Press Release: Bowling Green Residents Tip OH Supreme Court in their Favor, Win Fight for Right to Vote

Oct 19, 2017 HB 463 – corporate state legislation to block citizen initiative – struck by Court BOWLING GREEN, OHIO:  Today, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the right of Bowling Green residents to vote, ordering their first-in-the-state Right to Climate charter amendment on the November ballot. The Wood County Board of Elections (BOE) approved the measure for the ballot last month. One resident challenged the decision, arguing in part that the substance of the initiative was unconstitutional and, under HB 463 should be kept off the ballot. HB 463 was adopted by the people’s legislators last December. The legislators granted BOEs broad authority to keep measures off the ballot based on content, making it difficult for residents to propose legislation that challenges unjust law. The Ohio Supreme Court would have none of it, striking HB 463 down as a violation of the separation of powers, and ordering the charter amendment on the ballot. The Court stated, “To the extent that [HB 463] authorizes and requires boards of elections to make substantive, preenactment legal evaluations, it violates the separation-of-powers doctrine and is unconstitutional.” The charter amendment emerged out of Bowling Green residents’ growing alarm when they learned of the proposed Nexus pipeline threatening their City’s water supply. Students and residents joined together to work with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to draft their charter amendment, which asserts the community’s right to a healthy climate, and bans the pipeline as a violation of that right. Brad Holmes, a Bowling Green University student, celebrated the decision. “When the people rise up and take action to stop climate change, state actors...
Youngstown Residents Push to Oust Corporations from Election Campaigns, Cap Contributions at $100

Youngstown Residents Push to Oust Corporations from Election Campaigns, Cap Contributions at $100

Youngstown Residents Push to Oust Corporations from Election Campaigns, Cap Contributions at $100 Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017, 3:00 pm | By Rural America In These Times In their seventh attempt to put an end to the environmental threats the oil and gas industry pose to their land, water and right to self-governance, a community rights group in Youngstown, Ohio, is attempting to amend their city’s charter in order to ban corporate interference in their local elections. With assistance from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)—a non-profit, public interest law firm that provides legal services to communities facing outside threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy and quality of life—the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee has gathered and submitted the signatures required to get the initiative, explained below, on their November ballot. Read...
Anti-Fracking Activists Seek 2 Charter Amendments

Anti-Fracking Activists Seek 2 Charter Amendments

By George Nelson | June 6, 2017 YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – “Citizens are never going to have their voices heard again unless we change the system,” said Lynn Anderson, a longtime opponent of oil and gas activity in the city and who is affiliated with the Community Bill of Rights Committee. Read full story...

Corporate State Attempts to Choke Off Citizens’ Initiatives

by Tish O’Dell JANUARY 28, 2017 On December 8th, wrapped in a bill addressing foreclosures, HB 463 was adopted by legislators who see citizen initiated legislation as a threat to the interests of their corporate masters rather than as the will of the people they are duty-bound to serve. The state senate quietly and secretly added language unrelated to the subject of the foreclosure bill. The clause granted Boards of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State the authority to block citizens’ initiatives at the local level based on their opinion of the content. Read Full Article...