Local Democracy in Ohio is Being Threatened by the State Legislature
Ohio Chapter’s Effort to Defeat SB 222 / HB 242 Moves to the State Senate.
The Miami Group supports the Sierra Club – Ohio Chapter’s decision to oppose HB 242 and SB 222. We’re asking you to join the Club’s effort to prevent the passage of this bill. Your participation is crucial and you can help by acting! Start by participating in the club’s “Keep Local Democracy In Ohio – Say No to SB 222 Campaign”
Local Democracy in Ohio Is Being Threatened at the Statehouse : The campaign page provides easy to use tools for contacting your representatives, employing social media, volunteering and recruiting friends to the effort. You choose how involved to become.
If you prefer to personally write, e-mail or call your local legislator, the link below can help identify your representative. This link will connect to Ohio’s official representative search tool.
Learn more about Ohio Senate Bill 222 and House Bill 242 here…
Home Rule authority was adopted to the Ohio constitution in 1912. For county and municipal governments, it established and defined their authority to pass laws within their jurisdictions. Since then, local governments have been largely empowered to manage the affairs of their communities. The Home Rule amendment states “Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general law”. Clearly, the citizens of Ohio decided their interests would be best served through local governance, but Home Rule does have limits. The phrase “as are not in conflict with general law” contained in the text of the amendment allows the Ohio legislature to pass laws that can and often do supersede local ordinances.
For instance, in 2006 the legislature struck down local laws regulating public employee residency requirements. Other examples include laws preempting local control of guns, fracking and the minimum wage.
In the current legislative session Home Rule is under threat again. This time law makers are being influenced by powerful commercial interests who are determined to continue the dominance of plastic packaging the retail and restaurant markets. On December 11, 2019, House Bill 242 was approved by representatives and forwarded to the senate of consideration. In the Ohio senate the legislation is titled Senate Bill 222. If packaging industry lobbyists succeed in changing state law, your ability to influence decisions on local matters through city or county government could be severely limited. The legislation would restrict local governments’ from making decisions concerning litter and solid waste disposal. It would specifically preclude local governments from enacting legislation to place fees on plastic cups, bags and other single use containers.
Modern society’s over-reliance on plastic is recognizable problem. America’s poor recycling habits are exacerbating a growing solid waste disposal crisis. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported for 2017 that Americans generated 267.8 million tons of solid waste. That amounts to roughly 4.5 five pounds per person a day and we manage to recycle only 25% of the trash we generate.
Closer to home, about 22 million pounds of plastic flows into the Great Lakes every year and The Ohio EPA Solid Waste Management Council has determined that Ohio has just 40 years of available land fill capacity. Because our disposal capacity is reaching its limits, Ohio communities will need to shift their solid waste management efforts to conservation. Fees on single use plastic containers are proven effective in prompting conservation and reducing litter and solid waste. For example, in Chicago, a small fee on single use bags led to a 28% reduction in the use of disposable bags and a Los Angeles’ ordinance led to a 94% reduction in single-use bag usage. If SB 222 / HB 242 becomes law the Ohio legislature will have eliminated a proven method that could be employed to reduce solid waste.
Regardless of your approach to politics, conservative, progressive or independent minded, there are numerous good reasons to oppose passage of this legislation. Participating in the Add Up campaign will send a message directly to your representatives. The Miami Group’s Legislative Action Committee has created a document that details a variety of solid conservative and progressive reasons to oppose HB 242 & SB 222.
Finally, if you would like to join with fellow Miami Group volunteers to stop SB 222 and HB 242 and address other environmental justice issues, consider attending a meeting of our Legislative Action Committee. This committee works to keep members and the public informed on legislative activity. The Legislative Action Committee objectives and mission statement can be accessed here.
Any questions? Email our Volunteer Coordinator: [email protected]