Columbus statue ordinance tabled, Reproductive legislation passed

City Council passed reproductive health care legislation and approved tax abatements despite push-back from several residents. Here's what you need to know from Monday's meeting.
President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown introduces reproductive justice legislative package at City Council meeting on July 25.
President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown introduces reproductive justice legislative package at City Council meeting on July 25. Courtesy of City of Columbus

Columbus City Council passed a reproductive health care legislative package, tabled an ordinance considering the reinstallation of a Christopher Columbus statue and approved seven tax abatements during the meeting Monday night.

The reproductive legislation was proposed by Council's Women's Caucus, which is made up of Council President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown and Council members Shayla Favor and Lourdes Barroso de Padilla.

"While abortion is still legal in Ohio, up to the point of detection of cardiac activity in the fetus, roughly six weeks pregnant, we know that a majority of people who need an abortion will not longer be able to do so legally within the state," Brown said.

Before introducing the legislation, Brown said although the city cannot overturn state law, they can take steps to protect residents legally and support reproductive justice and abortion funds.

Resolution 0143x-2022 was the first measure adopted and de-prioritizes the criminalization of abortion regulating and restrictive access to reproductive care laws. The second measure was Ordinance 2215-2022 and authorizes "an examination of the activities of crisis pregnancy centers."

"Inside so called pregnancy crisis centers, volunteers who are not licensed clinicians, often wear white coats as they see people in exam rooms," Brown said. "They often target low income women, they target women of color and it is a concern to all of us if lies are told in these exam rooms up to and including claims of an association between abortion and adverse health consequences, or even encouragement not to seek immediate prenatal care."

With the passage of the measure, Pro-Choice Ohio will be able to conduct a study of pregnancy crisis centers and what Brown called "fake health clinics."

Ordinance 2216-2022 was read next and grants $1,000,000 to Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Ohio Women's Alliance. All measures were passed last night and

"No one is free, no one is equal without control over their own bodies, lives and futures," Brown said.

Here's a recap of the June 25 Columbus City Council meeting:

The meeting started with Council President Hardin talking about the mask advisory in Columbus issued on July 22 as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

Speakers were then brought up during the consent portion of the agenda and the first to address council was Rachel Winning who spoke in opposition against Ordinance 2014-2022.

The measure, which passed, enters the Department of Development into an incentive agreement with AND Health. AND Health's investment for their new project includes a new corporate office and the creation of 65 new full-time jobs at 2 Miranova Place.

There were seven tax abatement measures on the agenda and Joe Motil spoke out against them and specifically Ordinance 2017-2022.

The applicant is SFG Columbus Parsons LLC. SFG is a subsidiary of Stonemont Financial Group, which is "an industrial real estate development and investment group," according to the measure. Its headquarters are located in Atlanta, GA.

Also according to the ordinances, "SFG is proposing to redevelop the former Columbus Casting industrial site on the Southside of the city. The redevelopment will consist of three separate proactive industrial facilities on a vacant land parcel at 2215-2295 Parsons Avenue."

Motil said the following at the meeting last night:

All ordinances concerning tax abatements and SFG were passed at last night's meeting.

The last item on the consent portion of the agenda and within the Economic Development Committee, Ordinance 1279-2022, was tabled indefinitely.

Here's what happened during the Zoning Committee

There were five people who signed up to speak about Ordinance 1850-2022. The measure rezones 720 E. Long St and allows Kelly Companies to redevelop the site.

According to the measure, "The 0.94+ acre site consists of three parcels developed with a funeral home and associated parking lots in the Commercial Planned Development District." The redevelopment includes a mixed-use building with 90 apartment units, "5,500 square feet of eating and drinking establishment space with 450 square feet of accessory outdoor dining and 50 enclosed parking spaces..."

The following residents spoke out against the ordinance:

The measure was passed.

These were the highlights from the city council meeting yesterday.

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