During this season of teshuva we “return” to our spiritual homes, to the best versions of ourselves, and let us also return to our called roles as God’s partners in repairing our broken world. This year, Reform Jews are traveling from every corner of Ohio to join together at the Statehouse following our High Holiday season.
We will be lobbying for two issues: gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform. We identified these issues listening to our members and conducting research. We arrived at these two because they are issues our community cares deeply about and now is a strategic moment to act on them in Ohio, due to bipartisan support for bills with the potential to be passed by our state legislature. During the listening and research process, we also affirmed our commitment to taking action on reproductive rights, health and justice in the coming year.
Join RAC Ohio for Lobby Day
November 13, 2019 at the Statehouse in Columbus
9:00 – 3:00
Network with Reform Jews from across Ohio who care about Justice.
Learn about our state level political system and how we can act strategically.
Advocate for the issues our community cares about: Gun Violence Prevention and Criminal Justice Reform.
Start the day by learning about our issues and how our Jewish values call us to act upon them. Meet with your local delegations to prepare for lobby visits before attending to legislative meetings with your elected representatives.
Light breakfast and boxed lunches will be provided.
Tentative Agenda for Lobby Day
9:00-9:30 Light breakfast and check-in
9:30-10:00 Learn together about our issues, why we are called to act on them and how they impact our communities
10:00-11:00 Learn how to lobby and prep with your delegation
11:00-1:00 Legislative meetings with House and Senate representatives
1:00-2:30 Lunch, debrief and closing program
Once you register, you will be invited to join an optional webinar to provide more information about our bills and how to lobby at the Statehouse.
Frequently asked questions
What is RAC Ohio?
The Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the organizing project of Ohio’s Reform Jewish congregations and communities. We come together to work powerfully on issues that advance our Jewish values in the public sphere by supporting state-level bills and engaging in the civic process of our state.
What happens at Lobby Day?
We will spend time learning about the issues that RAC Ohio is working on this year by studying relevant Jewish texts, hearing from individuals who are directly impacted and learning the basics of the bills we are supporting. Participants will then break up into small groups based on region to prepare for their legislative meetings before heading off to meet with our representatives to lobby for the bills we are supporting. We will come back together for lunch, a debrief, next steps and the closing of our day.
What are we lobbying for?
We will lobby for criminal justice reform and gun violence prevention. We arrived at these two issues after a listening campaign where we had hundreds of conversations with Reform Jews across Ohio. These two issues represent the intersection of what our community cares about and what we are able to make a difference on in our state right now.
- Criminal justice reform: Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 1 are criminal justice reform measures that would chip away at mass incarceration and help Ohioans struggling with substance use disorder get treatment instead of prison time. SB3 makes many drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony, changing the way the conviction follows an individual throughout life and improving the ability to move on and get clean. HB1 would expand treatment in lieu of conviction and record expungement.
- Gun violence prevention: We are asking our representatives to support Governor DeWine’s STRONG Ohio proposal to expand background checks and make it easier to separate individuals deemed a threat from their guns through involuntary commitment. We feel the proposal doesn’t go far enough, so in addition to asking our representatives to pass the bill we will also demand universal background checks to save more lives in Ohio.
How will I know how to lobby?
Remember – your legislators work for YOU. As a citizen of Ohio, you are just the right person to meet with your elected officials and let them know what you think about the legislation they will be voting on. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up in a meeting, that is fine and your presence is still essential. We have strength in numbers and by just being there you make a difference! At Lobby Day we will spend some time talking about what happens in a legislative meeting and the “Do’s and Don’ts” of lobbying. Participants will have a chance to prep for their own meetings in small groups and there will be RAC staff present to help your process. Larger meetings will have meeting leaders who have experience lobbying. We will use a template to describe what should happen in the meeting and allow your group to fill in who will lead which aspect of the meeting. If you would like more preparation, we encourage you to attend one of our pre-lobby day webinars. Once you register, you will receive an email inviting you to join one of two optional webinars all about the contents of our bills and how to lobby for them. The webinars will be recorded in case you cannot make it.
What do I need to bring?
For security screening, bring your driver’s license and try to avoid large bags and items. We will provide a light breakfast and coffee for those who arrive before 9:30 AM and boxed lunches for everyone at 1:00 PM. If you will get hungry before 1:00, pack snacks and water. Bring a pen to take notes and an open mind ready to learn with your fellow Reform Jews.