Ohio Supreme Court Rules Against Secretary of State

Decides in favor of communities’ right to initiative; bars chief elections officer from keeping duly qualified initiatives off the ballot – even those involving fracking FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 16, 2015 Contact: Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer tish@celdf.org, 440-838-5272   COLUMBUS, OH:  Today, the people’s constitutional right to vote on local County Charter initiatives was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Court ruled that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted – who claimed “unfettered authority” to keep Home Rule county charter initiatives off the ballot – has no such prerogative.   On August 13th, Mr. Husted blocked citizens from voting on Home Rule Charter initiatives in three counties, declaring, “I find nothing to materially limit the scope of my legal review,” including ruling on the substance of the initiatives. The measures included provisions on fracking infrastructure development, alarming the oil and gas industry. Mr. Husted handed them a victory in his decision to remove the measures from the ballot. In doing so, he trampled on the rights of the people. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State on behalf of community members in Athens, Medina, and Fulton Counties, seeking to restore the initiatives to the November ballot.   In addition to barring Mr. Husted from keeping community measures off the ballot based on substantive review of the content, the Court also ruled that, because the charter initiatives did not create a new form of government, they cannot be on the ballot this November. Communities had kept the existing governmental structure intact, while adding initiative and referendum powers to residents....

Vote NO State Issue 2

Issue 2 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that will appear on the ballot in the November 2015 general election. Initiated by the Ohio General Assembly, the stated intent of Issue 2 is to thwart passage of the “Marijuana Legalization Amendment” sponsored by the Responsible Ohio PAC, due to its approach toward marijuana cultivation (allowing only 10 growing sites in Ohio). Issue 2 has far-reaching consequences. It could forever change the ability of “We the People” to engage in direct democracy, especially when our legislators cannot or will not. Tough enough already. The process of fielding a citizen-led ballot initiative in Ohio is already far more costly, complicated and cumbersome than it is in other states, where initial filings and committee procedures are easier or the required number of signatures and geographic regions are smaller. Issue 2 would make this process even more complex. The end result would silence the voice of “We the People” in favor of the legislature. In summary, Issue 2 is about far more than thwarting monopolies. Its real purpose is to quash the citizen-led ballot initiative process that has been part of the Ohio Constitution since 1912. It can be argued that these measures have been instrumental to gaining public acceptance of controversial issues like same-sex marriage, collective bargaining and marijuana. Issue 2 will change these long standing procedures, while politicizing the process clearly to favor the political party in power. It would require campaigns for even the most worthy issues to undergo the arduous, time consuming and multi-million dollar ballot placement process only to have three politically appointed members of the...

Climate Crisis Solutions: Tools for Transition September 25-27, 2015 Yellow Springs, Ohio

Saturday, September 26th 3:50-5:00 Presentations and Workshops, Antioch Campus Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and Fracking the Commons with Tish O’Dell and John Morgan “Building sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.” We believe that we are in the midst of an escalating ecological crisis, and that the crisis is the result of decisions made by a relatively few people who run corporations and government. We believe that sustainability will never be achieved by leaving those decisions in the hands of a few – both because of their belief in limitless economic production and because their decisions are made at a distance from the communities experiencing the impact of those decisions. Therefore, we believe that to attain sustainability, a right to local self-government must be asserted that places decisions affecting communities in the hands of those closest to the impacts. That right to local self-government must enable communities to reject unsustainable economic and environmental policies set by state and federal governments, and must enable communities to construct legal frameworks for charting a future towards sustainable energy production, sustainable land development, and sustainable water use, among others. In doing so, communities must challenge and overturn legal doctrines that have been concocted to eliminate their right to self-government, including the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights, preemption, and limitations on local legislative authority. Inseparable from the right to local self government – and its sole limitation – are the rights of human and natural communities; they are the implicit and enumerated premises on which local self government must be built. Read More...
Government and Gas Industry Team Up Against Local Fracking Ban Initiatives in Ohio

Government and Gas Industry Team Up Against Local Fracking Ban Initiatives in Ohio

BY SIMON DAVIS-COHEN – SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 State officials hire industry-affiliated law firms to defend their efforts to block ballot measures Last week the Supreme Court of Ohio upheld the Ohio Secretary of State’s decision to remove from this November’s ballot, measures by Medina, Fulton, and Athens  counties that would have banned hydraulic fracturing and related infrastructure projects. However, in a separate ruling, the court allowed the city of Youngstown to proceed with an anti-fracking charter amendment and ordered it be placed on the November 3 ballot. Read More Here  ...