Last week, state Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) issued the following statement on Senate Bill 111, her recently introduced legislation to eliminate and ease barriers for farmers in urban settings and promote the advancement of urban agriculture in Ohio:
“S.B. 111 will enable and encourage urban youth to learn how to cultivate their own food,” said Hicks-Hudson. “Furthermore, it will show young farmers the relationship between producing healthy food and living a healthier lifestyle.”
The most significant part of the legislation is a re-introduction of House Bill 592 (https://legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/134/hb592) from the 134th General Assembly, which sought to create the Urban Farmer Youth pilot program and make an appropriation.
Additionally, the legislation would make two minimal changes to Ohio’s building and tax regulations as they pertain to agriculture: First, the bill will offer a uniform way of regulating temporary greenhouses, such as hoop houses, by clearly defining them and extending Ohio’s agricultural use exemption to include them. Second, it will clarify provisions relating to Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program in the Ohio Revised Code.
“This legislation is part of a national effort to restore, educate, and improve the lives of the next generation of farmers.”
For more information on Senate Bill 111, go online to: https://legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/135/sb111
Hicks-Hudson Condemns Passage of S.J.R. 2 and S.B. 92
Last week, state Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) issued a statement after the Ohio Senate voted along party lines to pass Senate Joint Resolution 2 and Senate Bill 92. S.J.R. 2 would raise the threshold for Ohioans to pass constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60 percent, while S.B. 92 would allow for August special elections when a proposed constitutional amendment is on the ballot.
“Let’s be clear about what Republicans did today: passing S.J.R. 2 and S.B. 92 put democracy in Ohio on its deathbed,” said Sen. Hicks-Hudson. “This legislation attacks people’s rights to govern themselves. Ohioans are not ‘outside, special interests,’ and we must fight back against these blatant Republican attempts to suppress and undermine our voices.”
This legislation would undermine ballot issues that are likely to be supported by a majority of Ohioans, such as protecting reproductive rights, creating an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to stop partisan gerrymandering, increasing the minimum wage or fully legalizing marijuana.
During the 134th General Assembly, the Republican-controlled legislature passed House Bill 458, which eliminated August special elections under almost all circumstances. S.B. 92 would reauthorize special elections, immediately resulting in a costly and unnecessary $20 million August 8 special election.
Now that a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to codify abortion access in Ohio is likely to be on the ballot this November, Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for voters to amend Ohio’s constitution this August.