This week the General Assembly held session continue to move through legislation quickly in hopes that they can take some time off before the Primary Election on May 8. Petitions for the Primary Election are due next week, Wednesday, February 7. This is an election year so both the House and Senate are likely to spend most of the summer campaigning after the Primary Election as well. Meanwhile, for supporters of the CCV mission, please note that petitions are due this Wednesday, February 7.
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK:
HOUSE BILL 428: PROTECTING STUDENT RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION
This week, the Ohio House Education and Career Readiness Committee heard testimony on House Bill (HB) 428, the “Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act.” The bill was introduced by Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) and Representative Sarah Latourette (R-Chagrin Falls).
CCV is very supportive of HB 428 because it would go a long way to make children in public schools feel more welcomed and free to exercise their rights of free speech and conscience. Across the nation, students are being told that they have to leave their faith at the door when they go to school, despite the fact that our laws protect their right to exercise their faith anywhere they are.
In our testimony before the committee, we shared a number of stories of how students in public schools have and had their student-groups disbanded, invitations to events disallowed. We shared one story in particular in which a first grader had to take the word “God” out of a poem she wrote for a class project about her two veteran grandfathers.
During the committee, CCV also showed a video from Alliance Defending Freedom about a young man named Brian Hickman. Brian has cerebral palsy and wanted to dance to one of his favorite Christian worship songs during his school’s talent show, just days before he was to have hip surgery. The school forbade him from dancing to his song, because it mentioned Jesus and praised God. Click here to watch the video.
HB 428 would help clarify students’ rights for both administrators and the students themselves. We believe the Committee was touched by these incredible stories and they are aware these types of things happen far too frequently. We’re optimistic the Committee will consider passing this needed legislation.
THIS WEEK’S QUICK HITS
- This week, the bill to provide special “protected class” status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI classes), House Bill (HB) 160, received proponent testimony in the Ohio House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee. About a dozen proponents offered oral testimony including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
CCV continues to oppose this bill that would bully small businesses, ministries, families, women, and children into compromising their beliefs and privacy. The bill, HB 160, would require businesses, schools, ministries and even churches to allow biological men into women’s locker rooms, restrooms, and changing areas. It would also force small business owners with religious beliefs to communicate messages with which they disagree. Every day Ohioans of all religions do business, go to school, and live life with their LGBT neighbors. Ohio is a diverse state. We should be celebrating that, yet HB 160 creates division. Click here to see what you can do to take action on this bill.
- Last week we reported that the Senate had passed Senate Bill 28 a bill introduced by Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) which would outlaw Planned Parenthood’s process of disposing of babies’ bodies in landfills. This week, the Ohio House Health Committee held its first hearing on the bill. CCV was in attendance and we are glad to report that Sen. Uecker’s testimony went very well. The Committee asked very good questions and we anticipate an opportunity to give proponent testimony in the coming weeks.