Ohio Quietly Passes A Bill That Could Bankrupt Churches Linked To Fossil Fuel Protests
By Alexander C. Kaufman
December 19, 2020
The measure, part of a wave of legislation to crush demonstrations against new oil and gas infrastructure, will reach the governor’s desk Monday.
Ohio lawmakers faced fierce blowback last winter over a bill that would escalate criminal charges on fossil fuel protesters and threaten religious organizations or nonprofits that support such demonstrations with crushing fines.
By then, the state Senate had already passed the proposal, known as SB-33. At House hearings that lasted until early 2020, however, some 171 opponents testified against the effort they said risked chilling free speech and preventing the faithful from exercising their spiritual duties at a moment when scientists credibly argue that new fossil fuel projects doom humanity to hellish global warming. Just nine spoke in favor of the bill.