Catholic Conference of Ohio
Monday, January 21, 2019

News & Press - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Church Leaders Welcome Passage of the FIRST STEP Act Through Congress

The First Step Act is a true first step towards long-term criminal justice system reform.

The FIRST STEP Act provides meaningful reform to our nation’s mandatory minimum sentences and “three-strike” policies. This reform provides a more just and equitable criminal justice system. In addition, the Act provides valuable incentives for prisoners to participate in vocational and rehabilitative programs helping to prepare them for reintegration into society. The Act also reauthorizes the Second Chance Act which provides access to meaningful local and faith-based programs that help returning citizens contribute to their communities and families.

Ohio Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto on the Gun Bill; Fails to Override the Heartbeat Bill

While the Ohio House voted to override the Governor's veto of the Heartbeat bill by a vote of 61-28, the Senate vote failed 19-13 (20 votes were needed for an override).  The bill will be reintroduced in the next General Assembly.

The Governor did sign legislation that prohibits dismemberment abortions: SB 145

Both the House and Senate voted to override the Governor's veto of the Gun Bill, HB 228.

U. S. Farm Bill Passed

The final five-year farm bill sets policies and reauthorizes farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development, agricultural trade and other programs. It protects domestic and international nutrition programs, maintains crop insurance and commodity subsidies for farmers, especially those who are struggling while strengthening support for rural communities and employment training programs.

Catholic Rural Life, along with its partnering organizations, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul commend Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) for their leadership in negotiating a bipartisan, compromise Farm Bill.

Ohio's 132nd General Assembly Winding Down

Possible vetoes will determine the fate of several life-related legislation

The Ohio Legislature is expected to return on December 19 and December 27 to wrap up the 132nd General Assembly.  Legislation not passed by January 1, 2019, must be reintroduced in the next Assembly. Much will depend upon whether the House and Senate will attempt to override any Governor vetoes (including vetoes made in the 2017 budget bill).  The Governor has indicated that he may veto the Heartbeat bill (HB 258), the gun bill (HB 228) and the pay raise bill (SB 296).  The Senate needs 20 votes to override; the House needs 60. 

 

Ohio House Passes "Heartbeat" Legislation

Bill prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

HB 258 passed the House by a vote of 60-35.  This legislation generally prohibits an abortion after there is a fetal heartbeat detected; applies penalties to physicians violating this prohibition; allows for civil actions related to the "wrongful death of an unborn child"; establishes further ways to promote adoption; addresses other compliance measures.

The Senate is expected to consider this bill over the next several weeks.

The Conference supports the life-affirming intent of this legislation and will continue assisting in efforts aimed at resolving differences related to specific language and strategies. In the end, the Catholic Conference of Ohio desires passage of legislation that can withstand constitutional challenge and be implemented in order to save lives.

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

  

Ohio House Concurs on Payday Lending Reform

Governor Kasich expected to sign

Substitute HB 123, as passed by the Senate, was agreed to in the Ohio House by a vote of 61-24.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio joined with other faith communities in calling for the reform of Ohio’s payday lending practices.  Substitute House Bill 123 provides consumer protections consistent with the intent of Ohio’s 2008 Payday Reform Act. This bill 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 lending models that provide fair and helpful loans for persons in need. In the teachings of our faith, we have many warnings about usury and exploitation of people.  Lending practices that, intentionally or unintentionally, take unfair advantage of one’s desperate circumstances are unjust. Catholic Social Teaching demands respect for the dignity of persons, preferential concern for the poor and vulnerable, and the pursuit of the common good.  These principles coupled with our teaching on economic justice animate our questioning of current payday lending practices.

Watch the House concurrence debate

Release from Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform

Watch the Senate floor debate

Ohio House Passes Pastor Protection Act

Provides the State with Clarity and Intent

Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Sidney), the sponsor of HB 36, said it aims to relieve the tension between the religious beliefs of some and the decision of the courts to uphold same-sex marriage, rather than see a flurry of lawsuits on the issue. Vitale said the bill states ministers and religious societies are not required to solemnize marriages or allow the use of their facilities for marriages that do not conform to their sincerely held religious beliefs.  The chamber also voted to attach an amendment from Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) stating that, in the event of a conflict with the state's general public accommodation law, HB 36 would take precedence. The bill passed 59-29.

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony on HB 36

Watch the House floor debate here

Ohio House Passes Bill Protecting the Right of Religious Expression In Schools

Clarifies that students have the rights of religious conscience

 HB 428 (Ginter-LaTourette), the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2018,  would protect the right of students to engage in religious activities to the same extent secular activities are allowed in school and have the same access to school facilities.  The bill passed 62-20

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testimony

USCCB Reacts to Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Praise Free Speech Ruling, Expresses Disappoints Regarding Labor Ruling and Travel Ban Ruling

Chairman of U.S. Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice & Human Development Expresses Disappointment in SCOTUS Ruling on Janus v. AFSCME. Click Here

Chairmen of U.S. Bishops’ Migration Committee and Religious Liberty Committee Express Disappointment with Supreme Court’s Ruling in Travel Ban Case. Click Here

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee Praises Supreme Court’s Respect for Free Speech in NIFLA v. Becerra Decision. Click Here

RSS