Action Alert: Contact Your Representatives Now to Oppose Ohio SB 83

The AHA has sent the following message below to our members in Ohio. 


The American Historical Association was alarmed to learn that our written testimony opposing SB 83, which was on the agenda to be heard at the meeting of the Ohio House Higher Education Committee on December 6, was dismissed along with the rest of the submissions from interested parties. Instead, ranking committee members moved for an immediate vote, and breezily told members they could consider testimonies “after the vote.” Although the overwhelming majority of testimony provided by individuals and organizations at this and past meetings expressed opposition to SB 83, the committee voted 8–7 to forward the bill to the full House. The decision to proceed with a vote without any consideration of accepted testimony represents an appalling dereliction of duty by the committee and reveals a lack of respect for the many Ohioans and organizations that tried to participate in what should be an open, democratic process. The AHA considers this especially ironic given the bill’s emphasis on the imperative of “intellectual diversity.” One might infer from the legislation that this committee might benefit from hearing a variety of perspectives on this heavy-handed intervention in public education. 

This is not the first time the Ohio House of Representatives has censored opposition to SB 83. In recent months, the Higher Education Committee has deliberately made the process to submit testimony opaque. They have struck and added SB 83 to the agenda at the last minute, announcing the only opportunity for opponent and proponent testimony on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday and scheduling a “possible vote” on the measure after the committee's own 24-hour deadline for public input. The AHA is dismayed at the committee’s open contempt for Ohio voters, especially given this bill’s purported ambition to promote a range of viewpoints in the state’s public institutions.

Now that SB 83 has been advanced out of the committee, it will be brought to the House floor for a vote. Despite the lack of transparency and haste with which the bill was sent through the committee, it is still possible to avert passage of this disastrous bill in the House.

We urge Ohio residents to contact your representative now in the Ohio House of Representatives to express opposition to the bill. You can use the website Plural to find your state representatives and access their contact information, including email addresses. Feel free to adapt language and examples from the AHA’s testimony or craft your own letter. If you are employed by an institution with a government relations office, you might also wish to share the AHA’s letter and your own thoughts with the office and request they contact the state legislature to oppose this damaging bill. The AHA has written to members of the Ohio House of Representatives to express our opposition to the bill and our dismay at the committee’s open contempt for Ohio voters and interested parties.