This Article addresses how Ohio’s Home Rule provision in the Ohio Constitution has played out as legislators grapple with efforts to ban plastic bags from stores. It discusses the complexities of the Home Rule doctrine in Ohio, especially as it relates to the competing authority of state, county, and municipal governments. The Article discusses the history of Home Rule in Ohio, and the pre-emptive relationships between the competing governmental entities stemming from the existence of County and Municipal Charters that also grant legislative powers. It explains that the opting out of plastic bag bans by Ohio municipalities is a valid exercise of Home Rule power. The Article further examines how Home Rule has played out in other states where there is a tension between entities that wish to ban plastics and those who want to ban any bans. The Article suggests that even though Home Rule tends to be a partisan issue in which conservative legislators seek to limit the power of municipalities, many municipalities in both conservative and liberal states have been successful in enforcing plastic bag bans. The Article concludes, however, that after the quarantine, conservative legislators have returned to partisan lines in attempting to limit the power of municipalities. In Ohio, this has resulted in the Ohio Legislature enacting legislation prohibiting the development of alternative energy sources in some counties. The Article suggests that the return to partisan politics in Home Rule issues will make it much more difficult for counties and municipalities to act on their own in efforts to improve the environment.
Christine Mika and Karin Mika,
Bans on Bags or Bans on Bans?: A Home Rule Analysis of Recent Attempts in Ohio to Enact Legislation Eliminating Plastic Bags From Stores,
71 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol71/iss3/10