The civility consortium was started under the banner of the Ohio State Bar Foundation in Columbus, but has now moved to the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics for a more academic setting. During the first meeting, ideas were discussed about how the media, faith groups and even judges can have an impact on civil discourse. Ted Celeste is with the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and says their “Next Generation” project is focused on state legislators, since so many of them go on to serve nationally.
“It’s not just across-the-aisle communications. Both parties have now fractured quite a bit so there’s a hard left and there’s a hard right. And so it’s a very difficult task for leaders to be able to have their own caucus function.”
One of the meetings focused on the divisions in state legislatures, and whether those would be alleviated by removing term limits and allowing lawmakers to serve together for longer periods of time. Celeste says that could be related to another issue he’s seeing.
“More and more folks are not spending time socializing and so without that dynamic of learning about each other and knowing each other’s families, all you do is – from your partisan perspective – you’re vying for leadership [and] majority. As opposed to, ‘we have some work to do together.’”
Ohio’s term limits were set in 1992 as eight consecutive years, which equates to four terms in the House or two in the Senate.
The Ohio Civility Consortium’s next meeting is slated for late January in Columbus and will focus on the 2018 campaign.