Advocacy update December 13, 2022

Advocacy update December 13, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection
Ask Ohio legislators to allocate part of unspent ARPA dollars to housing and food security

Most Episcopal congregations work hard to protect food and/or housing security in our communities. The Ohio General Assembly continues to delay action on allocating the rest of Ohio’s federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds. Hunger Network in Ohio and COHHIO (Coalition for Homelessness and Housing in Ohio) ask you to call four legislative leaders today to request key one-time investments. Suggested message:  ” as a person of faith I encourage you to help Ohio families struggling to make ends meet by investing $308 million into housing and $90 million into Ohio’s food banks. Our state has the resources to make these one-time investments to provide food, homes, and dignity to hardworking Ohio families.”

Ask Congress: Protect climate action before year end by passing long-term government funding

In January, a new majority including additional climate deniers will take over the House of Representatives, with power over federal budgets. “If Congress doesn’t pass a long-term spending bill with other critical provisions before then,” writes the League of Conservation Voters, ”an anti-environment House of Representatives could be enough to block implementation of climate policies, including those in the historic Inflation Reduction Act.” Use this LCV link to send an email to your U.S. Representative and both Senators.

Ohio House vote could happen as early as Wednesday on three bills crucial to protecting Ohio voters’ role in state policy
  • HJR6 would raise the threshold for voter-initiated constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60% of votes cast. If it passes, it would be on the ballot next May. Click here to email your Ohio Senator and Representative about HJR6.
  • Sub HB 294 limits drop box availability and time for early voting. Now before the Ohio Senate, HB 458, which has already passed the House, creates the same limits as HB294, limits allowable photo ID, and would throw out late-arriving ballots even if they are postmarked before election day. Contact your Ohio rep on these bills here.
  • SB 178 would remove nearly all power, including setting curriculum policy, from the State Board of Education, giving it to the Governor. This comes in the wake of a year of battles between School Board members and legislators over how to teach about the history of race relations and to help overcome racial bias. It also follows last month’s election when Ohio voters elected enough progressive members to the Board to block policies constraining what can be taught. SB 178 has already passed the Ohio Senate and could be voted on Wednesday in the Ohio House. Contact your Ohio House rep on SB 178 by using the box “Who Represents Me” on the Ohio Legislature website.
HB 507 forces fossil fuel leases on Ohio’s public lands and defines natural gas as “green energy”

I’m relaying the Ohio Environmental Council’s call to oppose HB 507, which this statewide nonprofit warns is “a major oil and gas industry power grab that’s unfolding in the Ohio legislature’s lame duck session.” On Dec. 6, “the industry snuck in two last-minute and far-reaching amendments to House Bill 507—a bill originally written to govern the sale of chickens. Within 24 hours, 22 senators voted to approve the bill without any public discussion, and sent the bill to the Ohio House for a concurrence vote. The first amendment would redefine natural gas as ‘green energy.’ The second amendment would give the oil and gas industry control over what state parks and public lands are leased and when. Our state public lands have been threatened by fracking interests for more than a decade, but never as much as they are now.”

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, use this link to write your rep and House Speaker Bob Cupp before the House vote.

Moore v. Harper and its implications for fair districts in Ohio

Last week the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case testing the independent state legislature theory, with huge importance on whether Ohio’s Supreme Court will keep the authority Ohio voters gave it to oversee the fairness of Congressional districts. The Fair Districts Ohio coalition, including Common Cause and the League of Women Voters in Ohio, held a Moore v. Harper listening party on Zoom with commentary by legal experts who were involved in the Rucho v. Common Cause federal gerrymandering case and the court battles between the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court, which handed down rulings finding every successive state and Congressional district plan unconstitutional over the past year. Our two Ohio primaries and general election were conducted using maps our Supreme Court found unconstitutional for excessive partisan gerrymandering. You can watch the recording of the US Supreme Court arguments, including legal commentary in the chat. The passcode is SCOTUS@12-7.  Here are slides presented by Jonah Knobler, who served as a co-counsel to Common Cause on Rucho v. Common Cause.

Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a longtime community advocate and member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming. Connect with her at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com