Advocacy update January 11, 2022

Advocacy update January 11, 2022

Advocacy update January 11, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection

End a huge cost HB 6 places on Ohio ratepayers

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board reported on Jan. 9 that the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel calculates that Ohio ratepayers had paid “nearly $172 million by Jan. 7 to subsidize two money-losing coal plants, one of them in Indiana.”  This is an ongoing cost of HB 6, passed in 2019 through bribes now the subject of an enormous federal corruption case.  The Ohio Consumers’ Council website also shows these plants have emitted almost 21 million tons of CO2 since HB 6 went into effect.  You can help repeal the coal subsidies by asking your state senator to pass SB 117 and your state rep to pass HB 351.

Legislature poised to expand gun rights

The Ohio legislature is now working to reconcile bills (HB 227 and SB 215) passed in both houses last year to allow people over the age of 18 to carry a concealed weapon without training or a permit. The bills are opposed by law enforcement leaders and organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police. To express your views, contact your Representative and Senator, and  call or write Governor DeWine.

Also advancing is legislation to allow school districts to arm teachers or staff with only 20 hours of safety training, compared to over 700 hours under current state law.  The House version, HB 99, was passed by the Ohio House in November. The Statehouse News Bureau reports that Gov. DeWine has been negotiating over the training requirementand is not saying whether he would sign this legislation.

Retired Cincinnati police officer Howard Rahtz published a guest column Dec. 21 in the Columbus Dispatch citing crucial evidence on factors in gun violence and effective ways to reduce it. For example: “in roughly 70% of school shootings, the gun used came from the home, a relative or friend of the shooter.” He described actions a peace officer could have taken during the in-school interview with the 15-year-old student at Oxford High School that would have found the gun he later used to shoot eleven people, killing four. Rahtz also cited the value of classroom doors that lock from the inside.

“A particularly disturbing image from Oxford was video of a teacher scrambling to barricade the classroom door to prevent the shooter’s entry. Since Columbine, study groups studying school shootings have recommended dozens of steps to physically secure buildings and classrooms. No school shooter has ever breached a locked classroom door.

“The fix allowing teachers to quickly lock classroom doors from the inside and the technology to allow building-wide lockdowns are easily available. Both were specific recommendations of the Sandy Hook Commission in 2015. How is it that in 2021, we still have schools without these basic safeguards?

“Americans are sick of gun violence,” he wrote. “They are also sick of the excuse that nothing will work. The United States is a country of creative people without peer in technological proficiency and organizational expertise. The position that the country is helpless in the face of this violence is absurd.

“The crowd at a Dayton vigil for victims of the August 2019 gun attack spoke for America when they chanted, “Do something,” at Ohio’s government leaders,”  he wrote. “Do something” was a citizen demand for the end to complacency and denial on gun violence.

“It is time for America’s government officials, educators, law enforcement, clergy, mental health professionals, business leaders and others to sit down and address this problem.

“It is not insolvable. Let’s get to work.”

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 arielmillerwriter@gmail.com