Victory: “1851 Center Amendment” added to Senate Bill 5

Government employees would no longer have to “opt out” of making political contributions to unions, state government will no longer transfer political contributions to unions.

The Ohio House of Representatives yesterday amended Senate Bill 5 to include the “1851 Center Amendment,” a provision that would prevent state and local government from facilitating transfer of political contributions from government employees to their unions.

House Republicans added the amendment in response to the 1851 Center’s publication of “The Path Remains Clear for Ohio’s New Legislators to Separate Government Employment from Public Employee Union Politics ” released in late February.

In The Path Remains Clear, the 1851 Center shows that government unions are amongst the Top 20 contributors to political candidates, trailing only traditional political organizations such as the Ohio Democratic and Republican Parties. The 1851 Center argues that state and local governments should level the political playing field in Ohio by discontinuing this taxpayer-provided service to union politics.

Ohio previously prohibited such automatic payroll deductions. In 1998, a state court of appeals struck the prohibition on First Amendment grounds. However, in 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court explained that such scrutiny is not appropriate: “while in some contexts the government must accommodate expression, it is not required to assist others in funding the expression of particular ideas, including political ones.”

In other states, similar laws have led to dramatic reductions in political contributions to unions from government employees. In Utah, after eliminating payroll deductions for government employees in 2001, the number of teachers contributing to their unions for political purposes fell from 68 percent to 6.8 percent of all teachers and PAC contributions plummeted.

Such laws also relieve workers of burdens associated with the political atmosphere often found in the unionized workplace. The history of unionism is replete with examples of threats, coercion, and intimidation directed at workers who do not agree with union goals, policies, or tactics. Between 2000 and 2007, the National Labor Relations Board received 1325 complaints of union-sponsored threats and 546 reports of harassment.

The Amendment to Senate Bill 5 reads:

No public employer shall agree to a provision that provides for the payroll deduction for any contributions to a political action committee using any other method than the method prescribed in sections 3517.082, 3517.09, and 3599.031 of the Revised Code.

Read The Path Remains Clear for Ohio's New Legislators to Separate Government Employment from Public Employee Union Politics in its entirety

March 30, 2011: WSPD AM 1370 Brian Wilson Show

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A challenge to Ohio’s Mortgage Modification Bill

In March 2009, the 1851 Center submitted written and oral testimony to the Ohio General Assembly on House Bill 3, a bill that would allow Ohio’s trial judges to rewrite the terms of mortgage contracts.  The Center’s testimony made it clear that HB 3 was an unconstitutional abridgment of written contracts, and that, if passed in its then-current form, the 1851 Center would immediately pursue legal action. After the 1851 Center’s testimony and threat of litigation, the Housing Subcommittee removed the provision.

House Bill 3 Testimony

Victory: Ohio Estate Tax Repealed











The legislature has passed a state budget that includes the repeal of Ohio’s Estate Tax.  Special thanks to the team at for their leadership in accomplishing a feat that no liberty group before them had accomplished:  the elimination of a statewide tax.  In drafting the initiative and representing the effort, the 1851 Center was simply the professional scaffolding around this inspiring all-volunteer effort.

Despite openly hostile opposition (see below) from city and township government bureaucrats, who used public funds to oppose the repeal, and behind-closed-doors dismissal from elected and even conservative policy organizations, Ohio’s worst-in-the-nation Estate Tax, kicking in at just $338,000, will no longer be tearing Ohio families apart, destroying family farms, and driving business from the state.

April 4, 2011 – Use of Public Funds to Oppose Estate Tax Repeal is Unconstitutional

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today notified the cities of Loveland, and Oakwood, Ohio that their use of public funds applied to the Council/Coalition to Protect Ohio’s Communities (CPOC) is unlawful and, if continued, will result in legal action on behalf of each city’s taxpayers.

CPOC, comprised of local governments seeking to maintain the Ohio Estate Tax, formed in response to the introduction of House Bill 3, legislation that will end the tax.

Ohio’s Estate Tax is rated the worst in the nation, and kicks in at the lowest threshold, taxing all assets above $338,000. Although it is opposed by many Ohioans, local governments formed CPOC to lobby and propagandize against estate tax repeal. Loveland and Oakwood used local taxpayer dollars to fund their participation in CPOC.

Using public funds to support CPOC’s efforts:

  • Abuses “Home Rule” authority, which only lends municipalities authority to exercise powers of local self-government
  • Abuses “Police Power” authority by supplying public funds to that are biased, unreasonable, and arbitrary
  • Violates competitive bidding requirements due to no-bid contracts; and
  • Violates the First Amendment rights of citizens by forcing taxpayers to speak in a manner with which they disagree

In letters sent to Loveland and Oakwood, 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson highlights the lack of regard for taxpayers in the cities’ actions:

“You have dedicated revenue derived from all of your residents towards taking a side in a hot-button political debate on which the two sides fervently disagree. Indeed, many of your own taxpayers, whose dollars you use to fund CPOC, have worked tirelessly to ensure the introduction of House Bill 3 into the Ohio General Assembly, and other Ohio cities and townships oppose your efforts.”

The 1851 Center requested that the cities of Loveland and Oakwood recover any public funds that have been directed to CPOC, abstain from transmitting further public funds to the group, and withdraw from the council entirely. Otherwise, the Center will bring legal action against each municipality on behalf of local taxpayers.

August, 2009 – Ballot Language Drafted

The 1851 Center drafted ballot language that was adopted by Citizens United to Eliminate Ohio’s Estate Tax for an Initiated Statute effort. If successful, the measure will eliminate the Ohio Estate Tax as of 2012. The Ohio Attorney General has approved the language and the group is now collecting the needed signatures to place the issue before the general assembly.

April 4, 20111851 Center’s Letter to City of Loveland

April 4, 20111851 Center’s Letter to City of Oakwood 

April 5, 2011 – Dayton Daily News: Estate Tax Lobbying Called Illegal; Cities Disagree

700 WLW: Doc Thompson

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