Ohio Investors are threatening to block local action around Lead Poisoning

Stopping Pre-emption in the 2018 State Budget

(fictitious) Q&A with Rep. Merrin's Op/Ed about Lead Poisoning Pre-emption
Rep Merrin has a new op/ed in the Toledo Blade which made RHINO ask some questions about his plans.

RHINO: Why after 30 years of failure by State Government does Rep; Merrin believe that now's the time to put ODH in charge of reforming the way it addresses lead poisoning?
A: Rep Merrin's properties being required to be lead safe in Toledo.

RHINO: If Toledo's law is unconstitutional, why not file a court case and seek an injunction?
A: It is cheaper and faster to slip to pre-emption into the State Budget in the dark of night and pass it without debate in an effort to strip all local citizens of their rights. (not just Toledo).

RHINO: You claim in your op/ed that the Toledo ordinance will raise rents. What is the experience in Rochester NY where lead safe housing has been the law for 12 years? (see study attached at the bottom of this page)
A: (crickets) 

RHINO: You claim that investors will go elsewhere because of the Toledo ordinance. How do you explain this study that shows Toledo is a hot market for investors?
A:  (crickets) 

RHINO: Why is ODH uniquely qualified to entirely change the way the state addresses lead poisoning?
A:  (crickets)

RHINO: You forgot to mention that Ohio Association of Realtors supports your amendment because OAR wants state wide standards. Why's that?
A: The only goal of the amendment is to stop Toledo's ordinance. Restrictions on everyone else are collateral damage.     Posted May 21, 2017

What is Pre-emption?
Pre-emption is a strategy to block local initiatives. Most often conservative state legislatures use pre-emption to block popular initiatives in local communities
Why place restrictions in the State budget bill?
1. Budget bill is a "must pass" piece of legislation.
2. Items placed in the budget bill don't get any hearings or close scrutiny. Two examples of non-budget items in this year's bill here and here

What can you do?
1. Call or email State Senators with the message: we want you to remove lead poisoning pre emption from the budget bill.  I'll have some talking points posted shortly and send you the link.
2. Contact your local newspaper to alert them to the threat of local pre-emption. Even though Toledo is the target, the amendment could cover all local governments and agencies like schools, public housing authorities and private agencies with pass-thru funding from cities. See talking points in the right column.
3. Contact local elected officials. In addition to the talking points in the right column remind your local officials that this is another stab at home rule. Until local officials stand up to the overlords in the Ohio House, "home rule" protections will always be at risk.

 The struggle to prevent Pre-emption continues

It's back! The son of Merrin Pre-emption

House Activity for Thursday, June 29, 2017

Introduced  HB 299 LEAD SAFETY (Merrin, D.)

To enact the Lead Safety and Uniformity Act to provide that the state, acting through the Department of Health, has the sole and exclusive authority to compel, prohibit, license, or regulate lead abatement activities in Ohio.

Talking points when you are advocating against Lead Poisoning Pre-emption.

1. The Lead Poisoning Program at ODH has two serious flaws. First is that a child must be poisoned before the state can take action. Second is that state and local health departments have not been successful enforcing at blood lead testing standards (LINK) and not successful at removing poisoned houses from the rental market. (LINK)
2. The Pre-emption amendment is so poorly drafted that it could be used to prohibit or inhibit local housing code enforcement. In fact, this is a goal of the Ohio Real Estate Investors Association. (LINK)
3. Public Housing authorities (which are chartered under the laws of the state of Ohio) could be challenged over Housing Quality Standard inspections of rental properties in the Housing Choice Voucher program. These HQS inspections are required by Federal regulations.
4. State and local governments which pass through Federal funding to housing developers could be barred from requiring Federal Lead regulations. (LINK)
5. Ohio EPA would need permission from ODH to monitor lead regulations in drinking water systems.
6. Lead issues are inherently local and so denying local government the right to make and carry out local programs is nonsense.
7. If lead poisoning pre-emption is successful and ODH is the only agency in Ohio that can enforce lead standards, there could be a crisis later this year if Congress enacts budget cuts proposed by the President. (LINK) In the most extreme case, no one in Ohio would be able to do lead enforcement.
8. If enacted, the Lead Poisoning Pre-emption amendment would result in lots of costly litigation as investors seek to shut down existing regulations and advocates seek to preserve and expand them. Years of unnecessary court fights while children continue to be poisoned.
9. The supporters of Lead Poisoning Prevention amendment are a small group of "investors" who twice failed to convince the City of Toledo that their personal profits should come before the health and safety of children. Having twice failed in the local democratic process, they are now committed to sneak a provision into the State Budget bill without public discussion. 
10. Investor landlords are not "victims" of local regulation. Recent reports show that rental property investment in Toledo and Central Ohio are among the most profitable housing investments in the country.

 Notes & Links 

Toledo Blade