Advocacy

Stop the death penalty in Ohio. Contact Governor Kasichand urge him to halt all executions.Writing your legislators? Use these tips.

Are you concerned a judge has acted improperly in a court case? See our step by step explanation of how to file a complaint against a judge.

Not sure who represents you in the statehouse or U.S. Congress? Don’t know your zip+4? Click here to find out.

Check out our legislative priorities for the Ohio General Assembly this session.
We look forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to:

See the current Ohio General Assembly Committee Hearing Schedule for legislation with a civil liberties component.


Current Action Alerts

  • Keep Ohio Politicians Out of Our Personal Health Care Decisions!

    Ohio lawmakers are once again attacking our rights to privacy and reproductive freedom.

    We need your help to keep politicians out of the personal health care decisions of Ohio families!

    House Bill 248, commonly known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” bans abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected. It is now being rushed through the post-election session of the Ohio General Assembly, and was passed by a House committee after only one hearing that was announced at the last minute.

    If Heartbeat Bill passes, we will file a lawsuit to protect families’ private medical decisions.

    Fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, oftentimes before many women even know they are pregnant. This means that families across Ohio will not have the full range of health care options when making private decisions about their medical care. The bill also provides no exception for victims of rape or incest.

    If and when HB 248 is passed into law, the ACLU will challenge it in the courts. Similar laws in Arkansas and North Dakota have already been struck down by courts.

    Families deserves to make their own health care decisions privately, not with a legislator looking over their shoulder. Please take a moment to ask House Speaker Bill Batchelder to keep HB 248 from a vote on the House floor.

    Here’s a sample email to get you started.



  • Stop a Sneak Attack to Make Executions Secret

    UPDATE: On November 19, 2014, the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee voted 9 to 4 to approve House Bill 663. The bill then went before the full Ohio House of Representatives on November 20, 2014, where it passed 61 to 25. HB 663 now goes to the Ohio Senate.

    If you have not taken action—or even if you have already contacted Chairman Mike Dovilla—we still need your help to stop this bill. We have modified the letter below so that you can contact Senate President Keith Faber, asking him to hold this legislation and not move it forward this year.


    Have you heard about the latest sneak attack by Ohio lawmakers?

    They want to keep the public and the courts from knowing virtually anything about executions. They plan to pass this legislation imminently with almost no public discussion. Help stop this sneak attack now!

    It’s no secret that Ohio has had major problems with executions. In under a decade, there have been four botched executions. Now legislators want to make sure the public and courts will be kept in the dark about what happens in the execution chamber, shrouding all aspects of lethal injections in secrecy.

    Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, we all must agree that executions must adhere to our Constitution and basic human decency. By removing all transparency and accountability, it will be impossible for us to know whether lethal injections are humane and legal.

    Secrecy only undermines public trust. The stakes are especially high because Ohio wants to use unregulated compounding pharmacies to supply lethal injection drugs. These companies’ drugs are not monitored for safety and efficacy, meaning another botched execution is even more likely.

    We don’t need more problems with our executions, and a hastily passed secrecy bill is a recipe for disaster. Please take a moment to ask Senate President Keith Faber to hold this legislation and not move it forward this year.

    We’ve already prepared language to get you started.



  • Private prisons are bad for Ohio. Stop the government from imprisoning immigrants for profit.

    Prisons for profit are a multi-billion-dollar industry that depends on, and profits from, our national addiction to incarceration. Handing control of prisons over to for-profit companies is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and misconduct. Private prisons create dangerous atmospheres with a severe lack of oversight, and do little to encourage rehabilitation.

    You can take action to stop this company from profiting off housing immigrants at the Youngstown federal prison.

    The National ACLU released an in-depth report about immigration prisons run by for-profit companies. Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System, highlights several problems with criminal alien requirement prison including:

    • prison staff using extreme isolation arbitrarily and abusively;
    • lack of appropriate medical care;
    • policies enforcing overpopulation and a lack of programming and recreation;
    • preventing family members from visiting loved ones held in detention;
    • a culture of secrecy leading to a lack of transparency and accountability.

    Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is a private, for-profit company that is contracted to operate the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. CCA is currently under FBI Investigation for running a “gladiator prison” in Idaho among other concerns. CCA has only one bottom line: money.

    CCA took over operations of the Youngtown federal prison in 1997. Within a year, several prisoners were stabbed and two were murdered. Six escaped. The prison closed for a few years, then reopened, still under CCA management. Conditions there were so bad at one point that prisoners had to bring a lawsuit just to make the place livable. Things are not much better now.

    CCA also purchased the state prison Lake Erie Correctional Institute in Conneaut, Ohio in 2011. In its first 18 months of operation, the facility saw an 187.5% increase in inmate on inmate violence, a 300% increase in inmate on staff violence, and rising levels of drug contraband leading to two heroin overdoses. State inspections found dozens of violations including inmates without access to running water and defecating in plastic bags, resulting in fines of nearly $500,000.

    CCA’s contract to house immigration prisoners at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center ends in 2015, but is set to be renewed this year.

    Tell the Federal Bureau of Prisons to end its contract with Corrections Corporation of America to stop housing immigration prisoners to generate profit. Take Action Now! We’ve already prepared language to get you started.