HB160 Hearing: here’s everything you need to know.

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We’re receiving a hearing on the Ohio Fairness Act for the first time in 9 years.

It’s a big deal.

The Ohio Fairness Act adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio. That’s right––in most parts of Ohio, it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

You can read it, if you want.

 

You’re welcome to attend. Many are planning on it.

We don’t know the exact room yet, but we know the general details. We’ll update this post when we know more.

Ohio Statehouse
Room 313 (ask the security guard for directions)
Wednesday, January 31st at 9:30am (if you’re speaking, please arrive at 9:00-9:15am)

If you’re arriving by vehicle, there is a parking garage under the statehouse. Sometimes it’s full, but there are many surface lots nearby and a large garage a few blocks away. Plan extra time for parking.

You can find us by the hearing room. We’ll be the ones with the clipboards––come say hi and sign in.

 

If you do come, you’ll want to know these things.

  • During the hearing, there is no talking, no recording, no taking of pictures or video, and no heckling. These rules are strictly enforced.
  • There is no dress code, but the lawmakers will be dressed for business in a suit or jacket, so dress in a way you feel comfortable in that environment.
  • You will have to pass through security with a metal detector to get into the statehouse.
  • We suggest you don’t bring large bags or backpacks.

 

Will there be anti-LGBTQ extremists there?

This testimony is proponent-only: so only people that support the bill will be speaking.

 

I’m not going. How do I keep up?

Join this Facebook event. We’ll post updates specific to the hearing in it. Follow Equality Ohio on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Equality Ohio’s email list.

 

Anybody can provide written testimony––whether you attend or not.

We have collected and will be submitting testimony for many people.

Examples of people who have provided testimony:

  • Individuals who believe Ohio would be a better place if it were welcoming to everybody
  • Business leaders and owners
  • Parents of LGBTQ children, both grown and younger
  • LGBTQ people, including those who have experienced discrimination
  • Faith leaders and people of faith
  • Public officials

If you are interested in providing testimony, we can help.

 

What’s another way I can help?

Call 614-401-3756 and follow the instructions. You will thank the Speaker of the House and the Committee Chair for the hearing. If you want to guarantee you reach voicemail, call after 5.

 

This isn’t just the LGBTQ community versus the world. We have friends.

Ohio Business Competes is a coalition of businesses, colleges and universities, law firms, nonprofits and more that are in support of fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws in Ohio.

There are hundreds of organizations that make up Ohio Business Competes, and many will be testifying alongside us.

Ohio Business Competes is a project of ACLU of Ohio, Equality Ohio, Human Rights Campaign, and TransOhio––and those four organizations are also working hard to make this hearing as successful as it can be.

 

Testimony is just one part of the lawmaking process. There will be work to do after this testimony.

This testimony will not determine if the bill becomes a law, but it is a part of the process.

Here’s how it works.

A lawmaker creates a potential law and it gets assigned to a committee.

The committee may take the bill and do something with it, or leave it at the bottom of the stack and ignore it. If the committee does something with the bill, it typically receives testimony. There are four different kinds of testimony: sponsor, proponent, opponent, and interested party.

If a committee votes on the bill in a positive fashion, the bill moves to the entire chamber for a vote. If both chambers (the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate) pass the bill, it goes to the Governor for a signature.

This work takes sustained pressure. Please consider supporting Equality Ohio with a monthly donation of $10.

 

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