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Bill prohibiting cities from imposing curfews introduced in Ohio Statehouse

The legislation is in response to recent measures by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, who called for a voluntary curfew to help curb violence in the Short North.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s anti-crime plan to reduce violence in the Short North along High Street is getting pushback at the Ohio Statehouse.

State Representative Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Township) introduced House Bill 180 on Tuesday, legislation that would prevent municipalities and counties from imposing curfews except in certain cases. 

It would not impact a city's curfew for those under the age of 18 and makes an exception when there is a” clear and present emergency.“

Last week, Ginther asked that businesses in the Short North close starting at midnight. He also signed an executive order mandating that food carts stop operations after midnight. 

Those in the Short North are prevented from parking on High Street between East Goodale Street and East 5th Avenue from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and rideshare vehicles will only be able to use the curb lane and COTA bus stops to stop, pick up and drop off passengers.

House Bill 180 states, “No county that has adopted a charter under Article X of the Ohio Constitution or municipal corporation shall impose a curfew except a curfew for persons under eighteen years of age or a curfew in response to a clear and present emergency, as determined by the legislative authority of the county or municipal corporation.”

10TV spoke with LaRe about why he’s against cities initiating rules similar to what Columbus is doing.

“I've always been a supporter of small businesses and I think this whole idea of instilling a curfew in the Short North is going to impact our businesses negatively they've already suffered having gone through the pandemic. Putting a curfew in place it's just an arbitrary time in the evening you've got food cart vendors and now that's impacting their lives; you've got Uber drivers with parking down there that are now getting citations,” he said.

In response, Mayor Ginther's office told 10TV: "We are going to continue to do what's best for our city, for as long as we are allowed to do so.”

"The proposed state legislation is an idea in search of a problem that doesn’t exist," said City Attorney Zach Klein.

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