Innovation Ohio joins Progress Now affiliates in mourning the tragic and untimely loss of our friend and colleague, Conen Morgan. Conen was a true champion of progressive causes and did the work to make our democracy stronger every single day. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Morgan family, and all of Conen’s colleagues and friends during this difficult time.
Innovation Ohio Education Fund is pleased to announce A Justice Agenda for Black Women and Girls.
This report focuses on ways in which currently pending or passed state-level policy harms or holds back the lives of Black women and girls. We examine ways in which housing, workforce, and education policies create barriers for Black women and girls face in their lives and in seeking justice. We will then offer policy solutions for state-level policy makers to implement in order to close the gap on discriminatory policies and practices.
We know that the experiences of all black women and girls are not the same. Every community has unique challenges and obstacles. However, what we do know is there are patterns of discriminatory systemic disadvantages in housing, employment, and education that are both paramount foundational requirements for economic success and larger barriers for Black women and girls. We hope you find this report and its recommendations vital to overcoming real challenges to address systemic barriers.
Innovation Ohio is thrilled to share our 2022 Annual Report with all of you. As a trusted voice in Ohio’s progressive community, our goal has always been to build and scale the essential elements of infrastructure, research, communication, and policy to defeat the extremist’s agenda and ensure a multi-cycle progressive comeback in Ohio.
This year, under Desiree’s ongoing leadership, we met the moment by creating a competitive strategy for the 2022 election cycle. Our projects reached Ohioans in every corner of the state and the midterm elections showed the national strength of progressive causes and advocacy efforts.
In partnership with BallotReady, we launched the Ohio Voter Guide, a new, nonpartisan, interactive tool for the 2022 election season, providing Ohioans with vital information prior to casting their ballot. The guide was a huge success, with 1 in 8 Ohio voters using it to make informed decisions at the voting booth.
Additionally, our Comms Hub and Research Hub continue to provide two vital resources to Ohio’s progressive community. The Comms Hub coordinates weekly communications activities, rapid-response, and media outreach efforts for more than two dozen allied progressive organizations, while the Research Hub, in partnership with other progressive organizations, provides resources for research and polling through a subscription model.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to our continued progress and success in the coming year.IO 22 Annual Report option 1 by Lily Furgeson
HJR1 referred to House Constitutional Resolutions Committee
COLUMBUS — Today, Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio, condemned House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR1), a proposed constitutional amendment that increases the passage thresholds of new amendments to 60% of the vote, up from a simple majority.
“HJR1 is a blatant power-grab by special interests and corrupt politicians, which seeks to undermine our democracy and silence the voice of the people”, said Desiree Tims. “This amendment shreds our constitution as we know it and is a direct attack on the rights of Ohio voters. We condemn it in the strongest terms possible.”
A similar proposal from the last General Assembly, HJR6, failed to receive enough support in the Ohio legislature and eventually died in lame duck session. HJR1, however, contains more limits to citizen-driven ballot initiatives and creates unnecessary burdens to signature gatherers.
“This amendment undermines the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote,” said Desiree Tims. “Ohio has a rich history of citizen-led ballot initiatives. If this amendment is passed, it will undermine majority rule and give a small number of voters (just 41%) the power to block initiatives that a majority of Ohio voters support. We need to protect our freedom to determine our own future in Ohio.”
We call on all Ohioans to stand up for our freedom and democracy, and reject this attempt to take away our rights. We urge our elected officials to listen to the people, not special interests, and reject this proposed amendment.
After hours on Friday, January 6, 2023, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 458 (HB 458) into law. While originally proposed in 2021 as a 15-page bill intended to eliminate most August special elections, the final 157-page version amended by House Republicans and enacted by DeWine, features an extensive list of alarming updates to Ohio’s election laws, including: a photo identification (ID) requirement for all voters, including provisional voters and those confined in Ohio jails or hospitals; the elimination of early voting on Mondays before Election Day and the six additional hours it provides voters to cast their ballots; a prohibition against a single 24/7 ballot drop box at county Boards of Elections (BOE); and the requirement that absentee ballots be requested sooner and received by BOEs by the close of polls on Election Day, regardless of their postmark date. Touted as an opportunity to promote election integrity, voting rights organizations across the state rightfully beg to differ.
In the days leading up to the passage of HB458, the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Ohio branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among other progressive organizations, protested the law’s failure to address the anticipated impact of this law on Ohio’s most vulnerable communities. According to Innovation Ohio’s President and CEO, Desiree Tims: “Experts tell us that as many as 11% of Ohio adults do not have a driver’s license or state ID card. Younger Ohioans are driving less, and many older and low-income Ohioans do not drive. That’s over 800,000 eligible adults who would have significant trouble voting under HB 458. If Governor DeWine values the freedom to vote and civil rights of Ohioans, then he will veto HB 458.”
Tim’s sentiments speak to the burden associated with obtaining a photo ID that will disproportionately fall upon poor, disabled and transient citizens that do not presently meet the requirements under HB 458; populations overrepresented by women and members of Black and immigrant communities. In practice, the cost of transportation to and from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) where IDs must be obtained, and the administrative hassle associated with compiling the documents necessary to present to BMV officials, will operate as a sort of poll tax, and thus deterrent, for those who historically were able to provide various alternatives to photo ID as proof of identity at polling locations. Recent developments have also confirmed that certain Veteran ID cards will also be excluded from those accepted at BOEs; disenfranchising the very citizens whose sacrifices make American democracy possible.
This past December, North Carolina’s Supreme Court struck down a voter ID law for its disparate impact on Black voters and proof of discriminatory intent. Hoping for a similar outcome, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans and Union Veterans Council filed suit against Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank Larose and the 88 BOEs that will enforce the law. Arguing that it “will severely restrict Ohioans’ access to the polls—particularly those voters who are young, elderly, and Black, as well as those serving in the military and others living abroad” and “imposes needless and discriminatory burdens on Ohioans’ fundamental right to vote” in violation of the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Plaintiffs are prepared to exhaust all legal remedies to protect Ohio voters.
Until the courts reach a resolution, advocates must focus on educating their constituents regarding these sudden changes to Ohio’s election law, name those responsible for its enactment and prepare for an ultimately unfavorable decision in light of the Ohio Supreme Court’s composition. In doing so, voters will be empowered to recognize their allies and dispel the myth that Ohio Republican’s obsession with election integrity is anything more than voter suppression in disguise.
As part of Innovation Ohio’s role in supporting Ohio’s progressive infrastructure, we occasionally commission research to equip us and our partners with an understanding of the mood of the electorate and of policy solutions that will best improve the lives of working families. Research is vital to our organization’s ability to connect the dots between activism, advocacy, and policy making.
Today, we are sharing the results of a new poll of just over 2,000 Ohio registered voters, conducted online from July 5 – July 10 on the GrowProgress platform, on the state of the race for US Senate. In it, we find that Democrat Tim Ryan leads Republican J.D. Vance by 5 points, 46%-41%. Conducted over a month after our last poll and after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade, the poll shows Republican voters remain reluctant to throw their support behind extremist J.D. Vance. Vance’s support among Republicans sits at 81%, while Ryan secures 90% of Democrats.
The share of voters who are undecided fell from 15% to 13% this month, driven primarily by movement among Republicans, 9% of whom remain undecided, compared to 14% last month. Republican support for Ryan increased from 7% to 10% during the same period.
Ryan’s advantage also increased from last month among key groups. Ryan leads by 23 points with women (54%-31%), up from 19 points last month (50%-31%) and among voters under the age of 30 by 18 points (48%-30%), up from 12 points (44%-32%) last month.
The poll also shows Ryan holding substantial leads among black voters, and those with a college degree. Vance, meanwhile, maintains an edge among white voters, those ages 55 and up and non-college voters.
“While Congressman Ryan consolidates support with key demographics, MAGA Republican JD Vance is losing ground and in the hole,” said Innovation Ohio President Desiree Tims. “Not only is Vance failing to gain any ground among Ohio voters over the last three months, his campaign is asking out-of-state donors to bail out his campaign debt. That’s not how you win in Ohio.”
“Rep. Sarah Fowler Arthur’s anti-Semitic remarks are both disgusting and dangerous. Her extreme views perpetuate some of the atrocities we are seeing on the news right now in places like Ukraine.
“People who hold these views do not belong in public office and should definitely not control our Ohio children’s curriculum.
“I call on the Ohio House to immediately and permanently stop HB 327 from moving forward.“
**Click here to send an email to Ohio legislators demanding that HB 327 be removed from all further consideration.**
Ohio HB 248 puts lives at risk. It would ban employers, schools, and others from requiring or even incentivizing vaccines. It would weaken Ohio’s vaccination laws in several ways.
HB 248 is expected to receive more Statehouse committee hearings soon. Committee hearings are often scheduled with very little advance notice.
We strongly encourage Ohioans to write their opponent testimony now — so it can be ready at a moment’s notice.
Want to testify against this bill? Or submit written-only testimony? Follow this process:
HOW TO SUBMIT TESTIMONY (in-person OR written-only):
- 1. Write your testimony.
- 2. Fill out a witness slip.
- Copy/paste this generic witness slip into a Word document and email it along with your testimony.
- Important: Send your witness slip as a PDF file!
**STOP HERE — wait for the next bill hearing to be announced. Then proceed to Step 3**
- 3. Email your testimony and witness slip to Rep62@OhioHouse.gov (Chairman Lipps) AND firstname.lastname@example.org (Ranking Member Russo).
- Send both documents as two separate PDF files!
If you’re submitting written-only testimony, that’s it! You’re done! You officially testified! If you’re testifying in-person, see below.
- 4. Arrive at the Statehouse before the committee is scheduled to begin.
- Park either in the garage underneath the Statehouse or the Columbus Commons Parking Garage.
- Note: you’ll need to go through a metal detector when you arrive.
- You can ask the security guards to direct you to the committee room where your hearing is being held.
- 5. Bring a printed copy of your testimony with you to read in front of the committee (you do not have to read your testimony word for word).
- 6. You may also want to bring copies to hand to reporters – You can contact reporters ahead of time to let them know you (and your group) will be testifying!
Chairman Lipps, Vice Chair Holmes, Ranking Member Russo, and members of the House Health Committee, Thank you for allowing me to testify today. My name is ________. I am [basic bio about yourself]. I am strongly opposed to House Bill 248, the anti vaccination bill. [Then tell them why HB 248 is so bad! Make it short and sweet - a few paragraphs is perfect. Tell a personal story. Or explain why your job experience gives you perspective on the bill. Maybe cite statistics or studies to back up your claims] I ask you to consider my testimony and vote NO on this [harmful / dangerous / embarrassing / etc.] bill. Thank you again for the opportunity to testify. [IF TESTIFYING IN PERSON] I will now take any questions you may have.
AFTER YOU ARE FINISHED SPEAKING, legislators may ask you questions.
- They are more likely to ask questions if you provide data/statistics or present yourself as having professional experience related to the bill.
- This part of the process can be incredibly persuasive! But be prepared to back up your testimony!
Questions? Email Rachel Coyle: Coyle@InnovationOhio.org