The Ohio legislature recently passed SB33, a bill “that could bankrupt churches linked to fossil fuel protests” – but Republican Governor Mike DeWine could still veto it by January 13.
SB33 is a clear violation of first amendment rights, which makes peaceful protest at oil and gas and other infrastructure sites felonies with high fines and prison sentences. It is part of a wave of bills in state legislatures across the country directly targeting churches, grassroots organizations and other groups for climate advocacy. Over 3,000 people have signed a petition asking the Governor to veto SB33, but calls and emails are still needed to keep up the pressure.
Rev. Joan VanBecelaere, executive director of UU Justice Ohio, was quoted in HuffPost as an Ohio resident affected by this bill:
“The fact that this could have an impact on some tiny little church in the middle of Appalachia that’s trying to protect its people from pollution really pisses me off, which I realize is not very theological language. But this is not just protest, it’s a public witness of who we are as faithful people.”
The Ohio governor has until Wednesday, January 13 to veto the bill — can you take five minutes to contact him and make sure this bill doesn’t get signed?
UU Justice Ohio has created a toolkit to help you easily send a letter or make a phone call about this issue:GO TO TOOLKIT