Amendments made to Kent City Charter

Rachel Godin

On Tuesday, general elections will include five amendments to the Kent City Charter. The Kent City Charter is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state’s individual constitution. Therefore, it is the most important legal document of any city.

Issue 29: If approved, it would remove term limits for the Board of Health. Term limits are currently limited to two five-year terms.

Issue 30: If approved, it would change the number of signatures needed for initiative and referendum petitions. Currently, 10 percent of qualified electors are required. The amendment would change this to at least 10 percent of the number of electors who voted for governor at the most recent general election for the office of governor.

Issue 31: If passed, it would remove a prohibition that present or former members of the Assessment Equalization Board, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Charter Review Commission cannot be appointed as a City employee or an independent contractor during their term or for six months afterward.

Issue 32: If approved, it would remove term limits for the Planning Commission. Terms are currently limited to two five-year terms.

If approved, the last proposed amendment, Issue 43, would add Democracy Day Public Hearing / Political Influence to the city’s charter. The city would then be required to sponsor a public hearing in October to examine the impact of political influence resulting from campaign contributions by corporate bodies.

Following this, the city would be required to send a letter to state-level representatives, leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, U.S. Congressional representatives and both U.S. senators from Ohio.

Included in the letter would be a brief summary of the public hearing and a statement that the citizens of Kent in Nov., 2015 voted in support of a Citizen’s Initiative calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring one, only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights; and two, money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech.

All information, courtesy of the League of Women’s Voters of Kent.

Rachel Godin is a city reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].