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Issues & legislation affecting
our county & state


Township Zoning Authority Under Threat

UPDATE 5/16/24: There was an important and lively meeting of the Geauga County Planning Commission on Tuesday, May 14th.  Senator Sandra O’Brien was in attendance and fielded several questions from the Planning Commission and the audience on the Ohio Senate’s plans to usurp township zoning authority.  Her message was straightforward:  NOW is the time for residents to let the Ohio Senate know where we stand on this issue.  Please read Local Senator: Act NOW to Preserve Township Zoning Rights for details on her comments and exactly who should be contacted.  Your voice is needed!  

The Ohio Senate formed a Select Committee on Housing to investigate Ohio’s housing needs and determine whether and how the state can meet current and future housing demand.  The committee held hearings throughout the state, collected testimony from residents, industry members, and developers, and has now issued a final report, “Housing Reimagined:  Building a Solid Foundation for Ohio’s Future.” (You can download the report here.)

That report will be used as the basis for legislation which will be introduced soon in the Senate, and will aim to abolish the barriers to housing development in Ohio.  Among those barriers, according to the committee, are township zoning rights that limit high-density housing. 

For more: WATCH: Will the Ohio Senate Move to Usurp Township Zoning Authority? (Interview with Chris Alusheff)

  • Contact your Trustees by phone or email and speak with them at your next meeting.  Please visit our Local Government page and find links to your township’s website, contact information and meetings/calendar pages. 
  • Share this post and video with your fellow residents and your Trustees.  
  • Check back with FortifyGeauga.org for updates on the pending legislation or sign up for our weekly Newsletter where we will alert our readers to new developments and instructions on who to contact once legislation is introduced. 
  • Join us at our next get-together on Monday, May 20th for updates from Chris Alusheff.
Petition to Add Two Citizens to Geauga County Budget Commission

Local residents are circulating a petition to add a referendum to the ballot in the next general election (November 2024). It would read “Shall the county budget commission consist of two additional members to be elected from the county?” This petition does not name who those members will be – it simply asks Geauga County voters to decide if our county should add two elected members to the commission. See more details here.

Don’t Cuyahoga our Geauga: Know the facts on climate science

For decades, the prevailing “science” has been an alarmist drumbeat of doom, painting Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as a planet-killing poison to be feared and curtailed at all costs. But is CO2 really the monster it’s made out to be? Or is it just an easy scapegoat, used as an excuse to tax and control everything from agriculture to industry to transportation and housing? Are the methods used to measure and evaluate this “problem” sober and reasonable? Are the dire predictions and radical solutions justified?

Watch this fact-filled presentation to finally hear a scientific explanation of the issue that is not influenced by government, the main stream media, or anyone with a financial interest in furthering the climate panic narrative we have all been fed and discouraged from questioning.

Part of “Don’t Cuyahoga our Geauga” is keeping urban expansion from changing the rural character of our county. Unfortunately, Geauga County is currently tethered to the urban planning interests of Cuyahoga County through our membership in NOACA. This agency has been diverted from its original purpose into a clearinghouse of rural tax dollars being used to fund Cuyahoga-centered projects. (Please start here if you are not already familiar with this problem.)

NOACA has expanded its own mandate into a regional “Climate Action Plan” which they are using as a justification for funneling our tax money into Cuyahoga-focused urban development projects. Part of fighting this influence in our county is knowing the facts on climate science.

All Townships Should Enact a Moratorium on Processing and Sale of Recreational Marijuana

Issue 2 passed statewide in November, legalizing recreational marijuana in Ohio. There are many details in the law that are being argued and amended in the Ohio Legislature, with final decisions expected in September 2024. Townships can pass bans to keep processing and retail facilities from starting in their areas.

All Townships should have received a template document from the Geauga County Prosecutor’s office that they can use to pass a ban on these activities in your township. You can find the template and an example from Chester Township in this post.

Please contact your local Township Trustees and ask if they received the template document from the Prosecutor’s office. Urge them to draft their own document using the template below and present it at their next meting.


Example email to send your Trustees/Council Members:

Hello there!

I have received information about Townships enacting bans or moratoriums on marijuana processing & sales businesses in the wake of the confusion over the recently passed Ohio Issue 2.

I’m writing to ask if <Your Township/Village/City> has pursued a ban, and whether our Geauga County Prosecutor sent a template document regarding this. Please see the attached post from FortifyGeauga.org for details. It includes a downloadable template document and an example of how another Geauga County Township filled out the document.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
All Townships Should Enact a Moratorium on Processing and Sale of Recreational Marijuana

<Your Name>
<Township/Village/City> Resident

NOACA (Northeastern Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency)

NOACA (Northeastern Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency)

Many citizens in Northeast Ohio are alarmed by a movement underway to usurp the authority of our duly elected local officials.  This usurpation is happening at the hands of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (“NOACA” for short).  NOACA is the federally-mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (“MPO”) in effect across five Northeastern Ohio Counties (Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, and Cuyahoga)…. Click here to learn more.

Who represents YOU and your family at the local level? You might be surprised!

Did you know there is an elected representative in our County GOP who is supposed to be representing you? Every voting precinct in our county has a Central Committee representative who is elected by the people. These representatives should be making decisions that put YOUR values into practice at the local level in the GOP Central Committee. How can they do that if they’ve never met or spoken with you?

Sadly, very few people understand the structure of the party at the state and county levels. An effective, well-run Central Committee can be a very powerful body. But while we are distracted by national races in which our individual votes have little sway, the local party that is supposed to be representing us, where members are often elected by only a few hundred votes, sits mainly idle and woefully mismanaged.

It’s time for us to get on the ball. Conservatives in Geauga County deserve an effective, active party that represents our core values. Please join Fortify Geauga as we explore the purpose and promise of our Central Committee. This Spring, we will begin a series of community education sessions designed to put YOU in a position to take hold of YOUR party.

Sign up here to join our Mailing List and we will send you dates and details for future programs.

Visit our Republican Party page to find out who represents you at the county level.

Join us!

Are you a conservative in Geauga County or nearby areas? Do you value spending time with other conservatives and learning about local and state issues that affect us? We are growing our group and we’d love to have new members who can help us:

  • Research local issues
  • Research state issues & legislation
  • Help us understand and write about our county governing boards
  • Add to our growing network of active patriots
  • Reach our Geauga neighbors with important information
  • Help our elected county GOP officials connect with constituents
  • or just spend time together being unapologetically constitutionally conservative at our monthly events.

Click here to learn more about becoming a member. Make sure to join our Mailing List so we can let you know about upcoming events.

Senate Bill 6: Regards certain public entities’ governance policies (Anti-ESG)

This bill passed through the Senate and has been assigned to the
House Financial Institutions Committee. Committee hearings have not yet been scheduled. Please check back often for updates.

The bill prohibits the state retirement system boards and Administrator of Workers’
Compensation from making an investment decision with the primary purpose of influencing any
social or environmental policy or the governance of any corporation (ESG), and specifically
prohibits the Administrator from investing funds with a primary purpose of ESG. It additionally
prohibits the boards, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors, and Administrator from adopting or promoting a policy under which the board or Administrator
makes investment decisions with the primary purpose of ESG.

SUMMARY

  • Prohibits the state retirement system boards, Administrator of Workers’ Compensation, and boards of trustees of state institutions of higher education from making an investment decision with the primary purpose of influencing any social or environmental policy or the governance of any corporation (ESG).
  • Requires the state retirement system boards, Administrator, and boards of trustees of state institutions of higher education to make investment decisions solely to maximize the return on investments.
  • Prohibits a board of trustees from denying a bequest made by a decedent to an endowment because the bequest specifically requests that the donation be used for the primary purpose of influencing ESG.
  • Requires, if a board of trustees accepts such a bequest, the board of trustees to comply with any conditions of that bequest regarding that purpose.
  • Encourages a state retirement system, if the system offers a defined contribution plan, to offer multiple investment choices for members who are under that plan.

Act Now on SB 6

House Bill 8: The Parents’ Bill of Rights

One Step Closer: This bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 6/21/23 and assigned to the Senate Education Committee. HB 8 has received three hearings in the Senate Education Committee, but has not yet received a vote. Click on Act Now below for instructions on how you can help.

House Bill 8, The “Parents’ Bill of Rights” seeks to address the common-sense concerns of Ohio parents by requiring public schools to notify parents of sexually explicit content in school materials and allow parents to review such material and decide whether their children should see it.

The bill would also prohibit school staff from encouraging students to withhold information from their parents about their mental, emotional or physical health and would require schools to consult with parents on school-provided healthcare services. The bill would require school staff to inform parents about changes in their child’s health needs, unless those disclosures could lead to abuse, abandonment or neglect.

SUMMARY (Read the full Legislative Analysis)

Requires public schools to:

  • Ensure that any sexuality content is age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate;
  • Provide parents with a notice about instructional materials that include sexuality content and an opportunity to request alternative instruction;
  • Notify parents about school-provided healthcare services and the option to withhold consent or decline any specified service;
  • Notify parents about changes to the health services or monitoring provided to their children by their school related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being, or the school’s ability to provide a safe learning environment;
  • Prohibit school personnel from encouraging a student to withhold from a parent information concerning the student’s health or well-being, unless that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect; and
  • Establish a process under which the district or school must resolve written concerns submitted by parents about topics addressed in the bill.
  • Maintains that a parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.
  • Entitles the bill the “Parents’ Bill of Rights.”

Act Now on HB 8

House Bill 51: The Second Amendment Preservation Act

In response to repeated federal attacks on our Second Amendment rights, the tireless patriots at Ohio Gun Owners have been working with legislators to craft and refine House Bill 51, the Second Amendment Preservation Act. Anyone in Ohio who values our 2A rights needs to help support this groundbreaking legislation.

The Ohio Gun Owners Association website has a wealth of information about legislative efforts at the state and national level. If you value your Second Amendment rights, please visit https://www.ohiogunowners.org/ for more information. Ohio Gun Owners Association is also in support of the Constitution Protection Amendment on the ballot August 8th.

SUMMARY

  • Enacts the Ohio Second Amendment Preservation Act.
  • Removes several provisions of Ohio’s Weapons Control Law that reference federal firearms laws.
  • Excludes firearm braces and stabilizing devices from laws governing sawed-off firearms and dangerous ordnance.
  • Specifies certain federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, and regulations must be considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
  • Specifies an infringement is invalid to Ohio, must not be recognized by Ohio, must be specifically rejected by Ohio, and must not be enforced by Ohio.
  • Specifies it is the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies of Ohio to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms within Ohio’s borders and to protect these rights from infringements.
  • Prohibits a law enforcement officer from having the authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Subjects the state or a political subdivision who employs a law enforcement officer who knowingly violates the bill’s provisions, or who otherwise knowingly deprives an Ohio citizen of the right to keep and bear arms, while acting under the color of any state or federal law, to liability to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, and to a $50,000 penalty per occurrence.
  • Subjects the state or a political subdivision to a $50,000 penalty for each employee that the state or political subdivision knowingly employs who is acting as or previously acted as a federal official, agent, employee, or deputy who knowingly enforced, attempted to enforce, or gave material aid or support to others in an attempt to enforce any infringement after the bill’s effective date.

Act Now on HB 51

House Bill 73: The Dave and Angie Patient & Health Provider Protection Act

After passing the House with bipartisan support, this bill is experiencing outrageous stalling tactics in the Senate. Read more here.
Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom asks citizens to contact all the members of the Senate Health Committee and tell them the people want Representative Gross’s CURRENT VERSION of the bill adopted and NOT Senator Huffman’s version. Ohio lawmakers close to Fortify Geauga have suggested citizens should communicate IN WRITING, as letters and emails become part of the public record. This chart contains contact information for all the members of the Senate Health Committee, including quick links to email forms for each Senator. It takes only a few minutes to send a quick message to each Senator on the list. And be sure to visit the OAMF’s website to sign up for updates and calls to action on this and other important legislation.

House Bill 73 will protect health care providers’ ability to prescribe and provide off label medications and protect their freedom of speech regarding medical issues. It also provides crucial patient protections regarding medication and nutrition while hospitalized, regardless of their treatment protocol choices.

Please check back here for updates as this important legislation moves through the Legislature, and be sure to sign up for email updates from Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom.

Note: Those who would appreciate a closer reading of the bill, please note the changes that have been made to the bill since it was introduced.

SUMMARY

  • Authorizes a prescriber to prescribe an off-label drug and generally requires a pharmacist to dispense the drug, including when a patient has not been tested or screened for or exposed to a particular disease, illness, or infection.
  • Prohibits a licensing board from pursuing a disciplinary action against a prescriber who prescribes the off-label drug or a pharmacist who dispenses it.
  • Prohibits disciplinary action against a licensed health care professional for expressing a medical opinion that does not align with those of the licensing board, a local board of health, or the Ohio Department of Health.
  • Prohibits a political subdivision, public official, or state agency from enforcing any rule or order issued by a federal agency that prohibits the use of an off-label drug.
  • Prohibits a hospital from denying nutrition or fluids to a patient who has refused a hospital’s treatment intervention or standard protocol.
  • Generally prohibits the hospital from denying the patient’s standard daily medications.
  • Names the act the Dave and Angie Patient and Health Provider Protection Act.
House Bill 163: Exclude central bank digital currencies as money under the UCC

House Bill 163: Exclude central bank digital currencies as money under the UCC
This bill, sponsored by Representative Jennifer Gross, defines digital currency and rejects it as a form of money in Ohio. A Legislative Summary is not yet available. Please use the link above to read the text of the bill.

From the John Birch Society:
“Not so long ago, we saw the Canadian government shut down the bank accounts of pro-freedom demonstrators, and Big Tech companies prevent electronic payments in Russia. If a digital currency is implemented, these displays of draconian government power against its political opponents, or those with “unacceptable views,” will intensify exponentially.”

Read our Post about CBDC for more information.

Act Now on HB 163.

House Bill 183: Single-Sex Bathroom Access in Schools and Universities

Update: On April 10, 2024, this bill was passed by the House Higher Education Committee by a vote of 10-5. Next step: Speaker of the House Jason Stephens must schedule this bill for a vote among all House Representatives. Call to action: please contact Speaker Stephens and urge him to bring House Bill 183 up for a vote as soon as possible.

Listen to an interview with HB 183’s sponsor, Rep. Beth Lear.

House Bill 183, introduced by Rep. Beth Lear and Rep. Adam Bird, would require students in Ohio K-12 schools and universities to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological gender. It would also prohibit schools from allowing students to share overnight accommodations with students of the opposite sex on school-sponsored trips.

This bill would not prohibit institutions from offering single-use facilities, nor would it prevent young children or disabled people from being assisted in restrooms by family members or other helpers.

This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee. Please check back for updates as this bill moves through the legislative process.

Copy link to share: https://fortifygeauga.org/county-issues/#hb-183

House Bill 201: Prohibit Sale Restrictions on Motor Vehicle Based on Power Source

According to bill co-sponsor, Rep. Steve Demetriou, House Bill 201 “…will prevent municipalities or the State of Ohio from implementing extreme environmental regulations like California has- such as banning or phasing out combustible engines. Ohioans should have the freedom to purchase and drive any kind of car that’s best for them, regardless of the federal government’s or any other state’s climate agenda.”

This bill has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee. Check back soon to learn when hearings will be held and testimony may be submitted.

SUMMARY

  • Prohibits a state agency, township, or county from restricting the use or sale of a motor vehicle based on the energy source used to power the motor vehicle
  • Prohibits the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or any other state agency from adopting any motor vehicle emissions standards that are established by California as a result of California having received a waiver to adopt stricter standards than those required by the federal Clean Air Act (“California emissions standard”).

Act Now on HB 201

House Bill 245: Prohibits Certain Adult Cabaret Performances

House Bill 245 will prohibit adult cabaret performances in locations other than adult cabarets.

According to the bill, “Adult cabaret performance” means a performance in a location other than an adult cabaret that is harmful to juveniles or obscene and that features topless dancers; go-go dancers; exotic dancers; strippers; performers or entertainers who exhibit a gender identity that is different from the performer’s or entertainer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts, or other physical markers; or other similar performers or entertainers who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest, regardless of whether or not the performance is for consideration.

The bill also describes the following penalties:

  • Obscene performances in the presence of minors under 13: 4th degree felony
  • Obscene performances: 5th degree felony 
  • Performances in the presence of minors under 18: 1st degree misdemeanor 

Act Now on HB 245

House Bill 319: Conscientious Right to Refuse Act

HB 319 is a bill that guarantees the right of any Ohioan, 18 and older to decline any vaccine, pharmaceutical, drug, or biologic, that they have a conscientious or religious objection to without suffering discrimination, retribution, financial penalty, loss of employment, or loss of access to public services. It has a provision to allow for litigation and recoup of legal costs, if discrimination occurs. (Note: this bill does not include children because daycares and K-12 schools already have conscientious, religious and medical exemptions available.

See Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom for action items on HB 319. Fortify Geauga strongly encourages all people interested in medical freedom in Ohio to look over the resources on their website and sign up for their mailing list (bottom of OhioAMF home page).

House Bill 472: The Ohio Votes Count Act

The Ohio Votes Count Act was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 8, 2024. It has not yet been assigned to a committee. Please check back for updates.

House Bill 472, the Ohio Votes Count Act is an attempt to remedy several election integrity/election validity issues in Ohio. The bill addresses several elections issues, including

  • updating voter registration systems, validation and databases;
  • improving identity and citizenship validation;
  • adding a cybersecurity expert to the Board of Voting System Examiners;
  • establishing cybersecurity standards for election systems;
  • establishing a path for counties to pursue a system of hand-counted paper ballots
  • several other election administration details.

The legislative summary is not yet published for this bill, but the Grassroots Freedom Initiative has provided the following details:


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