Advocacy update May 24, 2022

Advocacy update May 24, 2022

Advocacy update May 24, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection
May 31, 6-8 pm: 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan Kickoff at Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati has emerged as a national leader in sustainability and resilience since launching its first Green Cincinnati Plan in 2008. This in-person event at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Harold C Schott Education Center welcomes you to contribute your time and energy to the 2023 update. Mayor Aftab Pureval, City Council’s Climate, Environment, and Infrastructure Chair Meeka Owens, and city staff will summarize the city’s progress and outline goals and process for the update. Take part in breakout sessions – with live people! – to share your ideas on how to move Cincinnati forward as an equitable, sustainable, and resilient city.  Free. Register here, giving your preferred breakout, to help planners choose meeting spaces.

Please take time to fill out the City’s climate change survey.

Please take time to fill out the City’s climate change survey.

EPPN post on climate change impact on children, and what you can do right here

Episcopal Office of Government Relations is posting a series on children, with the latest on the harm they are enduring from climate change.  Your congregation can act to mitigate this injustice by implementing energy efficiency measures with the aid of a diocesan grant of up to $10,000.  Read more and apply here.

While climate change significantly impacts the global population, children are often more vulnerable to its effects than adults. Estimates show that children today will face three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents. In the short term, this causes injury, damage to communities, forced migration, food shortages, and water contamination. Long-term, it causes major mental health disorders, malnutrition, disease outbreaks, interruptions to children’s education, and the breakdown of social networks and families. While every child is at risk, approximately 1 billion children (about half of all children) are at “extremely high risk” of the negative impacts of climate change.

HB 455 would render businesses, congregations almost helpless to prohibit guns on premises

For businesses and other sites including houses of worship that post signs prohibiting guns on site, this bill puts the burden on the property owner, who would have to detect the concealed weapon and ask the person to leave.  The New York Times posted a story May 24 on the trauma experienced by Black school children in Buffalo, many of whose families shopped at the store and one of whom was present when the bodies of the dead were removed.

Here’s the Ohio Legislative Service Commission analysis of the bill.

Ohio Moms Demand Action has published talking points on the bill.

The bill has had three hearings in the House Government Oversight Committee, but has not yet come up for a vote.  Ohio Moms have also posted suggestions on informing local businesses of the bill and inviting them to contact legislators with their views.

Statehouse Debate Continues over Bail

I’ve been reporting on duelling bills on the appropriate role of cash bail. HB 315 (supported by the Ohio Council of Churches) emphasizes other tools like pretrial detention to protect public safety, and includes other reforms to mitigate the disproportionate burden of cash bail and incarceration on poor people charged with nonviolent offenses. Countering HB 315 is HB 607, the proposed constitutional amendment requiring judges to consider public safety in setting bail.

Surprisingly, the anticipated House vote on the amendment was postponed as legislative leaders acknowledged the complexity of the issue. In a hearing on HB 315 last week Alan Smith of the conservative Buckeye Institute contended that pretrial detention for people with a history of violent offense is more effective. Reviewing a list of murders that happened while defendants were out on bail, “court-ordered cash bail didn’t prevent these murders,” he said. There’s a fourth hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee on HB 315 on May 25, as the committee considers whether to incorporate parts of it in the constitutional amendment. Nevertheless, House Speaker Bob Cupp predicted last week that the constitutional amendment would be voted on before the legislature goes into recess, and appear on the state ballot this fall.

Read about HB 429, the Energy Jobs and Justice Act

This bill addresses core concerns of people of faith, particularly protecting vulnerable people from physical and financial harm. The bill supports an equitable transition to clean energy. The issues it tackles include Ohio’s major role in greenhouse gas emissions, the heavy burden posed to poor people and Black, Indigenous and people of color by air pollution and needlessly high energy costs, and the need for well-paid, sustainable jobs. Solutions include a network Clean Energy Workforce Incubators, and steps to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, and addressing the HB 6 scandal and years of favoritism to fossil fuel interests by writing utility accountability and transparency into law. Read this overview of the bill by the Ohio Environmental Council’s Nolan Rutschilling.

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