Ohio H.B. 231 was controversial to say the least. Ohio's legislators believed that they could make Ohio more business-friendly and attract new businesses by allowing those business to withdraw up to 5,000,000 gallons of water a day from Lake Erie and 2,000,000 gallons from streams and ground water. These legislators ignored that such widespread use of the lake's water could have a dire impact on water quality. A Columbus dispatch poll showed that 90 percent of Ohioans opposed this measure as did former governors, Robert Taft and George Voinovich.

When the lake and our environment are concerned, the legislature must act prudently. Rather than belittling the input of scientists and environmentalists, the legislators need to err on the side of caution when our scientists tell us that this water usage could have a devastating impact on future generations.

Do you notice that legislation that can hurt average Ohioans is almost always touted as pro-business or something likely to bring jobs to Ohio? This mantra is supposed to quell all opposition. Fortunately, it did not work this time.

Unfortunately, this tactic has worked time and again. Tort reform is a prime example. When the insurance industry and businesses were crying that jury verdicts were out of control, they lobbied the legislature to restrict recoveries for injured people. Again, this was to make Ohio more business-friendly and to generate more jobs. We were also promised that insurance rates would decrease because of the legislation. By the way, is anyone paying less for car insurance these days? Instead, insurance company profits have increased and injured people have fewer rights and more hurdles to jump in order to receive basic compensation for their harms and losses.

The moral of the story: beware of legislation that is promoted as pro-business. There is usually something more at stake.

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