Statewide Constitutional Change

Currently, Ohio’s governmental and legal apparatus is being used to deny Community Rights. State laws that deny the authority of community governments to protect their health, safety, welfare, and quality of life violate fundamental rights. State laws that exempt agribusiness and fracking corporations from being governed locally place the privileges of wealth and property over the democratic rights of citizens to determine the future of their own communities. The goal of the constitutional amendment is to provide a template for the needed state-level change.

Local officials regularly confess to their constituents that they wish they could do more, but their “hands are tied” by state preemptive law. These officials are told that if they honor their oaths to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community, they will be breaking state law.

 

Oppressive state legislation and a constitutional structure that favors corporate rights above Community Rights prevent Ohio communities from having a say on the issues that are most important to them. Until Ohio communities are liberated to protect their health and safety, they will remain the subjects of their corporate- driven legislature. Recognizing the need for statewide change, a goal of the OHCRN is to draft both a statewide constitutional amendment and state legislation that will correct the situation. That state-level change envisions the liberation of municipalities and communities to expand civil and political rights for individuals and communities, recognize the rights of nature, and elevate those rights above the “rights” currently claimed by corporations and other business entities.

The Community Rights Amendment

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Ohio

In the constitution of the state of Ohio, add section 22 to Article I as follows:

Section 22. Right of Local Community Self-Government

(1) All political power is inherent in the people, all government of right originates from the people, and the people have the right to alter, reform, or abolish their governmental system whenever they deem it necessary to protect their liberty and well-being; therefore, the people of Ohio possess an inherent and inalienable right of local community self-government in each county, city, township, and village.

(2) That right shall include the power of the people, and the power of their governments, to enact and enforce local laws that protect health, safety, and welfare by recognizing or establishing rights of natural persons, their local communities, and nature; and by securing those rights using prohibitions and other means deemed necessary by the community, including measures to establish, define, alter, or eliminate competing rights, powers, privileges, immunities, or duties of corporations and other business entities operating, or seeking to operate, in the community.

(3) Local laws adopted pursuant to subsection (2) of this article shall not be subject to preemption or nullification by international law, federal law, or state law, provided that:

     (a) Such local laws do not restrict fundamental rights of natural persons, their local communities, or nature secured by local, state, or federal constitutions, or by international law; and

     (b)Such local laws do not weaken protections for natural persons, their local communities, or nature provided by state, federal, or international law.

 

(4) All provisions of this section are self-executing and severable.

 

Initiative and Referendum Amendment

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Ohio

In the constitution of the state of Ohio, add section 23to Article I as follows:

Section 23. Right of Initiative and Referendum for People in Counties and Townships

 

The people have the right of initiative and referendum, and initiative and referendum powers are hereby reserved to the people of each county and township, with such powers to be exercised in the manner now or hereafter provided by law.

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