Will The Real Governing Body Of People Please Stand Up

Stand your ground, heartbeat bill, pastor protection, embryonic personhood, every new born shall possess a gun, if they cannot afford it, one will be provided for them…Just some of the endless priorities for legislation once electioneering days have passed. In the Ohio state house currently is House Bill 625 which “prevent[s] cities from passing taxes or bans on plastic bags and other disposable containers.” (Ohio House votes to block local bans, fees on plastic bags by Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com, 11-28-18) “Several business groups have supported the bill, including the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, the Ohio Grocers Association, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association.” “The bill’s other co-sponsor, state Rep. George Lang of Butler County, echoed that [State Rep Scott Lipps’] sentiment. “The market can regulate itself – it doesn’t need the government to get involved in every aspect of what they do,” he said.” Licking County recently experienced ditto above with Kent Mallet reporting: Public opposition derails proposal for Licking County contractor registration (The Advocate 11-27-18). “The proposal, the result of a contractor registration review committee meeting monthly since March, would have required contractors to register with the Licking County Building Code Department prior to starting work. The registration would have been required for general, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, refrigeration and hydronics contractors. The fee was set at $100 annually for each contractor, with a $300 fine for failure to comply.” “The resolution, however, was on the commissioners’ Tuesday agenda with 24 others. The commissioners usually vote to approve all the day’s resolutions in one vote, but occasionally remove a resolution before approving the rest. McKean Township Trustee Dannette McInturff said, “They completely ignored the governing body of the people they’re trying to regulate. It is a shame the way it had to be brought to light. If not, it would have passed today. It is on the agenda for today.” For anyone confused the ”contract registration review committee” is comprised of the usual suspects, area business people, which likewise comprise McInturff’s “ignored governing body of the people.” Likewise this was never broached during the midterm’s contested commissioner race. “And, some said the issue should have been debated before the recent re-election of Commissioner Rick Black. Hanover Township Trustee Heath Smith told Black, “You get re-elected and two weeks later you’re trying to push this under the table. I think that’s kind of shoddy there.”” What if the “governing body of the people” takes the lead? Turns out there’s an app for that too. Ohio lawmakers seek to make it harder for voters to change state constitution (Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com, 11-28-18). “House Joint Resolution 19 comes after Ohio legislative leaders lamented what they said was a “cottage industry” set up to put frivolous amendments on the statewide ballot. Under the resolution, 60 percent of Ohio voters would have to approve a proposed constitutional amendment for it to pass. Currently, any proposed constitutional amendment — including HJR 19 itself — needs a simple majority of “yes” votes to take effect. It would also move up the deadline to submit the hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to put a proposed amendment on the ballot. That deadline is now in early July; the resolution would move it to April 1. In addition, each petition signature would only be valid for 180 days. Right now, there’s no expiration date for signatures. HJR 19 would also change the way Ohioans can force the state legislature to pass a law. Right now, a group can force lawmakers to take action on a proposal if it gathers a number of petition signatures equal to 3 percent of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election (that number is 129,553, based on this year’s gubernatorial vote). If lawmakers don’t pass the measure within four months, proponents can gather signatures from another 3 percent of voters to put the proposal on the statewide ballot. Under the resolution, the initial signature requirement would be raised to 5 percent of the last gubernatorial vote. But if lawmakers don’t pass the measure within four months, it would go directly to the statewide ballot without needing any additional signatures. In addition, any law passed in this way couldn’t be altered or repealed by lawmakers for one year after its passage, under the resolution.” Paper or plastic? Another instance of something completely not on the horizon pre midterm election but now in play would be: Cleveland aims to provide free legal representation for tenants in eviction cases (Leila Atassi, cleveland.com, 11-28-18). It would be modeled after an NYC program that provides attorneys for those who face eviction. The current ratio of attorneys in eviction cases representing landlords/tenants is 90% of landlords and less that 10% of tenants. ““If someone is facing a life-altering proceeding, there is no justice if one side has an attorney and the other side does not,” [Right-To-Counsel Mark] Levine said. “… We should all be outraged by that. The landlords have built a business model that uses housing court as a weapon, knowing that it’s not going to be a fair fight.” In 2017, however, after three years of demonstrations, news conferences and petitions to Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York passed legislation providing legal representation in eviction cases to all defendants whose income is 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below. Since then, the city has seen a 24 percent reduction in evictions, with fewer cases filed overall. And 84 percent of tenants with representation are staying in their homes, Levine said.” Cleveland is considering this as the cost of the program is more than offset by the savings to “the cost of sheltering families, providing social services, and educating transient youth.” Paper or plastic? Home rule for cities with initiatives like this are once again vulnerable to being shot down by a state legislature with an enormous track record of doing just that, for “the governing body of the people”. “State Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat, said businesses also have a responsibility to work to better the communities they’re located in. She also suggested that House Republicans were hypocritical when it comes to how much power local governments should have. “It’s amazing how this body selectively makes decisions on when we want to have local control versus when we don’t,” she said.” (Pelzer, Ohio House votes to block…) In Ohio, who is “the governing body of people”?

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