Ohio House hearing cancelled on bill to arm teachers with minimal gun safety training

The Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee cancelled its March 25 hearing on HB 99, which would allow school districts to arm teachers and staff with as little as eight (8) hours of gun safety training. At least 58 people submitted opposition testimony and 753 sent messages via Everytown Ohio asking their reps to vote no on this bill.  See the article posted March 23 for more information on this bill. Current Ohio law requires adults to have completed an approved peace officer training course (728 hours) or to have at least 20 years active experience as a peace officer before they can carry a loaded gun on a school campus. We will alert you if and when this proposal starts moving again through the legislature.

Other gun rights expansion bills have been introduced, including HB 227. Sponsored by Cincinnati area Rep. Tom Brinckman, to allow all legal weapons to be carried concealed, and to allow a person 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon without a license. If gun safety is a priority concern for you (it is for The Episcopal Church), sign up for Ohio Moms Demand Action virtual advocacy day, April 19.  Ohio Moms have already scheduled 40 Zoom meetings with legislators during the week.  Meetings will be hosted by an experienced leader and training and background on the bills will be provided.  You can register here: http://bit.ly/AdvocacyDayOH  Email Lisa Voigt lvoigt.25@gmail.com to find out if and when a meeting is scheduled with your legislator.

Ohio Energy policy in flux

The Ohio Legislature continues to wrestle over renewable energy as the giant federal corruption case over HB 6 continues, with First Energy confirmed as the source of bribes and the legislature still unable to decide whether to expel former Speaker Larry Householder, defendant in the federal case. HB 6 cancelled Ohio’s renewable energy standards and the energy efficiency programs through which many of our churches received rebates for retrofits to reduce their electricity consumption. Hostility to renewable energy continues manifest in new legislation (see below), though bipartisan bills have been introduced to repeal HB 6 or to create new incentives for energy efficiency.  Sustainability and clean energy are priorities for The Episcopal Church because of the terrible human toll of climate change.

During the week of March 22, committees held hearings over twin bills, SB 52 and HB 118, that would allow a small number of registered voters to call for a referendum to stop wind or solar farms in their community, even though such plans are already subject to public review in the state’s permitting process.  No other power generation would face this hurdle. Two of us on the diocese’s Creation Care and Environmental Justice Task Force submitted testimony opposing these bills.

Both houses passed HB 128, repealing the nuclear subsidies in HB 6 that would have paid First Energy subsidiary Energy Harbor $150 million a year annually at ratepayers’ expense. The bill also repeals the “decoupling” provision of HB6 which would have guaranteed $978 million in annual revenue to FirstEnergy Corporation, up to $355 million at ratepayers’ expense, whether or not it sells the corresponding energy. Learn more

Governor DeWine is expected to sign this bill.

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.