NAACP, Democrats File Lawsuit Against Ohio’s New “Hold On Firm” Law

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Two Democratic lawmakers and the NAACP filed a lawsuit Thursday to overturn a recently passed ‘stand up’ law, which removes the legal requirement for Ohioans to try to withdraw before responding to a perceived attack with force. murderous.

The legislation was passed in the dying hours of the previous General Assembly, often known as the “lame duck” session – the period after the biennial elections but before the victors take office. Lawmakers abruptly incorporated the position of your basic language into an unrelated bill dealing with liability issues among nonprofits.

The plaintiffs, including Senator Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati, and Representative Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland, allege that the passage of the bill violated two rules of the state Constitution:

  • Rule of three considerations: “Each invoice will be examined by each room on three different days”
  • Single object rule: “No bill should contain more than one subject. “

The Stand Your Ground legislation was controversial and its tactical insertion into SB 175 bypassed public criticism of pending and past Stand Your Ground bills, ”wrote lawyers for gun violence advocates Everytown Law, representing the plaintiffs, in a court file.

Between July 2019 and December 2020, Senate Bill 175 only existed as a bill that protected nonprofits from liability related to firearms incidents on their premises against a carrier. approved.

The lawsuit notes the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, making it clear in written testimony from May 2020 that the bill is not about guns.

“I want to be very clear that Senate Bill 175 does not [emphasis in original testimony] extend porting rights or hidden locations, ”he said. “This is not a ‘gun bill’.

However, on December 17, as House leaders prepared the bill for a final vote, lawmakers amended the bill around 10:30 p.m. to incorporate wording from two different proposals presented at the same General Assembly. . These proposals gave rise to several contentious hearings in committee, but were never put to a vote.

It went through 52-31 around midnight in the House and 18-11 in the Senate the next day, with a handful of Republicans in both chambers voting with Democrats in opposition. Several sponsors of the original bill, including Republican Rep. Steve Hambley and Senator John Eklund, withdrew their names as cosponsors after the change.

The lawsuit argues that the bill did not receive three days of consideration, given the substantive (stand up) amendment passed just before a pass vote. In addition, he claims that the amendment and the original bill deal with different subjects and thus violate the one object rule.

Spokesmen for House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Senate Speaker Matt Huffman, R-Lima, who monitor their bedroom floors, did not respond to inquiries.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said at a press conference on Thursday that their prosecution, if successful, would be the first decision your basic law would overturn in the country. As of Florida in 2005, at least 25 states have passed integrity maintenance laws according to a May 2020 tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Minor amendments to bills do not necessarily require three additional readings. However, when a bill is “substantially amended” by “deviating entirely” from a coherent theme, it must be reread three times, according to the Ohio Supreme Court rulings cited by complainants.

“The primary consideration for a court should be whether the bill maintains a common goal before and after its amendment,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote in a majority opinion last year.

In a concurring opinion, however, Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote that the rule of three readings was “repertory, not binding” for lawmakers. She and two other judges, Patrick DeWine and Judith French, said it was time for the court to overturn previous case law allowing courts to strike down laws that violate the three reading rule.

Another precedent cited by the complainants indicates that the single subject rule allows legislation covering a “plurality of subjects” but not a “disunity of subjects”; in other words, if several subjects of the same bill are related to each other, the legislation is constitutional.

Hold on in Ohio after 10 years of gun lobbying efforts. Proponents argue that this removes an unfair duty to withdraw from law-abiding citizens in the face of attack. Critics, including Democrats and public health researchers, say this produces a happier trigger audience and leads to even more disparate treatment in the criminal justice system on racial grounds.


This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.


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