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Ohio


Ohio Supreme Court gives cities the right to regulate tow trucks
Court says state law can't unilaterally pre-empt home rule unless local laws conflict with state laws, but the decision has a caveat
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the right of cities to regulate the tow trucks that work in their jurisdictions – saying it’s a matter of home rule.

Today’s decision settles a case between the city of Cleveland and the state over a two-sentence law.

The court upheld the first sentence, giving the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio the right to regulate towing companies. But it struck down the second sentence that bars cities from setting additional rules.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger wrote that the Ohio Constitution guarantees cities, counties and townships the right to adopt and enforce laws that do not conflict with general state laws, and lawmakers can’t unilaterally forbid such local laws. Still, Lanzinger notes that this decision doesn't examine which local towing laws may -- in fact -- conflict with state laws and end up being struck down anyway.

A number of other home-rule cases before the state high court – including the rights of cities to limit guns – have gone the other way. And a major case involving regulation of gas and oil drilling within municipalities is to be argued next month.

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