The Supreme Court of Ohio held last week that a proposed voter initiative creating a Community Bill of Rights for the City of Columbus was properly excluded from the upcoming November 2018 ballot. State ex rel. Bolzenius v. Preisse, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-3708. The initiative, had it been included on the ballot and enacted into law, would have “prohibit[ed] most hydrocarbon-extraction activities within the city and impose[d] strict liability on any government or corporation that violate[d] its terms.” Further, the initiative would have authorized any resident of the City to enforce its rights and prohibitions by bringing an action in court. Because the initiative created a new cause of action—something municipalities lack the power to do—the voter initiative exceeded the City’s legislative power. Thus, the Court found the Franklin County Board of Elections’ decision to exclude the voter initiative from the ballot was proper.
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