Created on Thursday, 27 June 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Abortion-rights supporters are criticizing the way Ohio lawmakers slipped a provision into the state budget at the last minute that would limit the ability of doctors to perform the procedure.
A look at the Ohio budget before state lawmakers
Some of the highlights of Ohio's two-year, $62 billion budget being voted on Thursday, plus some of the policies that have been dropped from the spending plan:
—INCOME TAX CUT: Reduces the statewide income tax rate gradually over three years, beginning with an 8.5 percent tax in 2013 and moving to a 10 percent tax reduction by 2015. That's down from the governor's proposed 20 percent.
—SMALL BUSINESSES: Provides small businesses with a 50 percent tax cut on the first $250,000 in net business income, compared to the first $750,000 the governor had pitched.
—SALES TAX INCREASE: Increases the state sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent; applies it to digital products such as e-books and music.
—ABORTION: Requires abortion providers to inform pregnant women in writing about the presence of a fetal heartbeat before the procedure.
—FAMILY PLANNING: Makes changes to send Planned Parenthood to the back of the line for public family-planning money.
—OPEN MEETINGS: Allows public bodies to meet in closed session to consider the terms of an application for economic development assistance; requires a unanimous vote; specifies the exception applies only to the body's consideration of confidential information, such as the applicant's marketing plans and specific business strategy.
— MEDICAID: The governor's proposed expansion of Medicaid to make roughly 366,000 low-income residents eligible for coverage beginning in 2014 and qualify the state for about $13 billion from the federal government to cover program costs over the next seven years.
— SEX EDUCATION: A House-committee proposal barring distribution of contraceptives on school property and subjecting teachers to litigation for promoting unspecified activities considered gateways to sex.
— CASINOS: A requirement that casinos to keep patron photos for five years, which was aimed at making it easier for law enforcement to track and clamp down on money laundering.
— E-SCHOOLS: An exemption for students enrolled in e-schools from the physical education requirement to graduate from high school.
— SALES TAX EXPANSION: The governor's tax reduction and broadening that would have taken the rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent then extended the tax to a new list of items, including legal services and entertainment events.
—OIL & GAS TAX: Severance tax increases on oil and natural gas extraction that would have generated an estimated $200 million for the state general fund, local governments and libraries.
Source: AP Research.
About 70 people, mostly women wearing red clothing, protested Thursday outside the Ohio Statehouse.
The Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice scheduled the rally ahead of votes planned in the General Assembly on Ohio's $62 billion operating budget.
Democratic Sen. Nina Turner, who opposes the anti-abortion provisions, says lawmakers amended the bill to restrict abortions like "thieves in the night."
Advocates oppose an amendment that would require Ohio abortion providers to inform pregnant women seeking the procedure if a fetal heartbeat is present.
The crowd called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) to eliminate the restrictions from the budget.