Events for December 2022

Advocacy update November 15, 2022

Advocacy update November 15, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection
Ohio Election Results and Implications

Using gerrymandered state legislative maps ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court but mandated by a Federal court panel to allow the election to proceed in 2022, Ohio Republicans increased their supermajority in both the House and the Senate.  This fulfilled predictions of political scientists and warnings by the Ohio Supreme Court that each set of maps gave an unfair advantage to Republicans, breaking rules set by Ohio voters in two constitutional amendments. Surprisingly, Democrats won five of Ohio’s 15 Congressional seats -one third, compared to one fourth of the previous delegation. Voter turnout fell from 55.4% in 2018 to 51% this year.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission must now reconvene to redraw the maps, but an outcome complying with the constitutional requirements is unlikely. All the Republican incumbents won reelection to the top statewide offices and the Ohio Supreme Court.  Governor DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and Auditor Keith Faber will continue on the Ohio Redistricting Commission, ensuring that 5 of its 7 members are Republican. In addition, Gov. DeWine will appoint a successor to fill Sharon Kennedy’s seat as she moves up to serve as newly-elected Chief Justice of Ohio.  Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who could not run for re-election because of age limits, joined the three Democrats on the court in ruling each successive state and Congressional district plan drafted by the Commission unconstitutional for disproportionately advantaging the Republican party.

Lame Duck Sessions

Bills that fail to pass before the end of 2022 die.

Federal Lame Duck

Top action alerts from the Episcopal Public Policy Network include passing the Electoral Count Act to ensure an orderly transfer of power after Presidential elections and the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act.

Ohio Lame Duck Session

This week opens the final session of the current Ohio legislature. Key issues on the agenda include allocating $10 billion remaining in Ohio’s federal Covid funding. The Ohio Poverty Law Center is tracking American Recovery Plan spending on this website.

Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) is trying to revive gun safety proposals introduced after the mass shooting in Dayton but stalled since then, pressing for SB 357 to include a red flag process to temporarily take away guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others, stronger background checks, and allocating $175 million in federal funds to improve mental health care. Governor DeWine supports the bill.

Clean energy advocates should urge your representatives and House Speaker Bob Cupp to pass two long-stalled bills:

  • HB 315 to repeal of the coal plant subsidies in HB 6
  • HB 450 to authorize community solar projects in Ohio, particularly in the Appalachian region.

Find your legislator by entering your address in the “Who Represents Me” box here.

The Ohio Consumers Council estimates that Ohio ratepayers have been charged over $180 million to subsidize the two obsolete OVEC coal-fired plants (one of them in Indiana) since HB6 went into effect. Lawyer and environmental journalist Kathiann Kowalski published a story on the non-profit news site Eye on Ohio Oct. 6 on the environmental cases likely to come before the Ohio Supreme Court, including rules governing siting decisions for wind and solar projects and several rate cases.

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