Catholic Conference of Ohio
Monday, June 17, 2019

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Legislative Action Alerts

Catholic Conference of Ohio Addresses Numerous Legislative Issues

Seeks to Protect and Enhance the Dignity and Rights of All People from Conception through Natural Death

In the Ohio General Assembly the Catholic Conference of Ohio is addressing issues related to :

  • Life
  • Human Trafficking
  • Criminal Justice
  • Immigration
  • Gun Violence 
  • Education
  • Care for Creation

Catholic Conference of Ohio Urges Support for Ohio's Heartbeat Legislation

Conference and many others testify in support of SB 23

The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports passage of SB 23, the Heartbeat bill. This version of the bill generally prohibits a person from aborting an unborn child whose fetal heartbeat has been detected (usually around 10 weeks). The bill also establishes the Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support. The bill is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services and Medicaid Committee.

The Catholic Church teaches that every child, at every moment of existence, deserves love and the protection of the law. We do not believe any person or government has the right to take the life of an innocent human being.

The Heartbeat bill will challenge the current legal precedents to abortion. With new changes in the United States Supreme Court, it is our sincere hope that this legislation will withstand constitutional challenge and be implemented in order to save lives.

Sponsor Testimony by State Senator Kristina D. Roegner

February 19, 2019 Proponent Testimony on SB 23

Catholic Conference Action Alert

Catholic Conference of Ohio Urges Support for the "Protect Trafficked Minors Act": SB 13

Bill will help protect children up to age 18 from human traffickers

The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports passage of SB 13, the "Protect Trafficked Minors Act". This bill will help protect minors up to age 18 years old from being “trafficked”. Currently, only children up to age 16 years old are fully protected under Ohio law. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio believes it is important for Ohio to continue strengthening protections for victims of human trafficking. SB 13 provides yet another series of helpful changes. Such changes will help ensure that minors up to age 18 will have a greater degree of protection under Ohio law.

Sponsor Testimony from Senator Teresa Fedor

Catholic Conference of Ohio Action Alert

Ohio Senate Amends and Passes Gun Bill that Keeps Ohio's Current "Duty to Retreat"

Catholic Conference of Ohio Supported and Advocated for this Change

Amended Substitute HB 228 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 19-10.  The House concurred by a vote of 59-21. The Catholic Conference of Ohio opposed the provision within HB 228 that would have substantially expanded the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat when under a perceived threat of violence. This provision was removed from the bill prior to passage.  The governor has indicated that he will veto this bill due to other provisions in this legislation. The Senate needs 20 votes to over-ride a veto; the House needs 60.

Hannah News Story

Watch the Sente Floor Debate

 

Catholic Conference of Ohio Urges Caution in Enacting Legislation Changing Ohio's "Duty to Retreat" Provisions in Self-defense Situations

HB 228 makes changes to current "retreat" standards as they relate to the use of guns and other defense weapons

HB 228 recently passed the Ohio House by a vote of 65-32.  The Senate is expected to hold hearings this November and December.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio has a long-standing concern over changing provisions that may weaken one's "duty to retreat" in self-defense situations.

In a previous statement, the Ohio Bishops wrote:  "[We] believe that the duty to avoid violence (retreat), when possible, is an essential component of self-defense and respect for life. Defending one’s life can, at times, justly require the use of lethal force, but the use of lethal force should be a last resort and of absolute necessity. Other criteria for deciding between retreat and force include the imminent threat to life and the need for a proportional response. Our Church’s teaching cautions that if a person in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it is immoral [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2264].

The Bishops also encourage that HB 228 be expanded to include provisions from the Governor's workgroup on addressing gun violence.

Watch the House floor debate here

  

Catholic Conference of Ohio Adds Voice to Legislative Action Addressing Gun Violence

Coalition representing Ohio medical professionals, clergy, teachers, school counselors, law enforcement and mental health advocates urge passage of HB 585 and SB 288

This joint letter to Ohio legislative leaders reflects the need for urgency in passing constructive legislation addressing gun violence.

"Within this past month alone, Americans have grieved for those killed or injured in three school massacres and our nation continues to average more than one shooting at a school per week. This issue is not going away and we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this violence won’t happen here – because it has. And it will again.

We urge the Ohio General Assembly to take action the package of sensible reforms contained in HB 585 and SB 288 – reforms developed by a bipartisan group representing both sides of the issue. We believe these bills and their common sense reforms would have the support necessary for passage, if only they can be brought to the floor for a vote."

Click here for the full letter

USCCB President Issues Statement of Concern Regarding Recent Immigration Policies

Changes Regarding Immigrant Asylum and Family Separation Causing Irreparable Harm And Trauma

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo issued the following statement during the USCCB Spring General Meeting addressing recent immigration policy changes that are harmful to immigrants.

"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policymakers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.

Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero-tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."

Additional information on Immigration and Migration

Recent Ohio Deportation Raid Not Serving the Common Good of All

Ohio Bishops reiterate call for comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform

Ohio Bishops Daniel Thomas (Toledo) and Nelson Perez (Cleveland) issues letters of concern regarding the June 5, 2018 deportations raids in the Sandusky Ohio area.

In a recent statement ( April 2017),  the Ohio Bishops issued a joint statement encouraging legislative support for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform  They wrote in part:

At both the state and national levels, our Church has long spoken out in favor of policies that ensure safety and compassionate treatment for immigrant and refugee persons and families in need. We continue to call upon Congress to address our broken immigration system through a comprehensive reform that improves security and creates more legal and transparent paths to immigration.  As for enforcement, we do not advocate for the breaking of laws.  Yet, we do urge for a more humane enforcement of these laws in a way that distinguishes between actual criminals and otherwise law-abiding, undocumented immigrant family members.  We believe immigration officials should prioritize removal to those who are real threats to public safety...
Ohio does not benefit from separating good families and traumatizing children in our schools who each day live in fear of finding that their mothers or fathers are no longer at home to greet them. In these instances, justice should be sought, but the punishment should be commensurate with serving the good of the family unit, which is the fundamental cell of all society.


Read Bishop Thomas statement
Read Bishop Perez statement

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Reacts to Policy Separating Families at U.S./Mexico Border: “Children are Not Instruments of Deterrence”

More Information on immigration

Payday Lending Reform Passes Ohio House

Advocacy Moves to the Senate

 

 HB 123 will help protect borrowers from excessive payday lending fees while allowing lenders to maintain reasonable cost-of-business fees.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports passage.

Under the bill:

• Payday lenders would be prevented from operating as credit service organizations or mortgage lenders or under Ohio’s Small Loan Act. 

• A limit on the annual interest rate would be set at 28 percent, plus allowing a monthly 5 percent fee up to $20.

• Monthly payments would be limited to 5 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income.

 

USCCB Committee on Migration Chairman Endorses USA Act and Calls for Immediate Legislative Solution for Dreamers

The USA Act is a compromise bill that while not perfect, is one step our country can take in the direction of protecting Dreamers now. The border security measures in the USA Act, as currently written, are reasonable and do not include the building of the Wall.

The Catholic Bishops will not continue support for the USA Act if there are substantive changes or additions in interior enforcement, eradication of protection of unaccompanied children and asylum seekers and cuts to family-based immigration. The USA Act would protect and provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship as long as they satisfy residency, age and education, military or employment requirements. Additionally, H.R. 4796 augments border security with the use of new technology; and increases staffing resources for immigration courts to carry out their work.
 

Background Information 
USCCB Letter of Support

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