Following up on last week’s report, HR 1, For the People Act of 2021, was introduced Jan. 4 in the new session of Congress, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes, (D-Maryland).  This includes a number of reforms designed to improve voter access, reduce the impact of big money in politics, strengthen ethics and protections against corruption, and also to end partisan gerrymandering by requiring states to use nonpartisan commissions. The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations is following the evolution of this bill and we will keep you posted on opportunities to weigh in.

Ohio’s Path to Fair Maps: A deep dive into Ohio’s redistricting process, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7-8 p.m.

The national non-profit All On the Line, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, has made Ohio one of nine priority states for organizing citizen input on the redistricting process. This webinar outlines the brand-new process created by two constitutional amendments overwhelmingly passed by Ohio voters in every county.  Register here:  https://www.mobilize.us/allonthelineoh/event/373514/

Governor DeWine’s biennial budget introduced

This will fund Ohio’s policy for FY 2022-23 on key matters including K-12 and higher education, public health, and corrections.  We’ll keep you posted on developments relevant to the social justice priorities of the diocese.

New Ohio Legislative Session

Here are some bills we’ll be watching as the new Legislature organizes its work: SB 8 includes strategies to expand broadband access. Broadband access is a critical need, especially in rural Ohio.

SB 17 covers eligibility for SNAP (food stamp) and Medicaid benefits and work and education requirements.  SB 10 would repeal the decoupling provisions of  the 2019 nuclear plant bailout bill HB 6, one of the elements of HB 6 which aroused the greatest public outcry, Decoupling under HB 6 allows First Energy to charge ratepayers to guarantee an annual yearly revenue of $978 million regardless of how much power customers use from the nuclear plants. Stay tuned.

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.