Challenging Federal Overreach: Ohio Case Seeks to Redefine Commerce Clause Powers

Robert Alt

Robert Alt, president and CEO of the Buckeye Institute and lead attorney in the case, Ream v. U.S. Department of Treasury, told  The Ohio Star that this Ohio case could “rebalance federalism” and rein in the Commerce Clause. He also noted that Ream could supersede the 1942 Wickard v. Filburn case, which significantly broadened federal regulatory powers under the Commerce Clause.

The Buckeye Institute initiated the case in January on behalf of John Ream from Licking County, Ohio.

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Lawsuit Says Ohio City Failed to Refund Taxes within 90 Days

Cleveland Money

Two northeast Ohio residents are lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday against the city of Cleveland, saying the city owes taxpayers interest for not issuing tax refunds within 90 days.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based policy group, filed on behalf of Kate Wos of Strongsville and David Steffes of North Royalton, as well as all nonresidents of Cleveland who filed a city income tax return and received their refund more than 90 days after filing.

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City of Columbus Continues Fight to Overturn Preliminary Injunction Halting Gun Control Laws

The City of Columbus is trying to implement its gun control laws while a lawsuit filed by The Buckeye Institute to protect the rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms is being heard.

The city requests that the 10th District Court of Appeals overturns a ruling by a Delaware County judge to temporarily halt a state law that would make it difficult for municipalities to establish specific gun control measures.

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Ohio Lawmakers May Miss June 30th Deadline for State Budget

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) indicated that the state legislature may miss the deadline for the state’s biennial budget with negotiations to continue into July.

Under the Ohio constitution, the state’s two-year budget must be passed and signed into law before the fiscal year’s end on June 30th. However, the budget legislation approved by the Ohio House and Senate differ significantly from one another.

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Policy Group Calls for Ohio’s New State-Based Immigration Policy to Fill Jobs

Gov. Mike DeWine praised a plan by a Columbus-based policy group that calls for a state-based immigration policy to allow Ohio to attract legal immigrants to fill a growing need in the high-tech labor force.

The Buckeye Institute recently released a report on how a state-based visa program could impact what it called urgent problems in the high-tech job market. That followed the group’s plan to upskill and reskill Ohio workers to meet labor shortages.

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City of Columbus Sues Ohio over Gun Control Legislation

The City of Columbus filed a lawsuit against Ohio, claiming that the state has exceeded its power by passing legislation making it difficult for municipalities to establish specific gun control measures.

The lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, follows an Ohio judge ruling which denied the city of Columbus’ request to allow them to enforce their new gun control laws, while the lawsuit filed by The Buckeye Institute to protect the rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms is being heard.

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Delaware County Judge Denies Columbus’ Request to Permit Enforcement of Gun Control Laws During Lawsuit

An Ohio judge denied the City of Columbus’ request to allow them to enforce its new gun control laws while the lawsuit filed by The Buckeye Institute to protect the rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms is being heard.

The Buckeye Institute filed the lawsuit following the adoption of Ordinance 3176-2022 by the Columbus City Council, which forbade the use of certain firearm magazines in violation of Ohio law and the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

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Ohio House Republicans Re-Introduce Bill Updating Cosmetologist and Barber Board Statutes

State Republican lawmakers have re-introduced legislation to modernize the statutes authorizing the Ohio Cosmetology and Barber Board.

House Bill (HB) 158, sponsored by state Representatives Melanie Miller (R- City of Ashland) and Bill Roemer (R-Richfield), aims to update the statutes to harmonize the regulations and processes of the board and better serve licenses.

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Delaware County Judge Blocks Columbus Gun Restriction Enforcement

A Delaware County Judge has blocked the gun control legislation passed by the Columbus City Council on December 5th meaning the city cannot restrict firearm magazines or implement gun storage requirements.

In a ruling issued on Tuesday, Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley placed an injunction on the legislation. Ohio think tank, The Buckeye Institute, filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus’ gun restrictions in February on behalf of six anonymous residents to protect the rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms. The lawsuit named the city, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein as defendants.

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Ohio Ballot Board Certifies Amendment to Raise the State Minimum Wage

On Monday, The Ohio Ballot Board unanimously certified that the proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour called “Raise the Wage Ohio Amendment” incorporates only one constitutional amendment and therefore advances.

The Committee to Represent the Petitioners including Prentiss Haney, Taneisha Latoya Head, Kandiss Bondurant, Mary Jo Ivan, Diane Morgan, and Andrew Ritterman must now gather over 413,000 signatures from registered voters in at least 44 counties, which equals 10 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election before July 5th. The number of signatures must equal at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial race in each county.

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Ohio Attorney General Yost Accepts Petition to Amend State Constitution Raising Minimum Wage

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost accepted a petition on Wednesday which aims to amend a portion of the Ohio Constitution and raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The proposal called “Raise the Wage Ohio Amendment” aims to amend Article II, Section 34a of Ohio’s Constitution in order to raise the minimum wage to $12.75 per hour beginning January 1st, 2025 and then in equal yearly increments until it gets to $15 per hour on January 1st, 2026.

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Columbus City Council Tightens Gun Control on Gun Owners

The Columbus City Council approved legislation on Monday giving owners of gun magazines with 30 rounds or more until July 1st to move them out of the city, sell them to a licensed arms dealer outside of Columbus, or turn them over to the city Division of Police.

Although new legislation, Monday’s ordinance amends the gun control legislation passed by City Council on December 5th despite a judge’s order to cease any such action.

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Ohio State Senate Passes Plan to Restructure the State’s Education System

The Ohio State Senate passed a 2,144-page Republican-backed bill to “restructure” the Ohio Department of Education on Wednesday.

Senate Bill (SB) 178 sponsored by State Senator Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) told the Primary and Secondary Education Committee that the bill seeks to “improve the academic achievement and workforce skills of our students, to drive better outcomes in their education, and to prepare for more effective career readiness.”

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Ohio Nurses Can Begin Applying for Multi-State Licenses on January 1st

With the unanimous passage of Senator Kristina Roegner’s (R-Hudson) Senate Bill (SB) 3 last year, nurses in Ohio will soon be able to choose a multistate license (MSL) through the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

Beginning on January 1st, 2023 registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nursing students will be able to apply for an MSL which will permit them to practice in any of the 37 other states that have joined under the NLC.

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New Bill Would Change Requirements to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Ohio

Ohio Republican lawmakers proposed an amendment to House Bill (HB) 509 Wednesday in the Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee, allowing individuals with related degrees other than social work to become licensed social workers.

In its original version, HB 509 sponsored by State Representatives Marilyn John (R-Shelby) and Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Ashtabula) allows, among other things, some leeway for some professional licensing during the pandemic in addition to other rationale and streamlines the state’s occupational regulations. Now, a substitute amendment to that bill is including social work.

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Ohio’s Capital Budget Riddled with Incentives, Pork Projects

Working late into the night this week, the Ohio General Assembly passed its traditional capital budget, spending billions on statewide initiatives, business and industry incentives and pet projects for lawmakers.

House Bill 687 included money for state parks and the incentives for Intel’s planned $20 billion investment in two chip-making plants in central Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine called the bill an historic investment.

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Buckeye Institute Appeals Biden Vaccine Mandate Ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court

The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational institution, filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency stay of the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine mandate.

The filing followed a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that allowed the mandate, which will demand all companies with at least 100 employees to require the vaccine or regular testing, to be reinstated.

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Buckeye Institute Testifies Before Ohio House Committee on Privacy Bill

A representative from The Buckeye Institute, a free-market advocacy think-tank, testified before the Ohio House of Representatives’ Government Oversight Committee about a bill that would protect consumer data, protecting Americans’ privacy.

HB 376 says that “a consumer has a right to know the personal data that a business collects about that consumer, such as by obtaining a privacy policy from the business.”

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Ohio Think Tank Sues for Documents on Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate

An Ohio public policy think tank said Wednesday that it is seeking to get to the bottom of how the White House decided to implement its federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“The Buckeye Institute filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of its clients, Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company and Sixarp LLC, demanding that the White House produce all communications and records regarding the initiation and development of President Biden’s vaccine mandate,” according to a press release from the group.

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Ohio Think Tank Identifies over 60 State Licenses That Could Be Eliminated

An Ohio think tank has identified more than 60 occupational licenses it said can be eliminated or reformed as the General Assembly continues a nearly two-year effort to reduce business regulations.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based policy group, prepared a report that outlines licenses the state should remove or change to in effort to make the state more economically competitive and make it easier for Ohioans to earn a living.

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Ohio Municipal Income Tax Issue Continues in Courts

An Ohio organization that has fought cities collecting income taxes from people who had not worked in specific cities during the COVID-19 pandemic has filed an appeal in a Cincinnati case that was dismissed in June.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, recently filed its appeal with the First District Court of Appeals on behalf of Josh Schaad, who lives in Blue Ash but is employed in Cincinnati. The case was dismissed four months after it was filed.

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Educational Think Tank Calls on Supreme Court to Uphold the Constitutional Rights of Parents

Supreme Court building

In a press release Friday, The Buckeye Institute announced that they are “filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in Carson v. Makin calling on the court to make clear – as it has in many other cases – that it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution to deny students and their families financial aid that is available to all other students on the basis that family chooses to use their aid to send their children to a religious or ‘sectarian’ school.”

Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of the educational think tank said, “The core constitutional issues before the high court have been asked and answered many times: the government cannot discriminate against religion in administering benefit programs.”

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Think Tank Offers Policy Changes for Ohio’s Emerging Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed technology to the forefront in the lives of Ohioans, and a policy group has released a list of more than two dozen recommendations it believes the state should enact to make it a leader in the area.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, developed the policy list that ranges from data sharing to reducing government red tape. All, it said, would develop economic benefits and improve the quality of life of Ohioans.

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Feds Nix Ohio Plan to Tying Expanded Medicare Benefits to Work, Training, ‘Engagement’

Inside DMV, people standing in line

  The Biden administration has squelched a fledgling Ohio program requiring those in their prime working years receiving Medicaid health coverage to get a job to remain covered. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMMS), on Wednesday withdrew approval of a pilot program the Trump administration had approved in March 2019 that would have required able-bodied Medicaid health insurance ages 19-50 to work unless they were attending school, getting job-training, taking care of family members, or doing other “community engagement” for least 80 hours per month in order to receive the medical benefits. Implementation of the program, set to begin in January had been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Brooks-LaSure’s 23-page letter to the Ohio Department of Medicaid cited a litany of potential lingering effects of the pandemic as the reason for withdrawing the waiver granted 17 months ago altogether. “Uncertainty regarding the current crisis and the pandemic’s aftermath, and the potential impact on economic opportunities (including job skills training, work and other activities used to satisfy the community engagement requirement), and access to transportation and affordable child care, have greatly increased the risk that implementation…

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Ohio Group: End, Not Delay, Consumer Fees, Government Subsidies for Power Companies

While the Ohio General Assembly works on a bill to delay new consumer fees on electric bills, one state representative is getting support for his plan to end the charges completely.

State Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) introduced House Bill 772 that he says focuses on the “harmful policy to Ohioans” created by House Bill 6, a controversial nuclear bailout law that led to the indictments and arrests of five people, including former Speaker of the House Larry Householder, in a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme.

“The $150 million annual nuclear subsidy from Ohioans was never needed to sustain the operation of the two Ohio nuclear plants. Evidence was provided by witnesses during the House Bill 6 debate that financial instability was likely untrue,” Romanchuk said.

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Groups Urge Adoption of Universal Occupational Licensing Recognition in Ohio

Several pro-business groups have banded together to urge Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio lawmakers to quickly adopt universal occupational licensing recognition.

The move could help the Buckeye State as it rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Buckeye Institute, Americans for Prosperity-Ohio and the Goldwater Institute said in the letter. The state is in the midst of a record number of cases, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has threatened to shut down restaurants and bars if the number of cases continues to climb.

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Buckeye Institute Sues Over Law Allowing Columbus to Collect Income Taxes From Commuters Despite Emergency Order Preventing Them from Working in the City

The Buckeye Institute said that it and three employees filed a lawsuit over the taxing of workers’ income in Columbus since they do not live in the city and were not allowed to work there during Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order.

The lawsuit, which is available here, was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County.

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Think Tank Calls for Ohio Government to Take Common-Sense Measures to Fight Coronavirus and Aid in Economic Recovery

A new policy brief lays out actions that Ohio policymakers can immediately implement so Ohio can fight and yet recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t involve unilaterally moving primaries or shutting down businesses.

The Buckeye Institute released the brief on Monday.

The brief, Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: How Ohio Can Fight the Impact of Coronavirus, is available here.

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Ohio Lawmakers Urged to Eliminate ‘Redundant’ and Costly Motor Vehicle Repair Board

  Since The Buckeye Institute first started publishing its Piglet Book in 2005, it’s recommended eliminating Ohio’s Motor Vehicle Repair Board. The Buckeye Institute, an independent think tank whose mission is to advance free-market public policy, issues a regular Piglet Book that analyzes “Ohio’s proposed biennial budget and offers savings for policymakers to consider as they debate the state’s two-year budget.” This year’s book again lists the Motor Vehicle Repair Board, saying ending it will save Ohio taxpayers about $1.2 million. “The Motor Vehicle Repair Board performs functions that the private sector already performs admirably,” the book states. “Consumers have adequate access to information on the quality of facilities from various sources, including the Better Business Bureau to Angie’s List, which make this state board redundant and unnecessary.” When it was first created in 1997, it was called the Motor Vehicle Collision Repair Registration Board. It was supposed to oversee a new registration process for businesses in the state that did five or more collision repairs within a 12-month period. Unlike some government regulations, it was businesses in the state who asked for the board and registration in order to address “chop shops” and “fly-by-night” operators. According to the Automotive Services…

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Conservatives Warn Ohio Lawmakers to Take Steps to Avoid ‘Disastrous Recession’ During Budget Talks

  The Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based conservative think tank, warned lawmakers Tuesday that state government spending “has outpaced inflation and population growth for years,” meaning the “day of reckoning will be painful for families and businesses” if they don’t cut down on spending. Greg Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, testified before the Ohio House Finance Committee on House Bill 166, the House version of the state’s biennial budget. Lawson began his testimony by noting that the budget decisions arrive “during an economic expansion of historic duration.” In fact, if current economic growth continues until July, it will be “the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.” “Now is the time to pursue meaningful, sustainable reform and take full advantage of this biennial opportunity to make Ohio more prosperous, while avoiding missteps that could lead to a disastrous recession,” Lawson said, suggesting changes to the proposed budget in the areas of government spending, public education, Medicaid, and taxes. He argued that “spending ever-greater sums of taxpayer dollars every fiscal year establishes higher budget baselines that make economic downturns more painful and policy choices more difficult.” “Setting those higher baselines forces future policymakers to choose between painfully increasing taxes during…

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Ohio’s Revised Budget Proposal Makes Tax Code ‘Fairer’ But Punishes Small Businesses Retroactively, Conservatives Say

  A revised state budget proposal unveiled Thursday by House Republican leadership would introduce substantial income tax cuts for Ohioans but would do so by eliminating tax breaks for small businesses. The budget plan, House Bill 166, builds off of the budget proposal put forward by Gov. Mike DeWine, who said Friday that the bill sticks to the “essential principles” of his proposal. Under the proposal, Ohio’s lowest tax brackets would be completely eliminated, such that earners who make $22,250 or less annually wouldn’t pay any state income taxes. The state’s middle two brackets would also see significant reductions in income taxes. But these income tax reductions would be partially paid for by cutting down on the state’s small business tax deduction. Currently, small businesses don’t pay taxes on the first $250,000 of income, but that would be lowered to $100,000 under the new budget proposal. “We shouldn’t try to pick winners and losers. What we should try to do is set a balanced field out there and let people compete in business,” House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said when unveiling the proposal. The Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based conservative think tank, believes that Republicans are making a mistake in not…

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Ohio’s Buckeye Institute Continues to ‘Fight Relentlessly’ in Minnesota Professor’s Union Case

  Robert Alt, president of The Buckeye Institute, recently called on the U.S. Supreme Court to put an end to states forcing non-union members to pay union dues. The institute issued a press release after the Supreme Court denied to hear Kathy Uradnik’s case. After the certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court, Alt stated that his organization will take Uradnik’s case back to the U.S. District Court in Minnesota’s 8th district. “Unfortunately, today the high court passed on the opportunity to hear her case immediately, but it has given us another opportunity to seek justice by sending it back to the U.S. District Court where The Buckeye Institute will continue to fight relentlessly on Kathy’s behalf,” said Alt. The Public Employment Labor Relations Act (“PELRA”) has been in effect in Minnesota for over 20 years. The law requires that public employees pay union dues, even if they have opted to not be apart of said union. PELRA also asserts that any public employee is subject to representation by a chosen union representative and that no employee can confer with upper management. Liaisons may only occur between upper management and the union representative. Uradnik, a political science professor at St.…

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Former Congressman Renacci Calls for Smarter Government Spending During Forum on Gas Tax

Ohio’s Future Foundation Chairman and former Congressman Jim Renacci hosted a forum on the gas tax Monday evening with Greg Lawson of The Buckeye Institute and Paul Lewis of the Eno Center for Transportation. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) has been pushing for an 18-cent gas tax increase, which Monday night’s panelists think might be too high. Although a controversial subject, the panelists were in agreement on one thing: the state government needs to be smarter with how it spends its money. “I think the real opportunity is to focus on trying to make our transportation institutions more efficient and a lot of that has to do with investing smartly, not necessarily focusing on big, expansive projects, but more doing the things that voters are actually looking for, which is roads that are well maintained, buses that run on time—kind of the run-of-the-mill stuff that isn’t as exciting as a new highway or some kind of new big project, but it’s the thing that people care about everyday. It’s really kind of focusing on asset management and taking better care of what we have,” Lewis said. Lawson agreed with the sentiment, and encouraged politicians not to get “hung up” on the…

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