Home Rule Authority
Written by Brian Massie
May 7, 2020
When we have reached out to the State authorities for help in dealing with the antics of local authorities, we continually get the same response: “We have no jurisdiction in the matter, because we have “home rule” in the State of Ohio. So what exactly is “home rule”? Here is a good website that explains the concept of “home rule”:
Excerpts from the website:
Ohio cities have flexibility under Ohio law to establish laws in accordance with the powers of local self-government, otherwise known as Home Rule Authority. The relevant provisions of the Ohio Constitution were enacted in 1912 and read:
Municipal Powers of Local Self-Government. §3 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 laws.
Home rule; Municipal Charter. §7 Any municipality may frame and adopt or amend a charter for its government and may, subject to the provisions of section 3 of this article, exercise thereunder all powers of local self-government.
Based on these constitutional allowances, cities can legally establish laws on matters of local self-government that may conflict with state laws as long as the state laws in question are not “general laws” or “laws of a general nature.” There is no hard and fast rule in Ohio to establish what is a “matter of local self-government” or what is a “general law.”
Law of general nature refers to an enactment that relates to a subject matter common to all persons within a state.
LFC still has questions that we will try to get answered:
(1) Do the current rulings of shutting down the economy by Governor DeWine and his Medical Director, Dr. Amy Acton constitute “laws of general nature”?
(2) Does Governor DeWine’s edicts of shutting down the State of Ohio and preventing Ohio businesses from opening up supersede the County Commissioners’ authority of what happens in their county?
(3) How is the Lake County Sheriff involved in this whole process? Will he enforce unconstitutional laws? Does he “have the back” of the average citizen, or is he just another political hack worried about his pension? (This is something we will pursue.)