Criminal Justice Reform Efforts

Below is our Chief Lobbyist Gary Daniels' opponent testimony on House Bill 90. This was delivered to the House Health Committee Committee on June 4, 2019.

To Chairman Merrin, Vice Chair Manning, Ranking Member Boyd, and members of the House Health Committee, thank you for this opportunity to present opponent testimony on Amended Substitute House Bill 90.

The ACLU of Ohio believes HB 90 is counterproductive, harmful, and ultimately unserious legislation. It is not meant to legitimately accomplish anything productive in Ohio but is, instead, only useful to satisfy a small segment of voters in our politically gerrymandered state.

Were HB 90 based on research and facts, it would not include an expansion of discredited abstinence-based education. Such an extremely narrow focus on human sexuality is already current law in Ohio even though we know it has the opposite effects of what it supposedly intends regarding teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and related matters.  HB 90 makes this problem worse.

Abstinence-only education also demands teaching sex and childbirth outside of marriage is harmful to children, parents, and society in order to perpetuate an extremely narrow worldview to stigmatize and reject the reality of Ohioans' daily lives and their relationships.

If HB 90 were only about providing useful information to Ohioans it would also not mandate the Department of Health to spend taxpayer money to create and distribute literature and run advertisements on radio, TV, and online to "clearly and consistently state abortion kills a living human being" and to provide training and assistance to others to advance that message.

HB 90 also muzzles school staff and administrators by making it illegal to refer a student to an abortion provider under any and all circumstances, even at the request of a student.

The original version of HB 90 contained a mere $500,000 appropriation for the Department of Health to create materials, run all these advertisements, distribute literature, provide trainings, and various other mandates.  Of course, that amount of funding is inadequate for all these required purposes.  Yet, even that small amount has been removed from HB 90.

The irony is the proponents of HB 90 are the same ones who purportedly believe Government is too big and screws up everything it touches.  Yet, they want to commandeer multiple state agencies and all public schools to deliver slanted, incorrect, harmful, and unscientific information across the state with zero additional funding.

For all these reasons and more, the ACLU of Ohio urges this committee's rejection of Amended Substitute House Bill 90.