COLUMBUS- State Reps. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) today announced the Ohio Veterans Heritage Protection Act, legislation that would protect cannons or other artillery, statues, monuments, memorials, or plaques that have been placed by the public to commemorate a war or service in a war.
“Ohio has a rich history of military service to our great nation. Ohioans have sacrificed to win our nation’s wars and preserve the peace since 1803,” said Miller. “We have to preserve monuments and war relics so today's citizens and future generations understand the tremendous sacrifice Ohio’s military families have laid at freedom's altar. These items are a reminder of our heritage and should not be sold to the highest bidder.”
Among other things, the legislation would:
Prohibit a war relic that is located on public property or on the property of a cemetery association from being sold, purchased, or otherwise disposed of by any person;
Prohibit a war relic that is located on public property or on the property of a cemetery association from being destroyed, relocated, removed, altered, or otherwise disturbed by any person, except under certain circumstances;
Exempt the state and a political subdivision from the bill’s prohibitions if it can clearly prove ownership of a war relic by written documentation;
Exempt a governmental agency, the state, or a political subdivision from being fined for destroying, relocating, removing, altering, or otherwise disturbing a war relic;
Authorize the Ohio History Connection, with the help of local historical societies, to compile and maintain a registry of war relics.
Those found violating the law would have to return the item and any money associated with a sale, and could be fined with proceeds going to the local veterans service commission to be used for historic preservation.
This bill would not apply its protections to the few Confederate related items in Ohio, all of which are on either private or federal property.
The legislation awaits a bill number and referral to an Ohio House committee.