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Measure Details

To Amend the Constitution to Protect Private Property Rights in Ground Water, Lakes and Other Watercourses

Ohio Ballot Measure - Issue 3

Election: General Nov. 4, 2008 (General)
Outcome: Passed

Categories:
Housing and Property
Environment
Constitution

Summary

To adopt section 19b of article I of the constitution of the state of Ohio

Purpose: The purpose of Amended Substitute Senate Joint Resolution Number 8 (SJR 8) is to protect the rights of Ohio’s property owners, Ohio’s natural resources, and the maintenance of the stability of Ohio’s economy by explicitly recognizing under the constitution the property interests in ground water, lakes, and watercourses.

The Property Interests of Private Property Owners: SJR 8 would make explicit the property right of a private property owner in the reasonable use of the ground water underlying the property owner’s land. SJR 8 would also make explicit the property right of a private property owner who owns land that borders a lake or watercourse in the reasonable use of the water in a lake or watercourse located on or flowing through the owner’s land.

An owner of land may voluntarily convey to a governmental body the owner’s property interest held in ground water underlying the land or nonnavigable waters located on or flowing through the land.

Also, the state and a political subdivision, to the extent authorized by state law, may provide for the regulation of such waters.

Property Right is Subordinate to Public Welfare: SJR 8 makes clear that the property rights described under the proposed amendment are subject to the public welfare.

Application of Public Trust Doctrine: This proposed amendment does not affect the public’s use of Lake Erie and other navigable waters of the state. The public trust doctrine does not apply to ground water underlying privately owned land and nonnavigable waters located on or flowing through privately owned land.

Prevents Rights from being Impaired: The rights confirmed under this proposed amendment cannot be impaired or limited by the operation of other sections of the Ohio Constitution, including provisions governing home rule powers of a county, township, or municipal corporation; Public Debt and Public Works; conservation of natural resources; and the prohibition of the use of “initiative” and “referendum” on property taxes.

If approved, this proposed amendment will be effective december 1, 2008.

Measure Text

To adopt section 19b of article I of the constitution of the state of ohio
This proposed Amendment would:

Make explicit that a private property owner has a right to make
1. reasonable use of the ground water that lies beneath the owner’s land, although this right is subordinate to the public welfare. Make explicit that a private property owner who owns land on the border 2. of a lake or other watercourse has a right to make reasonable use of the water in such lake or watercourse located on or flowing through the owner’s land, although this right is subordinate to the public welfare. Not affect the public’s use of Lake Erie and other navigable waters of the 3. Prevent the rights confirmed under this proposed amendment to the 4. Ohio Constitution from being impaired or limited by the operation of other sections of the Ohio Constitution.

If approved, this amendment shall take effect December 1, 2008.

A “YES” vote means approval of the amendment.
A “NO” vote means disapproval of the amendment.

A majority YES vote is required for the amendment to be adopted.

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