When will Ohio’s state lawmakers learn their lesson?

Ohio voters have understood for years that lawmakers in Columbus have gone power mad, seeking at every turn to claw control for themselves, rather than leave decision-making in the hands of those equipped to do what is best for their business, school district, community or county.

So crazed have they become, they did not even bother to wonder whether they were going too far after Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a budget measure that put regulatory power over flavored tobacco products in the hands of the state, rather than communities. Specifically, the Legislature wanted to keep communities from being able to enact bans on the sale of such products.

They wanted it so badly they overrode DeWine’s veto. That prompted lawsuits from Columbus and Cincinnati, which wanted to keep their bans. Though his decision affects only those two cities, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Serrott agrees with them.

Serrott ruled the law prohibiting cities from banning the sale of flavored tobacco products is unconstitutional.

Lawmakers, it seems, do not care. According to a report by The Associated Press, they are expected to appeal the ruling.

But why? Why waste resources on fighting the state’s own communities on this matter?

It could be because they aren’t worried about the damage done to children who become addicted to nicotine by starting with flavored tobacco products. It could be they are worried about their friends at the big tobacco companies. It could be they are enemies of Home Rule. And it could be that, yes, they really do just want that much control over our everyday lives.

The reality is probably a mix of all of the above, but none of it is a good reason to betray Ohioans.

Recall, many of those hoping to be able to regulate just about everything from Columbus are members of the party that at one time stood for small government and local decision-making. Some of them still use phrases such as “get government out of the way” while campaigning. The switch is enough to give voters whiplash.

Meanwhile, it may not matter on this one, as surely others will agree with DeWine and Serrott that Ohio lawmakers have taken their disregard for the Constitution too far. The question then: Will they learn their lesson?



Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today