Catholic Conference of Ohio
Saturday, February 4, 2023

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Current Legislation

CCO Commends Governor DeWine for Proposed Significant Investments in Children and Families

The Governor Released His Executive Budget on January 31, 2023

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine for proposing significant investments in Ohio’s children and families through his Executive Budget. We are particularly pleased that the budget proposes a $2,500 per child state tax deduction. For several years, the CCO and USCCB have advocated for a child tax credit on the state and national levels. Further, Governor DeWine’s proposal eliminates the state sales tax for vital infant supplies, such as diapers, strollers, and car seats. In education, the budget calls for expanding Ohio’s EdChoice scholarship program to families at or below 400% of the federal poverty level. If enacted, more Ohio families can access the school of their choice, including Catholic schools. The budget also provides funding for school safety resource officers and increases past budget line items for public and private school students. Other measures that the CCO supports include the expansion of Ohio’s Bold Beginning Initiative and incentives to create more affordable housing options.

With these proposals, the Governor’s budget affirms the Catholic Church’s teaching that the family must be supported and strengthened through just public policies. The Catholic Conference of Ohio looks forward to advocating for these proposals in the months ahead, along with other measures that assist families with children in Catholic schools and programs that help poor and vulnerable Ohioans. 

CCO Testifies on Bills to Enhance the Ability of Charitable Pharmacies to Provide Medication to Uninsured and Underinsured Ohioans and Promote Religious Freedom of Higher Ed Students

Last week, the Catholic Conference Ohio testified in support of two bills. HB 558 would enhance the ability of charitable pharmacies, hospitals, and nonprofit clinics to serve those needing expensive, life-saving medication. The CCO cited the tremendous work of St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacies in their efforts to help many low-income Ohioans and how this bill will allow them and other agencies the ability to receive and distribute expensive medication. HB 353 requires each state institution of higher education to adopt a policy providing students with religious accommodations. CCO's testimony emphasized that an essential duty of government is to protect the religious liberty of its citizens.   

CCO Testifies on Bills to Protect Religious Gatherings and Promote Eastern European Immigrants

During the first week of Ohio’s lame duck period, the time after a general election and before a new General Assembly, the Catholic Conference of Ohio testified in support of two bills. HB 504 would specifically address penalties for disturbing a religious gathering. The bill was introduced in response to protestors disrupting the Diocese of Columbus’ Respect Life Mass and several gatherings of Ohio’s Jewish community. See the CCO’s testimony in support of HB 504 here. The Conference also testified in support of SB 46, which would create an office and commission on Eastern European affairs. The testimony noted the Church’s call to promote and integrate immigrants, and the vibrancy Ohioans of Eastern European origin bring to our Catholic churches.

CCO Testifies on Bills to Protect Religious Gatherings and Promote Eastern European Immigrants

During the first week of Ohio’s lame duck period, the time after a general election and before a new General Assembly, the Catholic Conference of Ohio testified in support of two bills. HB 504 would specifically address penalties for disturbing a religious gathering. The bill was introduced in response to protestors disrupting the Diocese of Columbus’ Respect Life Mass and several gatherings of Ohio’s Jewish community. The Conference also testified in support of SB 46, which would create an office and commission on Eastern European affairs. The testimony noted the Church’s call to promote and integrate immigrants, and the vibrancy Ohioans of Eastern European origin bring to our Catholic churches.

Call for "Radical Solidarity" and Action Supporting Women and Families

Policy Recommendations for the Church's Vision of an Authentically Life-Affirming Society

Several of the USCCB's Bishop Chairmen released a letter to Congress with policy recommendations that cohere with the Church’s vision for an authentically life-affirming society that prioritizes the well-being of families. They wrote in part, “There are serious cultural, social, economic, and spiritual challenges that face women, families, and children today. These are challenges that concern the common good. Ensuring that no children grow up in poverty, that parents have time away from work to care for them, that families are formed and remain intact, that the healthcare necessary for healthy moms and children is affordable, that workplace policies respect pregnant and nursing mothers, that child care is affordable and high quality but also not forced on families by financial pressures, that no children are hungry or homeless, that toxic chemicals do not cause babies to have birth defects or cancer, that immigrant families be treated in accord with their inviolable dignity – all of these goals require the cooperation of all and the exclusion of none. Goals like these cannot be achieved by individual efforts alone and will necessarily require collaborative work on the part of our government leaders.”  

The Catholic Conference of Ohio continues policy advocacy on the state level to help make Ohio more life-affirming, especially for women and families. We’re grateful to Governor DeWine for his recent proposals to enhance Ohio’s Bold Beginning Initiative, which would make Ohio more welcoming and hospitable to women and children. We look forward to further promoting the Church’s vision for all people to flourish and contribute to the common good throughout Ohio.

See the full letter HERE.

CCO Fall Newsletter

Check out the latest news from the CCO and subscribe now

Check out the most recent Catholic Conference of Ohio newsletter by clicking "read more" below. Subscribe to receive our newsletter through email here. We look forward to sending newsletters and advocacy alerts to you through our new advocacy platform.

Labor Day Statement 2022

Statement Focuses on Promoting the Welfare of Working Families

The USCCB recently issued their annual reflection on the world of work and the importance of upholding the dignity of all laborers. In the reflection, Archbishop Coakley reiterated support for improved public policy to support working families, such as expanding the Child Tax Credit and passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Join us in Ohio by advocating for state policies that are pro-women, pro-family, and pro-worker. This unique time calls us to witness emphatically for authentic, life-affirming social policies. 

Read the full statement HERE.

Postpartum Medicaid Coverage expanded up to a Full Year

The Conference commends the General Assembly and DeWine Administration

With approval from federal agencies, Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers in Ohio increases from 60 days to a full year – the maximum allowable by federal law. The Conference commends the General Assembly and the DeWine Administration for enacting this measure in the current state budget under HB 110. According to Catholic Social Teaching, legislation and budget priorities promoting a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, including mothers and babies, is essential for a flourishing society. The Catholic Conference of Ohio continues advocacy for initiatives that allow all Ohioans to thrive and contribute to the common good, regardless of their income level or stage of life.

Conference testifies in support of the Human Life Protect Act

HB598 supports the dignity and worth of human life from conception to natural death

Catholic Conference of Ohio Executive Director Jerry Freewalt testified in support of HB 598, the Human Life Protection Act. This legislation would help Ohio further a culture of life and a community of care that allows each person to flourish no matter their circumstance or stage of development. With representatives from other pro-life organizations, medical, and legal professionals proponents of the legislation offered their support for a bill that would ensure that every child, at every moment of existence, receives love and the protection of the law. 

Use our Action Alerts to get involved and let your elected officials know that you support life from conception to natural death.

Conference Applauds Passage of Sacred Spaces Act in Ohio House

HB 504 the Sacred Spaces Act will allow all Ohioans to worship in peace 

The Catholic Conference of Ohio applauds the passage of HB 504 the Sacred Spaces Act that has been passed unanimously by the Ohio House of Representatives, and looks forward to the bill’s consideration in the Ohio Senate. We encourage you to reach out to your State Senator to support the passage of this bill. The Conference prays that the adoption of the Sacred Spaces Act will allow all Ohioans to worship in peace.