Welcome to the first installment of the CCV’s new Legislative Update. Here we will update you on the ongoing work at the Ohio Statehouse to protect life, build up families, and safeguard religious freedom.
This week the General Assembly held session and took up numerous bills. The legislators are attempting to get a large amount of work done in the next few weeks, because they have primary elections on May 8 and a summer recess shortly after that. That being the case, this is the time to get registered to vote and get involved. Wednesday (February 7) of next week is the due date for signature petitions to get a candidate’s name on the ballot for the May 8th primary election.
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK:
HOUSE BILL 160: AN ATTACK ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
This week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce released a statement supporting House Bill 160, ironically called the “Ohio Fairness Act,” which was introduced by Representative Nicki Antonio (D-Lakewood). The Chamber’s endorsement of the bill provided the bill with additional attention publicly and on Capital Square.
According to the sponsor, the bill is “a simple bill that updates the Ohio Civil Rights law by adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to those already protected in housing, employment, and the public sphere.” We do not agree with this statement. CCV President Aaron Baer described the bill as elevating “‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ to protected class status in the law – the same status as race, age, religion, sex, national origin, and disability.”
These bills are often referred to as “SOGI” bills (standing for “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). SOGI bills have been used across the United States as a tool to force individuals, businesses, and other organizations to actively affirm beliefs that conflict with their own sincerely held beliefs. This is a tool to bully people into participate in same-sex weddings, threaten Christian ministries, and businesses. The evidence for this is in the bill itself. HB 160 requires public schools to teach about this subject to children. It mandates that biological men be allowed in women’s’ restrooms, locker rooms, and other private facilities.
Our allied organization, The Alliance Defending Freedom, has extensive materials about the people who have attacked and had their businesses and lives ruined by these laws.
We will need your help to make sure this dangerous bill doesn’t become law. Be on the look out next week for more information on how you can get involved.
- CCV offered extensive testimony last week on Senate Bill 145 which would forbid the use of a gruesome abortion procedure called “dilation and evacuation” or “standard D&E.” This bill outlaws this procedure and has already passed the Ohio Senate. It is now being considered by the House Criminal Justice Committee. The bill was introduced by Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville).
- The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 28 this week, a bill introduced by Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) which would outlaw Planned Parenthood’s process of disposing of babies’ bodies in landfills. CCV offered testimony on the bill.
- Last week, the Ohio House Education and Career Readiness Committee heard testimony on the “Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act” introduced by Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) and Sarah Latourette (R-Chagrin Falls). This is a fantastic bill that CCV will be offering supporting testimony on. It takes great measure to protect the free speech and free exercise of religion for students in schools. Stay tuned for our testimony on this bill.
- The Heartbeat Bill has yet to clear the Ohio House Health Committee, but we continue to press on with the effort to get this bill signed into law. The bill is House Bill 258 and was introduced by Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Ron Hood (R-Ashville).
- CCV continues to work on House Bill 200, introduced by Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). The bill will allow low-income students and families the opportunity to escape the public school system if they feel that is what is best for them. CCV testified in favor of this bill.
- We anticipate the introduction of the new Campus Free Speech Protection Act in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more updates on this essential Free Speech protection bill!