A Press Release from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, from March 22, 2017.
Right of local community self-government advances
Yesterday, the Ohio Ballot Board unanimously approved two proposed state constitutional amendments, determining they each meet the single subject requirement. A legal representative of the people, community members, and several members of the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN) attended the hearing to voice their support to the Ballot Board members.
Ohio residents are advancing the Ohio Community Rights Amendment and the Initiative and Referendum for Counties and Townships Amendment. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted residents and the OHCRN to draft and legally review the measures.
Gwen Fischer, a member of Portage County Community Rights Group, helped gather initial signatures for the measures. She stated, “The people working on Community Rights in Ohio know that it is standard practice for our state legislature to propose and pass laws that violate the single subject rule in the constitution, so it was gratifying to see the Ballot Board not apply a stricter standard to the people.”
The Ohio Community Rights Amendment codifies the right to local community self-government, enabling local governments to protect and expand fundamental rights and prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights. It also secures the authority of communities to put in place stronger environmental rights and protections than those recognized at the state, federal, or international level.
The Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships amendment extends the right to initiative and referendum to residents living in townships and counties. Today, only city and village residents can exercise their inalienable right to propose and repeal laws. However, nearly 39% of Ohio’s population resides in townships. They do not have the same constitutional right to legislate. This amendment extends equal rights to local self-government to all Ohio residents, regardless of where they live. MORE…