September 19, 2014
In a just-released opinion in an expedited matter relating to an upcoming election, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6-0 late this afternoon that the Council of City of Maple Heights, Ohio must “act immediately to approve an ordinance placing” on the ballot a Charter Amendment limiting the use of Red Light and Speeding Cameras in that City.
The Finney Law Firm, in an action led by attorneys Curt Hartman and Chris Finney, had first warned the City in a “taxpayer letter” that a suit would ensue, and then (upon the failure to act by the City attorney) filed suit to assure that the citizens group that collected sufficient signatures on their petition achieved ballot access for their Charter Amendment.
The Finney Law Firm guided the ballot issue from drafting, to submission to the Clerk of Council, and through the processes of the Board of Elections. But the City Council and its law director refused to take the final step — a formal vote of the Council to place the issue on the ballot. This step is a mandatory — not discretionary — act by the Council, and the Ohio Constitution requires them to do it “forthwith,” i.e., immediately.
Their “excuse” was that they had to refer the matter to a Council Committee, and then hold three readings, taking months and months of time. The Supreme Court was not amused.
The decision by the Ohio Supreme Court today is the continuation of a long line of cases firmly enforcing the Constitutional provisions allowing ballot access by petition of Charter Amendments.
You may read the decision here.
Finney Law Firm is proud to have “made a difference” for these citizen volunteers seeing to change their City through a Charter Amendment.