New red flag bill
Gun safety laws supported by a majority of Ohioans have failed to pass so far, but Sen. Matt Dolan (R- Chagrin Falls) is not giving up. On Aug. 18 he introduced SB 357 to allow courts to temporarily confiscate guns from people under court-ordered mental health care. The bill would also allocate $175 million in federal COVID recovery funds to pay for mental health counselors and regional crisis centers.
The bill would require background checks for most gun sales to people under age 21. Dolan led the unsuccessful quest to pass the modest reforms Gov. DeWine offered after the Dayton mass shooting in 2019.
Statewide Farm Bill Convening Sept.1 in Grove City
In 2023 Congress will have to update the Farm Bill which funds federal food security programs including SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and school and summer feeding programs for children. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is teaming up with many other stakeholders for this planning meeting 9 a.m. to 3p.m. at the Mid-Ohio Food Collective in Grove City.
Most Episcopal congregations support or host emergency food ministries. You’re encouraged to invite people with front-line experience as clients of your community’s emergency food programs: scholarships and stipends available. Register here. Speakers include food security experts and Senator Sherrod Brown.
Help create a pathway to citizenship for Afghan refugees
One year after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Afghan refugees who won special immigrant visas last year because of their work aiding the US only have temporary protected status and no path to citizenship. A bipartisan bill has been introduced to rectify that. The Episcopal Public Policy Network invites you to sign up by Aug. 28 for Virtual Congressional Advocacy Days Sept. 6-8, to meet with your Members of Congress (or their staff) to advocate for an Afghan Adjustment Act and other asks related to the evacuation and resettlement of at-risk Afghan allies.
How to Participate
EPPN will hold a virtual training on legislative meetings and schedule group virtual meetings with your Senators and/or Members of Congress as well as conduct digital advocacy. Participants will receive:
- Training on Virtual Legislative Meetings – Date TBD (the week of August 29).
- Schedule of Meetings with Your Senators or their staff — on September 6-8.
- Sample Talking Points and Asks for Your Meeting — you will receive resources to help guide your meetings and we encourage you to share your personal stories and experiences.
- Evacuate Our Allies Coalition Support — each meeting will include an accompanier (experienced legislative advocate) to provide support.
- Advocacy and Social Media Toolkit — the toolkit will include a call-in action, sample social media posts and graphics, and additional advocacy resources that you can share
To join, please fill out this form. Your responses will help EPPN with scheduling meetings with your Senators (or their staff) during the virtual advocacy days.
Ohio Congressional Redistricting battle could escalate
The Ohio Legislature failed to act on the Ohio Supreme Court’s order to draw new Congressional lines by Aug. 17, defying a ruling to correct the partisan gerrymandering which the Court found illegal under a constitutional amendment drafted by the legislature and approved by over 70% of Ohio voters. House Speaker Bob Cupp, a past Ohio Supreme Court judge, called the Court’s deadline a “myth”. Senate President Matt Huffman is considering appealing to the US Supreme Court as part of the North Carolina gerrymandering case the justices have agreed to hear to test the “independent state legislature” theory that the US Constitution gives state legislatures ultimate authority over the manner of conducting federal elections. If this relatively new interpretation prevails, it would empower state legislatures to gerrymander Congressional districts at will with state constitutions, voters, and state courts powerless to stop them. Congress has so far failed to pass a law defining gerrymandering and constraining it.
Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a longtime community advocate and member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming. Connect with her at email@example.com