Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Current Legislation

Urge Senators Portman and Brown to prioritize the poor and vulnerable in the next COVID-19 relief package

Final days of negotiations on a COVID-19 relief bill

Families and individuals are facing immediate hardships: rent is due, food prices are rising, layoffs continue, access to healthcare is being lost, and those who are most vulnerable in the criminal justice system are not being adequately protected from the coronavirus. As followers of Christ, we are called to create a society where the needs of the poor and vulnerable are always considered first. Tell your Senators to act now to support those who are poor and vulnerable during this pandemic.
 

Bishop Chairmen Call for Better Police Formation and Accountability

Letter sent to all members of the U.S. Congress regarding police accountability and reform

 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, have sent a letter to all members of the U.S. Congress to offer reflections and principles for police accountability and reform.

"...Law enforcement officers perform a great and needed service; they serve to promote justice and the common good in society. But it is clear that there have been too many failures in serving everyone, with tragic consequences. There must be better practices for formation and accountability for police, certainly in the use of lethal force, but also in patterns of discrimination and prejudice, so that real accountability can happen before more lives are lost..."

"...Several policy proposals currently before you appear to take steps in the right direction. These include collection of data on use-of-force, training towards de-escalation, work to end racial profiling, doing away with chokeholds, using body cameras, greater accountability and means of redress regarding those who exercise public authority, and a commission to study the issue further and make additional recommendations. It is clear that long term commitment is needed to prevent further tragedies, especially greater accountability in bad uses of force as well as greater emphasis on promoting the common good of all..."

Bishops Welcome U.S. Supreme Court Decision On DACA

Decision Prevents Trump Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

 Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the USCCB and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’ Committee on Migration issued a statement that welcomed the decision to continue DACA, urged the Administration to reconsider terminating the program, called upon Congress to pass immigration reform, and reiterated the Church's love and concern for DACA families.

 

Governor DeWine Continues to Issue Death Penalty Reprieves

Pending Executions in 2020 Rescheduled

Governor DeWine continues to grant execution reprieves (eighteen to date).  Kareem Jackson, Stanley Fitzpatrick, and David Sneed had their execution dates rescheduled for 2022 and 2023. The governor cited ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine for this action. The Conference continues to promote an end to the death penalty.

Ohio Senate Committee Passes Death Penalty Limitation Bill

HB 136 Bans Executions of Seriously Mentally Ill Persons

On June 3, 2020 the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 136 that prohibits the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness.  The bill now goes before the full Senate.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio strongly supports passage of this legislation.

Persons are encouraged to contact their Senator asking for their support.

 

Care for the Poor and Vulnerable Urged in Further Consideration of COVID-19 Relief Legislation

U.S. Bishops send numerous letters to Congress

 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wrote:

"...As Congress turns once more to considering additional relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus should be on those most in need—the poor, the vulnerable, and people on the margins—to offer them some hope and assistance in desperate circumstances. Since early April, some of my brother bishops and I have sent five letters to express this touchstone principle to Congress and its various committees..."

Governor DeWine Unveils Plan to Responsibly Restart Businesses

Plan Phases-In Openings; Keeps Stay-At-Home Order

According to the Governor's press release, the guiding principles of the Responsible RestartOhio plan are protecting the health of employees, customers, and their families, supporting community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly getting Ohio back to work. 

"We put this plan together based on all the information we have about how dangerous COVID-19 still is right now, balanced with the fact that it's also dangerous to have people not working," said Governor DeWine. "COVID-19 is still out there. It's still killing people. We're asking Ohioans to be reasonable and rational. Please don't take huge chances, and please use common sense when you go out and where you go out."

Bishops Urge FDA to Develop Ethical Vaccine for COVID-19

Encourages FDA to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to use only ethical cell lines or processes for producing vaccines

Four bishop chairmen of committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have urged Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure that vaccines for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.

"...It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience. Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines..."

USCCB Leaders Issue Letters to Congress

Call for additional emergency appropriations and policy changes

USCCB committee chairpersons have identified additional areas of need in addressing the COID-19 crisis. Letters have been sent to the members of the various congressional committees considering a fourth CARES Act.

The bishops commend the swift and bipartisan action already taken and express appreciation for the helpful provisions that were included in the legislative packages enacted so far.  They write: "As bishops of the Catholic Church at the service of all God’s people, we stand ready to work with you to advance the common good during this global and national health emergency, including by promoting the dignity and value of all human life and by protecting poor and vulnerable people who are most at risk. Accordingly, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to use the money and policies in these bills to fund and promote life-affirming policies and not to advance the destruction of innocent human life. 

As you contemplate additional emergency appropriations, we urge you to please consider the following requests, organized by subcommittee..."

Overview Letter related to additional Appropriations
Letter related to Health, Catholic Education and Labor Issues
Letter related to Finances, Tax Relief, Employment Needs
Letter related to Judiciary Concerns of Immigrants and those in the Criminal Justice System
Letter related to Vulnerable Migrant Populations

The Ohio Dept. of Education Resumed Applications for Traditional EdChoice Scholarships on April 1, 2020

Eligible Parents Encouraged to Contact Their School of Choice

The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation on March 26, 2020 addressing emergency needs due to the coronavirus. Among the provisions where changes and clarifications regarding the traditional EdChoice Scholarship Program.
 

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