Advocacy update for August 24, 2021

Advocacy update for August 24, 2021

Advocacy update for August 24, 2021 350 208 Episcopalians in Connection

What’s brewing in the State Legislature, and a federal bill to reduce the burden of energy costs on poor people

UUJO Legislative Update, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 7-8:15 pm on Zoom

The Rev. Joan Van Becelaere of the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO) will host a discussion of bills on the fall agenda of the Ohio Legislature.  This includes bills of deep concern to advocates for voting rights, freedom of assembly, public health, education, and gun safety.  The UUJO works closely with the Ohio Council of Churches on social justice issues.  Please register in advance for the meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIuc-6tqjojGdSUxQaA1Le6o7EjqXgUe5kX

Call on Congress to make clean energy affordable to low- and moderate income households

More than 300 environmental justice advocates, environmental groups and renewable energy companies sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees supporting a direct pay option for the residential energy efficiency property tax credit (26 U.S.C. § 25D). Direct pay would allow low- or moderate-income families to receive their entire subsidy in a single year, offering tremendous opportunities to expand rooftop solar to a more diverse group of families who can’t afford the upfront costs.

This comes as the committees are considering the renewal or extension of several tax provisions designed to incentivize retrofits that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Congressional action to make the credit refundable will enable disadvantaged communities and lower-income households – which spend a disproportionate amount of their income on energy – to access the economic, health and emissions benefits of clean energy.

Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households have the least ability of all American households to bear the costs of clean energy investments while waiting to receive federal incentives. It currently takes several years for LMI families with little to no tax liability to make full use of existing tax credits for residential clean energy purchases, deeply undermining their effectiveness. To express your views, email Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and telephone House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal. Thanks to the Rev. Craig Foster, Co-Chair of the Diocese’s Creation Care and Environmental Justice Task Force, for sharing this news!

Ohio Redistricting Commission Hearings Underway, Live-streamed

Secretary of State Frank LaRose  and  Sen. Vernon Sykes, Co-chair of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, preparing to start the Cincinnati hearing Aug. 24. Photo by Ariel Miller.

As we reported last week, the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which draws state legislative districts, has finally been appointed and is holding ten public hearings around the state this week. They are being broadcast on the Ohio Channel. Click this link for the schedule, locations, and to watch a live stream of the hearings. There is also a link to submit your own testimony and proposed map, and to see the testimony that has already been submitted.

With the census data only released to states on Aug. 12, no maps have been drafted yet. Ohio University is preparing the census data for the map-drawing bodies (Redistricting Commission for state legislative districts, the Ohio Legislature for Congressional districts). But your testimony on what’s needed for fair representation in your community is very important.

Finally, here is a short overview prepared by the nonpartisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission of the new rules approved by voter referenda in 2015 and 2018.

The remaining hearings in the Diocese of Southern Ohio are on Wednesday, Aug. 25:

  • Zanesville, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Ohio University Zanesville, 1425 Newark Road, Campus Center, Rooms 430431
  • Rio Grande, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm. Rio Grande Community College, 67 Bevo Francis Way, Rob Evans Farms Hall, Room 218 (1st floor)

Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming, and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team.