UPDATE: House Budget Bill Amendment

The Geauga County MapleLeaf has updated the story about an amendment to the House budget bill that would expand powers of the probate court to control operation and administration of park districts and suppress dissent from the public. Our thanks to the MapleLeaf for permission to republish the story here.


“When you are talking about creating law that may or may not be of great significance to 87 out of 88 counties, I have real concern.” – John Eklund, R-Munson Township

UPDATE: State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, has submitted a revised amendment to this proposed legislation expanding the jurisdiction of a probate court over park districts. Seitz has eliminated a court’s power to:

  1. Issue an order preventing interference with the court’s order creating the park district; and
  2. Impose duties or restrictions on a person or party who interferes with the park district’s purpose as provided by the laws governing park districts or the court’s order creating the park district.

In addition, the revised proposal permits a probate court to investigate matters involving the park district either through a court hearing or through a special master commissioner, ONLY IF WRITTEN REQUEST IS MADE TO THE COURT BY A MAJORITY OF THE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS. 

(Editor’s Note: A probate court judge has the power to appoint and to remove park commissioners.)

It also states nothing in the bill’s provisions that expand a probate court’s jurisdiction authorizes the court to take any action that infringes upon any right of an individual or organization that are protected by the U.S. Constitution or Ohio Constitution.

Further, it restricts a probate court from impeding or interfering with the daily operations of a park district or the maintenance of the park district’s property unless such maintenance or operations are in violation of the laws government park districts or with the court’s order creating the district.

Finally, it limits a probate court’s actions to injunctive relief or a declaratory judgment if the court enforces its order that created the district or issues an order compelling compliance with the laws government the park district.

UPDATE 2: Also submitted was a proposed amendment removing any proposed language expanding a probate court’s jurisdiction under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1545. 

Seitz’s office said the representative intends to introduce his proposal as a stand-alone bill if it is not included in the final budget approved by the Ohio House.

Categories: News

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