The territory transfer law included in House Bill (HB) 166 (the FY20-21 budget bill) was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the “one-subject rule” under Ohio law. The rationale for this ruling was the fact that the territory transfer provision was a “mere rider tactically inserted into the must-pass budget bill in order to secure its passage” and had “no discernable practical, rational, or legitimate relationship to the state budget, and, therefore, its inclusion in the same violates the one-subject rule.” The General Assembly subsequently repealed the law in HB 89, which was effective September 1, 2021.
The territory transfer provision has been reintroduced this General Assembly in HB 117, sponsored by Representative Brinkman (R-Cincinnati). The proposed bill is identical to the repealed law with the exception that it expands the prior law to apply to “eligible” cities and villages, in addition to townships. This means that residents of an “eligible township, city or village” that is located in more than one school district may petition and vote to move their property from one school district to another. As with the repealed version of this bill, this law would enable a small minority of voters to unilaterally choose their school district in contradiction to more than 60 years of legally established territory transfer practice. Click here for bill text, LSC Analysis and Fiscal Notes.
HB 117 has been referred to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee. Hearings have not been scheduled. OASBO will testify in opposition of this bill at the first opportunity. We also will notify members once hearings are scheduled and strongly encourage school districts to join in testifying against this bill.