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Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and ProgressOhio sued the State of Ohio, asserting that the Budget Bill, Am. Sub. H. B. No. 153 , 129th General Assembly, violated the One Subject Rule of the Ohio Constitution because it included a prison privatization measure.  The Franklin County Common Pleas Court granted the State’s motion to dismiss the complaint.  The Tenth District Court of Appeals reversed, saying:

Because plaintiffs alleged a set of facts that if proved would entitle them to relief, the trial court erred in granting defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Hoover at 6-7. Therefore, the trial court must continue proceedings consistent with this decision, including holding an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the bill in question had only one subject pursuant to Ohio Constitution, Article II, Section 15(D). Id. If, after holding an evidentiary hearing, the trial court finds any provisions constitute a manifestly gross or fraudulent violation of the one-subject rule, such that the provisions bear no common purpose or relationship with the budget-related items and give rise to an inference of logrolling, the court must sever the offending provisions.

 State ex. rel. Ohio Civ. Serv. Emps. Ass’n v. Ohio, No. 12AP-1064, Paragraph 24.

The State of Ohio recently appealed this decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.  The State asserts that requiring the trial judge to conduct a provision-by-provision analysis of the budget bill results in unconstitutional “judicial line item vetoes”.  Additionally, the plaintiffs only asked that the prison privatization provisions be invalidated, not other parts of the budget bill.  The State also argues that the prison privatization items did not violate the One Subject Rule.    See the court docket: State ex rel. Ohio Civil Service Employees Association v. State , No. 2014-0319 and Columbus Dispatch Article, March 8, 2014.

The Ohio Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will hear the case.

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