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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund
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State of Ohio November 4, 2008 Election
Issue 3
To protect private property rights & water
State of Ohio

Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 3,625,811 / 71.95% Yes votes ...... 1,413,639 / 28.05% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments |

To adopt Section 19b of Article I of the Constitution of the State of Ohio This proposed Amendment would:
1. Make explicit that a private property owner has a right to make reasonable use of the ground water that lies beneath the owner's land, although this right is subordinate to the public welfare.
2. Make explicit that a private property owner who owns land on the border of a lake or other watercourse has a right to make reasonable use of the water in such lake or watercourse located on or flowing through the owner's land, although this right is subordinate to the public welfare.
3. Not affect the public's use of Lake Erie and other navigable waters of the state.
4. Prevent the rights confirmed under this proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution from being impaired or limited by the operation of other sections of the Ohio Constitution. If approved, this amendment shall take effect December 1, 2008.

This proposed amendment resulted from the Ohio legislature's passage of the Great Lakes Water Compact this past spring. Some lawmakers feared final approval of the Compact might limit private water rights. The constitutional amendment is intended to recognize that: o Property owners have a protected right to the "reasonable use" of the ground water flowing under their property, and of the water in a lake or watercourse that is on or flows through their property. o An owner has the right to give or sell these interests to a governmental body. o The public welfare supersedes individual property owners' rights. The state and political subdivisions may regulate such waters to the extent state law allows. o The proposed amendment would not affect public use of Lake Erie and the state's other navigable waters. o The rights confirmed by this amendment may not be limited by sections of the Ohio Constitution addressing home rule, public debt and public works, conservation of natural resources, and the prohibition of the use of "initiative" and "referendum" on property taxes.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
approval of the amendment

A NO vote on this measure means:
disapproval of the amendment

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Arguments For Issue 3 Arguments Against Issue 3
1. This amendment, if approved, is intended to reaffirm the rights and expectations of Ohio landowners to have reasonable use of the water on or under their properties.
2. The proposed amendment does not establish absolute private ownership of water.
3. It reiterates the state's right to regulate water use and water quality.

1. The amendment is unnecessary because current Ohio case law already recognizes property owners' interests in the reasonable use of surface and groundwater.
2. The Ohio Constitution should be a body of fundamental principles, and should not be amended unless there is a compelling reason.
3. The amendment could cause unexpected consequences and unintentional changes in current law.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:48 PST
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