
  • Maine made it illegal to possess firearms in public.

  • Colorado requires mental health records be reported to NICS; requires background checks on all gun sales, including private sales; prohibits the sales or possession of high capacity ammunition magazines.

  • Illinois and Delaware now require background checks on all gun sales, including private sales.

  • Connecticut requires background checks on all gun, ammunition and magazine sales, created a registry of gun offenders, assault weapons ban, prohibits high capacity ammunition magazines.

  • New York requires background checks on all gun sales; reduced magazine capacity to 7 bullets; strengthened a ban on assault weapons.

  • Maryland strengthened a ban on assault weapons, high capacity ammunition magazines; requires reporting of lost/stolen firearms.

  • California passed a lot of new restrictions and continues to have the strictest gun laws in the country.


There are several bills in the Ohio Statehouse related to firearms that require our action:

HB 203:  Ohio Stand Your Ground bill.  Would remove any requirement to retreat before using deadly force in any situation and in any place in public or private; would reduce the 12 hour training requirement to obtain a CCW permit to 4 hours; would allow residents of states other than Ohio to be granted CCW permits.  Passed the House in November 2013; not sure of status in the Senate. 

HB 231:  Would allow the carrying of concealed handguns in churches and houses of worship, school zones, daycare centers, government buildings that are currently prohibited areas.   There was a hearing in the House this past Wednesday, January 29 at which the turnout of those who oppose the bill was strong.  Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and other groups showed up in force and testified against the bill.  More hearings are coming.

HB 387:  Would remove any regulations for carrying a concealed handgun in Ohio. No training, no background checks for people who possess handguns and want to carry them in public.  Co-sponsored by State Rep. Matt Lynch.  See article on front page of Chagrin Valley Times this week for more information.

HB? :  Allows school districts that approve the carrying of guns by teachers, administrators, etc. to keep this information secret from parents and local law enforcement.  Removes any liability from schools in the event an armed educator discharges their weapon for any reason.  Passed the House on January 24. 

Take Action

There are a number of groups now active in Ohio working together on the issue of gun violence prevention.  If you want to get involved, please work with any or all of the following:  Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, God Not Guns.  Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) is a faith-based organization that has groups in many states under different names (parent organization is the Industrial Areas Foundation) that is also beginning to work on gun violence issues.  You can contact Susan Reis (formerly chair of NCJW gun committee) for more information.  However, members of the public are not permitted to attend GCC meetings unless you are a member.  Membership is confined to churches, temples, etc. that join and pay dues.  I would recommend working through Ohio Coalition, Moms Demand or God Not Guns.


Environmental Protection - Fred Welty

Hydraulic fracturing of horizontally drilled gas wells is our main concern.  This process is commonly known as fracking.

The effort to oppose fracking in Geauga County is carried on by the group Frack Free Geauga.  We meet about once each month.  If there is interest, I will try to have the place and times of the meetings posted on the P4C Website.  All are welcome.

We have succeeded in getting four townships and one village to pass resolutions in which we ask the General Assembly and the Governor of the State of Ohio to return local control over oil and gas wells to counties and townships.


  • We have held rallies and educational meetings which center on the dangers of fracking.  
  • Last April, we brought in a physician from out of the area who had made a study of health problems which can result from fracking.  Fifty people attended her talk. 
  • We have passed out leaflets to people going into meetings for landowners who might sign leases for their mineral rights.  We don't know if we have been successful in discouraging anyone from leasing their land for drilling, but we have at least drawn people's attention to potential problems from fracking.

Hopes for the Future depend on your support:

  • We need for you to help sign up landowners to deny firms doing seismic testing and gaining permission to collect data on their property.  This would require a lot of volunteers willing to go door-to-door.  We have very few people active in our group so some of the things which would like to do are not doable. 
  •  Please contact me with your ideas 


 Education - Lisa Ciocia

 These are my priorities for 2014:

  1. Promote new ways to fund our public schools in order to create a quality, safe, equal, education, upon which our country was founded.
  2. Promote access to preschool for all children.
  3. Stop the privatization of our public schools by government and big business and the indiscriminate use of vouchers.
  4. Promote just wages and bargaining rights for school staff and stop the targeting of teachers and teacher's unions.
  5. Hold charter and private schools to the same standards as public schools.
  6. Facts:

    774 million dollars of our tax money was deducted in 2012 in Ohio from traditional public schools and given to fund the many charters that have sprung up. More than 90% of these charters (that were actually rated) scored significantly lower on the Performance Index Score than the school that they had left.

    We know from research that the main influence on a child's ability to learn is her parent's income-66% (poverty). The teacher's influence is 15%. The Cleveland Schools poverty rate is close to 100% !! And yet teachers will be evaluated on how well their students do on tests!  A wrap around approach is needed and that begins with good prenatal care, preschool, parental involvement, good nutrition, etc.

    During discussion at the meeting there were strong feelings about the effects of poverty on learning.  Most of us were in favor of President Obama's desire for preschool for all 4 year olds; a need for Head Start (only 30% of states are funding it fully) and how the inequality of funding schools impacts on  the poor.   

    Anyway, both Bush and Obama, have led us in the wrong direction.  So, come learn more at our.....

    During discussion at the meeting it was agreed that we need to call/email legislators about the Bills Lori speaks of.  We need to attend rallies etc.  The GCC and NCJW coalition is working on making gun manufacturers (mostly in Europe) build in safeguards for guns used by police etc. They hope in this way there will


    Fair Elections 2014  Becky Thomas

     First the good news

     Presidential Commission makes suggestions for increasing ballot access:

    • Early Voting - Every state should adopt some form of early voting to reduce Election Day congestion

    • Online Registration - Online registration should be offered to reduce costs and errors

    • Better Technology- The federal government needs to set clear national standards for new electronic and optical machines and certify older machines.  The original ones are wearing out.

    • Poll Workers - States should bring in students and private sector workers and use fewer retirees.  Some states need to require more training (average is 2-4 hours).

    • Voting should not be difficult from one state to the other.  There need to be national standards.

    Second good news

    The Ohio Constitution Modernization Committee has set a goal for redistricting reform.  A 7 member panel including a supermajority with at least one member of the minority party would be needed to pass a plan. The commission would end the ability of one party to control redistricting. However, they have yet to accomplish anything and need your encouragement to begin.

    Watch for:

    • Inter-state program (Cross Check) to combat voter fraud.  It is a cross check program which aims to identify voters registered in more than one state.  Criticisms are that it includes false positives and may lead to Voter ID legislation.

    • McCutcheon v. FEC

      The Supreme Court could undermine the aggregate limits on how much money a donor can give to candidates each cycle and could also remove limits on the size of individual contributions to candidates altogether.


    • Move to Amend is gaining in strength (34 new affiliates this year). Is there interest in support of a local ballot initiative? Shall we join the national affiliate list?  

    • Support of Rootstrikers movement in N. Hampshire.  Even if Move to Amend becomes law or the grass roots movement pressures lawmakers to change finance practices, Rootstrikers believe that we still need campaign finance reform through citizen funded elections. Should we align ourselves with this group in Ohio?  

    • Continue our alliance with NOVA to register voters and lobby the Cuyahoga Board of Elections.  Continue to sign petitions/write letters and call legislators to uphold fair election practices.

     Write/email members of Modernization Committee to encourage them to work on redistricting.

    During discussion at the meeting it was suggested we support Move to Amend in local communities, and investigate other organizations who may want to join in a Rootstrikers "Hands Across Ohio" movement.

     We also heard from Kathy Flora, who told us Mentor has collected signaturefor a Move to Amend resolution which will be on that ballot soon.


    Immigration Report  Diana Nazelli

     The following is the most current status of Immigration Pathway to citizenship:

    • June 2013 Senate passed a broad bipartisan bill with a 13-year pathway to citizenship that included paying back taxes, passing English tests, criminal background checks.
    • Sept 2013 the House Dems dramatically offered a bill that got rid of the border security provision. The bill was backed by conservative Republicans and liberal Dems. The bill required the secretary of Homeland Security to develop a strategy to gain operational control of the border within 5 years and a plan to implement the strategy. The bill didn't get out of conference.

    • Nov 2013 Speaker Boehner announced there would be NO VOTE by the House on

      comprehensive immigration reform - and specifically no vote on the Senate bill passed in June by saying "I'll make it clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill." The House answer (bill) would not be "a special pathway to citizenship where people who are here lawfully get something that people who have worked for decades to immigrate lawfully, do not have" he said.


    • Enforce penalties for businesses that employ undocumented workers: Since 2010, the Obama administration audited more than 8,900 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, and the administration debarred 8,590 companies and individuals, they imposed more than $100.3 million dollars in financial sanctions - more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.

    • E-Verify, an Obama administration program that allows employers to electronically verify eligibility, has more than 416,000 companies participating, representing more the 1.2 million hiring sites. More than 20 million queries were processed through E-Verify in fiscal year 2012. (Total 2013 numbers were not available at the time of this report).

    • Green card for skilled workers:

      About 120,000 green cards are handed out each year, but less than half go to skilled workers, because spouses and dependent children use the rest. The immigration reform bill would increase the number of green cards. The City of Detroit is at the forefront of the green card movement hoping to fill abandoned housing stock with skilled workers.

    • Lift caps for undocumented family members of US citizens - DREAM Act:

      As currently proposed, an expedited road to citizenship would be available to those who entered the US before age 16, graduated from high school (or GED), and attended at least 2 years of college or served 4 years in the uniformed services. DREAMers would apply for RPI status, (Registered Provisional Immigrant) and, after 5 years, would be eligible to appl

      y for adjustment to LPR status (Lawful Permanent Resident.) They then would be able to apply immediately for citizenship.

    During discussion at the meeting it was clear that some of these ideas are dependent on Republican cooperation in an election year. So stay tuned for further progress and write your legislators to gain their support for fair immigration reform.

    Political Parties, Government Extremism:

    What's the Solution?  

    Judy Kramer, Marilyn Vance and a few other Patriots attended the first in a series of informative forums at the Unitarian Church on January 19th.


    State Senators LaRose and Smith were invited to discuss 

    Political Parties, Government Extremism: What's the Solution?  

    The moderator, John Begala from the Center for Community Solutions, did a great job of reminding us that acrimony and discord have been present in government since the founding of our country.  However, in the Federalist Papers, guidelines were stressed by Madison and Hamilton to include parameters for debate and lessons of moderation and caution to help curb extreme viewpoints and encourage compromise.  Maybe our legislators need to read the Federalist Papers!


    The two Senators, La Rose and Smith, certainly modeled  civil discourse as they discussed gerrymandering, term limits and money in politics.  I wish we could clone LaRose (a Republican) because he co-sponsored a bipartisan plan to correct the divisive political districts in Ohio.   He also is a member of the "No Labels" group, and prefers nonpartisan primaries.  

    Smith agreed with LaRose's plan for gerrymandering in principle, but stated that it is difficult for African Americans to win in diverse districts.  She also liked the idea of non-partisan primaries, but stressed there is too much money in politics.  LaRose thought the best way to handle money in politics was through transparency and disclosure.  They both agreed that term limits have hampered the effectiveness of legislators because they lack experience and a history of policy.  Consequently, they tend to rely too much on lobbyists for expertise.  Another fault of term limits is that relationships are disrupted.  There is no opportunity to develop respect and friendship with colleagues, even those on the other side of the aisle.


    Becky Thomas


    NOVA and P4C was at it again!


    his time we registered voters at community agencies and supermarkets, and for the first time - at Cleveland High Schools in partnership with the League of Women Voters.

    Fran Dryer ( our NOVA liaison) would like to thank the following people for their help:   Becky Thomas, Eileen Mandara, Ellen Hunt, Fred Welty, Joyce Studen, Margot Fire, Joyce Casey, Norma Platt, Diana Nazelli, Sheila N Markowitz, Judy Kramer, Ray Di Carlo, Diana Pearson.

    Fran Dryer and I (Becky) also attended a meeting with NOVA, an after the election wrap up.  Norm Robbins, who does so much research about voting and registration patterns in Cuyahoga County alerted us to these Bills which continue to disenfranchise voters:

    Restrictive Legislation Passed and Signed by Governor Kasich

    SB 47 - Made it more difficult for voters to repeal unpopular laws and to introduce their own citizen initiated laws.  Reduced the amount of time for petitioners to collect signatures needed to pass a referendum or initiative.  

    SB 193 - Limited the ability of minor parties and candidates to gain access to the ballot and retain party recognition.

    Pending Restrictive Legislation:

    SB 205 - Will throw out absentee ballots IF voters make minor errors such as transposing a number in a zip code or address or providing the current date instead of their birth date.  Prohibits Boards of Elections from sending out unsolicited absentee applications to voters and gives the legislature the exclusive right to authorize statewide mailing from year to year.

    SB 216 - Will reduce the time period for voters to provide required information to the BOE from 10 days to 3 days after the election.  Will also prevent trained poll workers from completing any portion of confusing provision ballot forms on behalf of the voter.

    SB 238 - Will reduce the time period for early voting from 35 days to 29 days and eliminate the ability for voters to conveniently register to vote and early vote at the same time.

    NOVA Volunteer Information
    NOVA had a very successful 2012 and 2013 where they registered over 3,000 people in under-served areas of Cuyahoga County, they have made a commitment to being proactive in continuing to register voters even in non-election years. NOVA is in the process of establishing relationships with social service agencies and schools to register voters on a regular basis throughout the year.
    Norman Robbins, former professor at Case Western Reserve, is the statistician for NOVA. Because of his expertise and leadership, NOVA has been asked to testify at the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County and in Columbus about numbers of absentee voters, voter ID policy, and how to better register voters in social service agencies.
    Below are the areas of concentration that they will need volunteers for.

    *Research: using our registration data for research purposes, using data from the Board of Elections (BOE) and other sources to show voting issues that need to be addressed. Norman Robbins has contacted members of his group on current priorities.

    * Advocacy: supporting positions on issues that increase voting access via letters to the editor, attending or speaking at BOE meetings, and joining other local or statewide group activities that support fairness in elections.

    * Database: creating a database with specific information on all our volunteers (app. 60) to effectively schedule them for appropriate registration times and locations, match them with new social service organizational opportunities, etc.

    * Relationship Expansion: Thanking people we're previously registered, asking if they have received confirmation from the BOE on their registration, how to keep registration current/moving, upcoming elections, etc.

    * Infrastructure:Organizing registration packets for volunteer pick-up and drop off at a new, convenient location, help with proofing and scanning the registrations for research purposes, and delivering the cards to the BOE.

    * Liaison w/neighborhood and social service organizations: establishing a relationship for ongoing registration of groups of 25-30. We'll be checking out some of these locations with our volunteers before our March meeting. 

    * Pearl has contacted the Cleveland School District; we are waiting for information on registration for this spring and next fall.

    NOVA which is a nonpartisan organization has a new president, Susan Alcorn, who is a trusted experienced colleague of Pearl Livingstone (founder of NOVA). 

    NOVA will continue to need your help to register voters or become more involved on other committees.     

    Please contact Fran Dryer  if you are interested.    
    Click here to visit NOVA's site.


    As requested by Patriot Members, Lynne Rustad has beautifully summarized the Women's Health Care Issue for you:

    Behind the Abortion Battle in Ohio

    The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, prohibited states from banning abortions before the fetus is viable (usually about 28 weeks). It provides exceptions for both the life and health - including the mental health - of the mother.

    To clarify a point often missed (or hidden), nearly 99 percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks. Later abortions often involve rare, severe fetal abnormalities (some of which can't be identified until the second trimester) and real threats to a woman's health. In many cases, women are facing the need to terminate a desired pregnancy, not an unwanted one.

    However, this past summer, as part of the budget bill, Governor Kasich signed into law, some of the most severe restrictions on abortion in the country.

    There are no exceptions for the mental health of a mother or for rape or incest. If an Ohio physician cannot prove in court that he performed a late-term abortion to save the woman's life he can be arrested.

    The Ohio bill bans abortions after the fetus is viable -- but doctors are required to start testing for viability at 20 weeks. If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the abortion provider must provide information about "natural" family planning options and adoption.

    Ultrasounds are mandatory for any woman seeking an abortion. This would close a "loophole" that allows abortion providers to forgo an ultrasound when it is medically unnecessary and may leave an opening for use of transvaginal ultrasound in first trimester.

    Rape Crisis Centers will lose their funding if they counsel rape victims that abortion is an option or refer them for an abortion. 

    Redefinition of Pregnancy: The scientific definition is the point at which a fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uterine lining. Ohio law declares that pregnancy begins at fertilization. If allowed to stand, this provision could be used to make contraceptives such as IUD and Plan B illegal.

    Physicians would be required  to:

    Inform women in writing of the presence of a fetal heartbeat and provide statistical likelihood the fetus could be carried to term. Failure to do so can carry up to six months in jail for the first violation and up to 18 months in jail for subsequent violations. Read more at

    *Give women medically disputed information about pain felt by fetuses and mention the debunked link between abortion and breast cancer.

    *Tell their patients how much personal income they would lose if they did not perform abortions.

    *Force a woman to listen to her ultrasound or, if she refuses, give her a conflict of interest disclaimer designed to reflect poorly on the physician.

    Planned Parenthood is essentially defunded, stripping about $2 million by moving PP providers to the bottom of the list in its distribution of federal family planning funds and redirecting TANF funding to right-wing "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" that often don't employ medical professionals, use conservative propaganda to try to dissuade women from abortions and do not provide comprehensive reproductive health care. This could leave up to 100,000 Ohio women without car

    Competitive bidding is eliminated to divert the funds to smaller, private entities that won't be able to handle the number of patients that Planned Parenthood can. 

    Clinics, in order to get a license, must have a Transfer Agreement with a local hospital to transfer patients in case of an emergency but public hospitals are barred from entering into those agreements and Catholic hospitals are unlikely to sign them. This can be used as an excuse to close clinics that have no way of complying. The Director of the State Department of Health, a political appointee, controls evaluation of clinic transfer agreements and waivers. No public facility will be used to perform or induce a non-therapeutic abortion.

    A requirement that abortion clinics be registered as ambulatory surgical centers may close some clinics because they don't have (or need) this registration. 

    Of interest, Governor Kasich appointed Ohio Right To Life President, Mike Gonidakis, to the State Medical Board.

    OH HB 248 the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" (the nation's most restrictive) has also been introduced by Reps, Christine Hagan (R) and Lynn Wachtman (R).

    It would ban all abortions once a heartbeat is detected (as early as six to seven weeks into pregnancy) when many women do not realize they are pregnant. It also lacks exceptions for victims of rape or incest or when medical judgement deems the abortion necessary because of fatal fetal anomalies. This billhas been referred to the Ohio House Health & Aging Committee (headed by Wachtman!).

     Lynne C. Rustad, Phd.

    Information on ALEC


    I recently attended a LWV meeting  that was led by the founder and executive director of Policy Matters Ohio.  Amy Hanauer presented information about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) a political action committee funded by conservative corporations and individuals to influence legislation.

    Ms. Hanauer suggested we watch a video on Bill Moyers program which explains the workings of this powerful group.  She also said that many legislators in Ohio are members of ALEC, so I am providing links to these two resources.  ALEC has worked hard to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act as well.  Even though the implementation of this law has been such a nightmare, it may be interesting to know some of the reasons it was hindered by ALEC in the months leading up to its online presence.  



    Here we go again. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, The Supremes have a case that could erode our democracy.


    Campaign Finance

    The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited money to shape the outcomes of elections is widely viewed as the high water mark in the justices' willingness to allow big money to influence elections. Yet, after the Court hands down its opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission - a case whose plaintiffs' include the Republican National Committee - Citizens United could look quaint.

    Although Citizens United permits unlimited donations to third-party groups such as SuperPACs which are ostensibly separate from candidates or political parties, the conservative justices have not yet struck a six-figure cap on total donations to candidates, political party committees and similar organizations. As the lower court explained in upholding this cap, "Eliminating the aggregate limits means an individual might, for example, give half-a-million dollars in a single check to a joint fundraising committee . . . because party committees may transfer unlimited amounts of money to other party committees of the same party, the half-a-million-dollar contribution might nevertheless find its way to a single committee's coffers." In other words, this case could conceivably allow billionaires to launder massive dollar donations to single candidates - who would no doubt feel very grateful to those billionaires should they win their election.

    -Becky Thomas

    Here are the sites I mentioned above:

    Click Here for Bill Moyers Programs

    Click Here for Legislators who are ALEC supporters

    Sites you might me interested in.

    Peace Action Cleveland

    Jobs with Justice

    You Street

    H.R. 676

    the federal government

    Jerry Gordon (retired representative of United Food and Commercial Workers Union) spoke about getting active. We need mass demonstrations like the ones in the past for union and civil rights We need to restore and expand the right to vote. The movement needs to be nonpartisan and non-electoral to be effective. We need to educate, organize and mobilize ALL PEOPLE who believe that our Voting Rights are being suppressed. We need to force Congress to over rule the Supreme Court decision.

    During the question/answer period people suggested that:

    • All states need to be included in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
    • That redistricting (gerrymandering) is a huge part of the problem
    • We need to educate people about ALEC, a groups of corporations who are funding voter suppression. Google and Facebook are included as well as the Koch brothers and EXXON
    • Social media needs to be used to reach young people
    • Local officials need to fight voter suppression
    • A local coalition of the people including ACLU, NAACP, AFL-CIO and NOVA, LWV, Peace Action, Patriots for Change etc. can make a difference
    • Working together, demonstrating and educating can help restore and expand voting rights across the nation

    Stay tuned to further action from this group.

    --Becky Thomas

    Notes from Conference Call with LWVOH


    Patriots, I thought this was interesting to share with you....

    Each month I am involved in a conference call with lobbyists from League of Women Voters Ohio. This month's call focused on the Ohio Constitution Modernization Commission which was recently established by the legislature.

    Over a period of 20 years, citizens were asked on the ballot to call a Constitutional Convention to review and update our state Constitution. For 20 years the voters said no, so this Commission was established.

    The Commission has 10 years to update and revise the Constitution through a committee system. They meet monthly to discuss items like redistricting, judicial reform and voting rights.

    They call experts to testify, some of whom are LWVOH members, and then they debate changes which eventually will be placed on the ballot. The bipartisan committee has to agree on the changes, then it goes to the legislature which needs 60% approval, then finally to the voters where revisions have to pass with a 50% + 1 majority, so it is a long process.

    1. The redistricting committee wants this as a top priority, perhaps to reach the ballot in 2014. LWVOH testified in August about its redistricting priorities. And Senator LaRose proposed a Bill which broadens the Commissions' membership by 2 to make it less partisan. However, one goal is to use the counties as building blocks for redistricting so they are not such odd shapes, and are more competitive to reflect the 50/50 party split of our state. IF anything is proposed from this committee, implementation will not take place until 2021, a census year.


    2. The judicial reform committee is considering Justice Maureen O'Connor's 8 proposals. The last change to the Constitution in this area was in 1968, so revisions are needed. LWVOH will testify in Oct. to highlight merit selection of judges, and to suggest that a bipartisan commission select judges for vacancies, since 50% of judges are appointed by the Governor. LWVOH is also pushing for more education for the public about how the judicial system works because 40% of the voters skipped voting for judges in the last election.

    3. The voting rights committee has been considering a proposal by Steve Steinglass, a law professor at Cleveland Marshall, who presented a Voters Bill of Rights. How can we protect voters' rights in all municipalities? And how can we eliminate the struggles the Board of Elections go through every election with challenges in various districts? How can we make the voting process fair throughout the state?

    It's nice to know something is happening in the legislature!

    -Becky Thomas

    -Health Care Reform Resources-
    The Affordable Care Act: an explaination of the new law and how it will affect our lives.
    Single-payer Websites:
    Other Reform Websites:
    Status Quo (Opposition) Websites:
    --compiled by Lynne Rustad