COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that originated with a Lake Township traffic stop 11 years ago.
House Bill 206, sponsored by Reps. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, and Michael O’Brien, permits a township police officer who serves a population between 5,000 and 50,000 to enforce specified traffic offenses on interstate highways within the township if authorized by that township’s board of trustees.
The legislation provides township trustees the ability to allow township law officers to enforce laws on interstate highways within their jurisdiction.
The fight to allow township patrols of interstates started with a 2011 Lake Township traffic stop, which ended in the confiscation of drugs. It was ultimately overruled by the Ohio Supreme Court, which said the stop was not legal because the township officers lacked authority on Interstate 280, where the stop took place.
The legislation contains the following provisions:
• The highway is part of the interstate highway system.
• The township has a population between 5,000 and 50,000 residents.
• Township trustees grant authority to patrol the applicable interstate.
• The highway is located within the township officer’s jurisdiction.
• There is a permanent access point on and off the highway located within the jurisdiction and open to the public.
A provision within the bill also allows township trustees to revoke the authority through a subsequent resolution if they so choose.
“We have taken another step toward collaboration with our law enforcement partners and local officials to enhance the safety and protection of our fellow citizens,” Ghanbari said. “I’m proud to have spearheaded this bill; it took lots of work and coordination over two general assemblies among interested parties to get it over the finish line. I was honored to be joined by law enforcement and township officials as Governor DeWine signed this important legislation into law.”
“Haraz continues to demonstrate his strong support of law enforcement, and we appreciate his diligence on House Bill 206 which will help make all of our communities safer,” said Gary Wolske, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside Representative Ghanbari on a variety of public safety issues.”
“The tenacity Haraz has shown on this legislation is remarkable,” said Perrysburg Township Deputy Chief Matt Gazarek. “His ability to create a collation of support across numerous law enforcement agencies and stakeholders is ultimately what led to the strong bipartisan support in both legislative chambers for House Bill 206 to become law.”
The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents 8,000 active and retired law enforcement officers, deputies, corrections officers, dispatchers and other governmental employees, including township police officers, including Perrysburg Township and Lake Township, thanked Rep. Ghanbari and his joint-sponsor Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, for their sponsorship and steadfast work in advancing this important issue for their members.
“The OPBA has strongly advocated for this legislation to fill a gap in law enforcement on interstate highways,” said OPBA Executive Director Tom Austin. “The OPBA thanks Governor DeWine for his support and for enacting this legislation.”
Within Ghanbari’s district, several groups announced their support during the committee process through submitted testimony at the Statehouse. In particular, the Perrysburg Township Board of Trustees noted their gratitude in submitted testimony of the bill gaining traction and moving forward after being “stalled” over the last few years.
Other bills signed by DeWine:
House Bill 193, sponsored by Reps. Al Cutrona and Gail Pavliga, regards electronic prescriptions and schedule II-controlled substances, terminology related to overdose reversal drugs, a pilot program for dispensing controlled substances in lockable containers, out-of-state physician consultations, and pediatric respite care programs.
House Bill 371, sponsored by Reps. Jean Schmidt and Sedrick Denson, revises the laws governing coverage of screening mammography and patient notice of dense breast tissue and makes temporary changes regarding certificates of need.
House Bill 430, sponsored by Rep. Jon Cross, addresses underground utility facilities affected by construction, exempts mobile computing units from certain building regulation, makes changes relating to the Landlord and Tenant Law, limits regulation of telecommunications, wireless, or internet protocol-enabled service providers, revises the law governing the plugging of idle and orphaned wells, and revises the use of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, and designates April as “Ohio Work Zone Safety Awareness Month.”
House Bill 447, sponsored by Rep. Brian Lampton, regards workers’ compensation for employees who work from home and other changes to the Workers’ Compensation Law.
House Bill 515, sponsored by Reps. Jim Hoops and Craig Riedel, exempts from income tax certain gains from the sale of an ownership interest in a business and modifies the tax laws governing sports gaming.
House Bill 518, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hoops, creates the Fulton County Municipal Court in Wauseon on Jan. 1, 2024, establishes one full-time judgeship in that court, abolishes the Fulton County County Court on that date, provides for the election for the Fulton County Municipal Court of one full-time judge in 2023, adds one full-time judge to the Fairborn Municipal Court, expands the jurisdiction of the Housing Division of the Toledo Municipal Court, abolishes the East Liverpool Municipal Court in Columbiana County, expands the jurisdiction of the Portage County Domestic Relations Court, and relative to the Hamilton County Municipal Court.
House Bill 537, sponsored by Rep. Cindy Abrams, designates Feb. 12 as “Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Day.”
House Bill 583, sponsored by Reps. Adam C. Bird and Don Jones, regards substitute teachers, the school financing system, the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, the Pilot Project Scholarship Program, the ACE Educational Savings Account Program, Community Schools of Quality, community school sponsors, state funding for certain community schools, dyslexia screening requirements, tutoring programs, alternative resident education licenses, Ohio School Safety Month, the career-technical education income tax credit, practical nurse education programs, and makes an appropriation.