Ohio Community Rights Workshop in Bowling Green February 17, 2018

WHAT’S HAPPENING? The Nexus pipeline threatens communities across northern Ohio, including Bowling Green. BGSU students and residents are organizing to stop the pipeline and protect their community from the increasing harms from climate change. As part of their organizing, they are hosting an Ohio Community Rights Workshop. In this workshop, the Ohio Community Rights Network and CELDF explore why we don’t have the power to establish protections and stop fracking, compressor stations, pipelines, and others harms facing our communities. We look at how the corporate state overrides local democratic decision-making and forces unjust practices into our communities. And we delve into what communities are doing to elevate the rights of communities and nature over the corporate state. WHEN? Saturday, February 17, 2018   8:45 AM-5:00 PM WHERE? Bowling Green State University 219 Olscamp Hall Bowling Green, Ohio 43403 JOIN US! Registration is required by February 15th (link coming soon!). Cost: $35 for non-students, $20 with valid student ID. Registration includes curriculum and lunch. Free parking! For more information, contact environmental.action.group.bg@gmail.com or call...
Ohio Activists Push Amendments to Restore Community Rights

Ohio Activists Push Amendments to Restore Community Rights

Ohio activists are joining ballot efforts around the country that supporters say are aimed at restoring rights to communities to challenge a growing list of corporate incursions. The oil-and-gas industry says their amendment would devastate Ohio’s economy. Nov. 28, 2017, at 3:17 p.m. By JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Activists in Ohio are joining efforts around the country that supporters say are aimed at restoring rights to communities to challenge a growing list of corporate incursions. The campaign to pass an Ohio Community Rights Amendment stems from mounting frustration among environmental groups that have failed for years to push anti-fracking measures onto local ballots. But the latest effort is broader, said spokeswoman Tish O’Dell. State laws are making it increasingly difficult for communities to regulate predatory lending, puppy mills, wireless equipment location, minimum wages, pesticide treatments and a host of other issues, O’Dell said. “Only a century ago, we the people wrote laws that corporations followed,” said O’Dell, a community organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. “That’s what it should be again: The people should be writing laws that corporations follow, non-living entities. It’s like we’ve created a Frankenstein that we now can’t control.” Two constitutional amendments proposed in Ohio would prevent further setbacks from election officials, courts and the state’s Republican-led state Legislature, O’Dell said. Similar efforts are underway in Oregon and New Hampshire. An earlier attempt failed in Colorado. The first would extend the right of initiative and referendum enjoyed by residents of municipalities to those living outside them, in counties and townships. The second, dubbed the Ohio Community Rights Amendment,...
Ohio local governance amendments certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio local governance amendments certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine

By Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com jborchardt@cleveland.com COLUMBUS, Ohio — Efforts to give Ohioans more power to pass and enforce local laws that might conflict with state laws gained initial approval Monday. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday certified petitions for two proposed amendments to the state constitution: the Ohio Community Rights Amendment and the Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships. DeWine’s certification is the first in a long series of steps for the measures to appear on a statewide ballot. The community rights amendment would establish a constitutional right to local community self-government for the “health, safety and welfare of community members.” The county and township amendment would extend Ohio’s constitutional right to initiative and referendum on state and city laws to county and township laws. The amendments were drafted to address what supporters say is growing influence from the Ohio Statehouse on local, community decisions. The amendment is backed by the Ohio Community Rights Network and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Tish O’Dell, the legal defense fund’s Ohio organizer, said communities should be able to pass local laws to regarding the environment, predatory lending, minimum wage, puppy mills and other issues without being preempted by state legislators. “We believe people locally have the right to certain things,” O’Dell said. “Just because it isn’t in our federal constitution doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to expand our rights locally.” Colorado and Oregon have passed community rights measures in recent years, according to amendment backers. The amendments now go to the Ohio Ballot Board to determine whether each amendment is one or multiple issues. Once approved by the...
Two proposed amendments get initial OK

Two proposed amendments get initial OK

By Marty Schladen The Columbus Dispatch Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday announced that he had OK’d the first batch of signatures for each of two efforts to amend the Ohio Constitution. Both are intended to keep moneyed interests from overriding the will of local voters by pressuring the Ohio General Assembly, said Tish O’Dell, spokeswoman for the Ohio Community Rights Network, the four-year-old-group pushing the amendments. “It’s ‘we the people,’ not ‘we the corporations,’” she said. One of the measures is the Ohio Community Rights Amendment. “This amendment secures the right of local, community self government for the people of Ohio by guaranteeing local authority to enact laws to protect the unalienable rights and the health, safety and welfare of community members and natural ecosystems, free from state pre-emption or corporate interference,” it says. O’Dell said it’s intended to keep the legislature from overriding local ordinances such as Grove City’s puppy mill ban or a predatory lending law in Toledo. The Ohio General Assembly overrode both, O’Dell said. The other measure, The Initiative and Referendum Amendment for Counties and Townships, would give residents in those bodies the ability to initiate statutes and referenda. “Currently, they don’t have the same rights as cities and villages do,” O’Dell said. Both measures are a long way from becoming part of the Constitution. So far, 1,000 signatures have been validated for each. Now the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendments each contain a single issue or multiple issues, the attorney general’s office said. Then supporters must gather a number of signatures equal to 10 percent of the total number who...