June 8, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Columbus, OH – A county judge here on June 2 voided the state law that prohibits local governments from setting their own minimum wage. Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Frye held that the measure, enacted in a lame-duck session last December, violated the Ohio Constitution’s rule that bills can only be about one subject.
The law, which blocked efforts in Cleveland to raise the city’s minimum to $15 an hour, was initially a bill to regulate pet stores, but it wound up including the local-minimum-wage ban and limits on local governments’ power to regulate where cell phone antennae and equipment can be placed. Supporters claimed that all those items fit together as “eliminating a patchwork quilt of municipal business regulations,” Judge Frye wrote, but he ruled that “no rational reason for their combination can be discerned.” “I’m delighted that this was seen as a violation,” Cleveland mayoral candidate Jeff Johnson, a strong supporter of the $15 minimum, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It provides us an opportunity to push ahead and put it on the ballot and fight for it.” Read more