Stand Your Ground will become law in Ohio unless the Governor vetoes it

The Ohio Legislature hurriedly added a Stand Your Ground provision to another bill, SB 175, and passed it at the end of last week.  This would allow a person to use lethal force anywhere they are legally present if they feel they are in danger, even if they have a safe option to retreat.  The police chiefs of Ohio’s six largest cities – including Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton – testified that Stand Your Ground laws encourage vigilantes, increases gun violence, and disproportionately harms people of color. But the House passed it late at night Thursday despite overwhelming public testimony against the bill, and the Senate followed suit Friday.

The Legislature also passed SB33 at the end of last week.  This creates more severe criminal classification and penalties for protests against fossil fuel extraction or pipelines by defining these facilities as “critical infrastructure.”  It puts religious organizations or nonprofits at risk of crushing financial penalties if they help to organize protests at sites like fracking wells or pipelines, defining these activities as criminal trespass.

To envision what this means, remember the many Episcopal clergy and laypeople who prayed and protested the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Read more in HuffPost: https://apple.news/AcY5jSqrkT1GgOVlm4kb0Hw

You can also weigh in both SB 175 and SB 33 by writing to the Governor at https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/contact

Ohio Statehouse News

Statenews.org reported Dec. 21 that Governor DeWine was considering vetoing the Stand Your Ground bill. “I made my position very clear that we should not be taking up bills like that when we have bills that have been in front of the legislature for a year where we have really the opportunity to directly save lives,” DeWine said.  The Legislature has failed to advance the modest gun safety proposals that the Governor introduced last year after the mass shooting in Dayton.

Judge freezes HB6 nuclear payments, plant owners negotiating with Ohio Legislature

Franklin County Judge Chris Brown ordered the State to refrain from collecting HB6’s nuclear subsidies ($150 million a year) from Ohio ratepayers and prohibited Energy Harbor, the First Energy spinoff that now owns the two Ohio nuclear plants, from attempting to collect them. This freeze was sought by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati because of the $61 million dollar bribery and racketeering case brought by the FBI this summer against then House Speaker Larry Householder and four associates, two of whom have pled guilty.

Meanwhile, here is news of a backroom deal being negotiated between Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Energy Harbor, which Judge Brown’s ruling may have made irrelevant.

Today, Dec. 22, is the last day of the Lame Duck session. Please email and call your senator and representative to weigh in.  Find them through the “Who Represents Me?” link at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov

Ohioans concerned about climate change (including those of us in Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team) are asking for complete repeal because we see the law the opposite of Creation Care. The law ended Ohio’s law requiring investor-owned utilities to increase the proportion of their electricity generated by renewables, and ended the mandate to use ratepayer funds to help customers afford efficiency retrofits like smart thermostats and LED lighting, a provision that provided thousands of dollars in rebates to many churches in our diocese and significantly reduced their monthly bills.

SB 317, Removing Training Requirements for Arming Teachers, has been added as an amendment to HB 425 by the Senate Government Oversight Committee

This is in spite of overwhelming testimony against the law, including a letter of opposition from the police chiefs of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. The bill would add new dangers of gun violence to children in schools, particularly children of color.  Call or email your state senator (find them here: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/ ) and Senate President Larry Obhof at  614-466-7505 or Obhof@OhioSenate.gov .

 

Legislative briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming,  and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team.