FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2021

 

Cincinnati charged “alarm fees” to homeowners and businesses protecting themselves with security alarms.

 

Cincinnati, OH – The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas today ordered the City of Cincinnati to return the $3.3 million that it illegally assessed to home and business owners since creating “alarm user registration fees” in 2014.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law’s victory on behalf of a certified class of 23,000 home and business owners comes after a five-year legal battle concluded with an Appellate Court holding the City’s “alarm user registration fees” to be unconstitutional double-taxation, and the Ohio Supreme Court declining to overturn that decision.

“The Court’s decision affirms that Ohio taxpayers can and should prevail when cities attempt to swindle them through unlawful taxes, fees, and assessments,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. “This case should dissuade cities from attempting to impose backdoor fees for either services citizens’ taxes already fund, or no services at all.”

Judge Wende Cross certified classes of home and business owners who paid $50 and $100 annual fees, respectively, and ordered that all fees be refunded by February 21, 2023. Most homeowners will receive between $78 and $312.

Until the First District Court of Appeals ruling in 2021, the City forced homeowners to pay the fees before they were permitted to use home security alarms to defend themselves and their families. The Court found the fees to be “a tax, and the imposition of that tax is unconstitutional,” explaining that “taxpayers, already pay for police protection through their tax dollars,” that “imposing a separate fee or penalty constitutes a form of double taxation,” and that “the assessments have a chilling effect in deterring citizens from utilizing alarm systems to protect themselves, their homes, and their property.”

Read more about the underlying case here.

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The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2022

 

HB 496 would violate the Health Care Freedom Amendment and felonize natural births in Ohio

 

Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law this week intervened to object to any further advancement of HB 496 in the Ohio General Assembly.

The Bill makes the “unlicensed practice of midwifery” (assisting parents with home births), a felony, and creates unattainable licensing standards that will dramatically reduce the supply of and increase the costs of the few Ohio midwives that will remain.

The 1851 Center’s December 1, 2022 Testimony to the Ohio House’s Committee on Families, Aging, and Human Services explains as follows:

  • Contrary to the assertions of the Bill’s sponsors, midwifery and home births are both currently lawful in Ohio, but HB 496 would felonize midwifery, over-criminalizing a practice older than government itself.
  • Criminalizing midwives from assisting with Ohioans’ births violates the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment’s prohibition against new enactments that prevent or penalize the sale of health care.
  • The few midwives who are able to meet the rigid 137 pages of licensing requirements of HB 496 would be subject to ongoing regulation by the Ohio Board of Nursing, which has expressly stated that “the practice of midwifery by persons other than nurses should be prohibited.”

“This Bill removes a valuable and affordable option for Ohio parents who are often motivated by legitimate religious or spiritual concerns to bring their child into the world without the extensive testing, masking, vaccination, drugging, commotion, and surgical procedures all-too-common at modern hospital births,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson.  “It also immediately converts experienced midwives who have presided over thousands of safe births into felons, even when informed parents seek their assistance and they cause no harm.”

“Criminalizing the manner in which 99 percent of humans to have ever walked the earth were born — through the advice or assistance of a qualified individual not necessarily pre-approved by government — is the equivalent of criminalizing breathing, eating, procreating, farming, or gardening.”

Read the 1851 Center’s Testimony here.

View Thompson’s testimony here.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.