By Wayne Allen
The Scioto County Commissioners passed a resolution on Tuesday, authorizing the hire of attorney Chad Sayer as outside legal counsel to possibly challenge the constitutionality of House Bill 483.
The commissioners said they hired Sayer on the recommendation of Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn. Sayer is a former Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor with the knowledge of county operations.
“As we’ve discussed before, the question with House Bill 483 is in my mind, does that violate the state constitution. Specifically certain provisions as to the one issue rule and the uniformity clause,” Kuhn said. “Basically they’ve taken certain statutes and made them unique or particular to Scioto and Lawrence Counties that do not apply to the other 86 counties.”
H.B. 486 gave the Lawrence County Sheriff jurisdiction over the Liberation Unit of the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility in Franklin Furnace. The house bill also gives the Lawrence County Prosecutor the ability to prosecute crimes that happen in the Liberation Unit. This was done in anticipation of Lawrence County signing a 15-year lease with the state, for use of the Liberation Unit as a jail.
“One concern we had as we looked at this, is the mechanism to bring that kind of suite, it would be to file suite all of the interested parties,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn said those interested parties include, the state of Ohio through the Department of Administrative Services, Lawrence County Commissioners, Lawrence County Sheriff, Lawrence County Prosecutor and potentially other interested parties.
Kuhn said his office has talked to an ethics lawyer about the situation.
“Currently we have a pending lawsuit involving the (Lawrence-Scioto) solid waste management district. Our solid waste management district (board of directors) is made up of Scioto County Commissioners and the Lawrence County Commissioners. I think there is a conflict of interest for us (Scioto County) to bring suite against against the people we represent in another lawsuit,” Kuhn said.
The resolution passed by the commissioners reads, “Whereas, House Bill 483 amended Section 341.12 of the Ohio Revised Code (is) in violation of the Ohio State Constitution and in order to challenge the constitutionality of House Bill 483, a legal action must be filed before a court of law.”
According to the resolution, Sayer would provide representation on behalf of the commissioners, sheriff, and prosecutor in challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 483 and provide representation in any and all legal proceedings associated with this matter. The commissioners have agreed to pay Sayer $1,000 for his work.
The resolution further states, “Sayer, shall notify the Board of Commissioners of Scioto County, Ohio of his hourly rate of pay upon concluding his legal research and advising parties as to what if any, course action should be taken on behalf of the Board of Commissioners of Scioto County, the Scioto County Sheriff, and the Scioto County Prosecutor to challenge House Bill 483 and any and all legal proceeding associated.”
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.