Today’s update includes calls to action on Ohio’s rapidly-moving Permitless Conceal Carry bill, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Ohio’s redistricting battle, and webinars on stewardship of creation and criminal justice reform.
Thursday. Feb. 24, The Intersection of Racial Justice and Climate Action, 3-4 pm: Three Ohio environmental leaders – Leah Hudnall of the Ohio Climate Justice Fund, Crystal Davis of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Rachael Belz of Ohio Citizen Action – will share their work to center racial justice in the environmental movement to overcome the disproportionate impacts of climate change on communities of color. Register here.
Thursday, Feb. 24, Apart Documentary and panel by Faith in Public Life, 6 pm, follows three mothers incarcerated in Ohio as they prepare to return home and rebuild their lives after being separated from their children for years. This documentary shows the human toll of current felony policy for low-level drug charges. The online screening includes a panel discussion. Register here.
Sunday, Feb. 27 on Zoom, SW Ohio University Students share their work on Climate Change, 4-5:15 pm. Panelists from Cincinnati State, Miami, Mt. St. Joseph, Northern Kentucky, the University of Cincinnati, and Xavier University will share their ideas, hopes, and work to protect the environment now and for the future. Register here.
This forum, sponsored by the Cincinnati interfaith coalitions Faith Communities Go Green and EquaSion will be an inspiring hour in the company of committed young people working to protect our planetary home. Here are the panelists:
- Drew Brown, a third-year student in biology, chemistry, and sustainability at Mt. St. Joseph University
- Cassie Conrad, a senior at Miami majoring in sustainability. She is President of Zero Waste Oxford and a member of the Student Sustainability Council.
- Priya Deskmuck is a Xavier University senior studying digital media, and Co-Chair of Xavier’s Student Sustainability Organization.]
- Erin Ford is a senior at Cincinnati State majoring in Enviornmental Engineering Technology and Water & Wastewater. She is the Public Representative of the Environmental Club and President of the campus Beekeeping Club.
- Delaney Malloy is a sophomore majoring in environmental science and biology at the University of Cincinnati and a Sustainability Advocate for the University, working with graduate students on environmental justice work. She is a fellow at the Post Landfill Action Network.
- Clare Burke Ravizza, a Xavier University senior majoring in philosophy, politics, and the public, is Co-Chair of Xavier’s Student Sustainability Board and an intern for the university’s sustainability committee.
- James Renton, a sophomore music education major at Northern Kentucky University, and founder of the NKY Sunrise Movement Hub on campus.
Public Policy Updates
Committee Vote Likely March 1 for SB 215
SB 215, the permitless conceal-carry bill already passed by the Ohio Senate, could be voted on next Tuesday, March 1 by the House Government Oversight Committee. This bill would allow Ohioans 18 and older to carry loaded, concealed weapons without safety training, a background check, or a permit, and exempt them from the duty to notify police of their weapon if they are stopped. This bill is opposed by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, and the Ohio Mayors Alliance Executive Board and the Mayors and Police Chiefs Leadership Committee.
“The proposal to repeal Ohio’s concealed carry permitting law…threatens the safety of our communities and our law enforcement professionals,” they wrote last week to the General Assembly. “Our organizations oppose these bills for three primary reasons: officer safety, crime prevention, and community violence… Communities across the state and country are seeing an increase in gun violence. Illegal guns in the hands of criminals have contributed to a record number of homicides in some communities. We believe that allowing even more individuals to carry concealed weapons with no training or background check, and few ways to address those who may be illegally carrying, will result in more gun violence in our communities.”
You can submit written testimony to the committee via this email, with the deadline being Feb. 28 at 10 am. Address your letter to Chairman Wilkin, Vice-Chair White, and Ranking Member Brown, House Government Oversight Committee. Include your name, address, email, and phone number and your personal experience and views relevant to this bill. Your faith-based perspective carries moral weight. Phone calls matter and will be counted. Here are the names and phone numbers of all members of the House Government Oversight Committee. Please call them – daily if you can from now to March 1 – to express your views on this bill. Phone calls are counted and make a big impact. Please call your state House representative as well.
Chair Wilkin – (614) 466-3506
Vice Chair White – (614) 644-6008
Ranking Member Brown – (614) 644-6002
Sen Abrams – (614) 466-9091
Sen Carfagna – (614) 466-1431
Sen Galonski – (614) 644-6037
Sen Ginter – (614) 466-8022
Sen Hicks-Hudson – (614) 466-1401
Sen Jones – (614) 644-8728
Sen Kelly – (614) 466-5786
Sen Plummer – (614) 644-8051
Sen Seitz – (614) 466-8258
Sen Skindell – (614) 466-5921
Search for your State Rep: https://ohiohouse.gov/
Episcopal Public Policy Network: Call on Congress to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
A bipartisan group of Senators introduced S. 3623 on Feb. 9 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which expired in early 2019. The Episcopal Public Policy Network asks you to contact your Senators and Representative in support of this bipartisan bill, “which would reauthorize VAWA through 2027, preserves advancements made in previous VAWA reauthorization bills and includes several additional improvements to the current law,” EPPN writes. “The recent reauthorization proposal comes after months of negotiations following the House of Representatives passing their version, H.R. 1620, in March of 2021. Due to increased incidents of domestic violence and abuse during COVID-19, now is the time for the Senate to reauthorize this important legislation and ensure it adds protections for women. The Episcopal Church, consistent with our promise to respect the dignity of every human being, condemns violence against women and supports efforts to end gender violence. Since its original passage in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided protections for women, especially on issues like intimate partner violence, stalking, human trafficking, and sexual assault. The legislation provides funding for essential services such as shelters, abuse hotlines, and rape crisis centers. Improvements in this reauthorization bill include strengthening rape prevention and education efforts, providing legal funding and increased support for marginalized communities like LGBTQ survivors, and expanding special criminal jurisdiction by tribal courts to cover non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault. For decades, Episcopalians, through the EPPN, have advocated for every reauthorization of this essential legislation since its initial passage.”
The Ohio Redistricting Commission failed to produce revised state district maps by last week’s deadline, defying the Ohio Supreme Court order which found their second set of maps unconstitutional for partisan gerrymandering. This case has made national news. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor ordered the Commission to submit documents by this Wednesday on why they should not be held in contempt for failing to draw new maps. A group of Ohio Republicans have filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to adopt the second set of maps the State Supreme Court found unconstitutional. Democratic members of the Redistricting Commission, the League of Women Voters Ohio, and other civic groups have filed arguments that the federal courts should not get involved in the case which is being adjudicated expeditiously in the Ohio Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction under our state constitution. Meanwhile, after a long delay, the Redistricting Commission scheduled its first hearing Feb. 22 on Congressional maps, which the Legislature failed to re-draw after the Ohio Supreme Court found the first set unconstitutional, also for breaking constitutional rules against unduly favoring or disfavoring a political party.
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. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org