Recently, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled that the proposed county charters in Medina, Athens and Fulton do not meet the basic legal requirements to go on the ballot and according to Husted are a “violation of provisions of statutory and Ohio constitutional law.”
According the Secretary’s press release:
“The issue of whether local communities can get around state laws on fracking has already been litigated,” Secretary Husted said. “Allowing these proposals to proceed will only serve a false promise that wastes taxpayer’s time and money and will eventually end in sending the charters to certain death in the courts.”
As many of you know a group called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a law firm, has been pedaling these anti-development charters and charter amendments in Ohio since early 2012.
Here is a quick recap of where the CELDF has been active this year:
Portage County – The petitions were never submitted due to lack of signatures.
City of Columbus – The petitions were submitted but failed to make the ballot due to lack of valid signatures.
Medina County – Husted decision removes these petitions from the ballot.
Fulton County – Husted decision removes these petitions from the ballot.
Athens County – Husted decision removes these petitions from the ballot.
Meigs County – The petitions have been submitted however the County Commissioners and Board of Elections has not placed the issue on the ballot. CELDF has appealed.
City of Youngstown – Yes, for a 5th time CELDF has submitted petitions even though the last four times the effort has been met with resounding defeat at the ballot box.
Village of Gates Mills – Pending submission. This effort was defeated by 68% last November.
City of Akron – Pending submission.
The reason Husted decided on the issue in the first place is that in each of the counties, where a charter form of government would have been created, is that many local elected, business, community, agricultural and labor leads joined together and submitted a form protest and asked the Secretary of State’s office to review the petitions and to not place them on the ballot. Considering the strong legal case they made siting both state preemption as well as the Ohio Supreme Court case and the fact that they are not valid charters, Mr. Husted made the right call to prevent the waste of taxpayers’ dollars in each of these counties saying “the issue has already been resolved.”