Submitted April 24, 2018
from the Court of Appeals for Lucas County, No. L-15-1286,
R. Emch, Toledo Law Director, and Adam W. Loukx and Joseph V.
McNamara, Assistant Law Directors, for appellee.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, Eric E. Murphy, State
Solicitor, Michael J. Hendershot, Chief Deputy Solicitor,
Stephen P. Carney, Deputy Solicitor, and Halli Brownfield
Watson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellants.
1} In this case, the Lucas County Court of Common
Pleas found appellants, the state of Ohio and the attorney
general (collectively, "the state"), to be in
contempt of a court order that permanently enjoined them from
enforcing several statutes that the court had previously
declared unconstitutional. The contempt finding was based on
the General Assembly's enactment of new statutes that
reduced funding to cities that were not acting in compliance
with the statutes that had previously been declared
unconstitutional. As penalty for the contempt, the court
enjoined the state from enforcing the new laws. The Sixth
District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's
judgment. This discretionary appeal from the Sixth
District's judgment presents the question whether the
trial court had authority to enjoin the state from enforcing
the new statutes as punishment for contempt of court.
2} The General Assembly is vested with the
legislative power of this state, and it may enact any law
that is not in conflict with the Ohio and United States
Constitutions. Stetter v. RJ. Corman Derailment Servs.,
L.L.C., 125 Ohio St.3d 280, 2010-Ohio-1029, 927 N.E.2d
1092, ¶ 36. For this reason, no court may permanently
enjoin the enforcement of a statute without first finding it
unconstitutional. Further, a court order cannot be enforced
in contempt unless the order was "clear and definite,
unambiguous, and not subject to dual interpretations."
State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Hunter, 138
Ohio St.3d 51, 2013-Ohio-5614, 3 N.E.3d 179, ¶ 25. And
if a court were to clearly, definitely, and unambiguously
order the legislature not to enact specific legislation, that
order could not be enforced, because the separation-of-powers
doctrine precludes courts from enjoining the General Assembly
from exercising its legislative power to enact laws. See
State ex rel. Grendell v. Davidson, 86 Ohio St.3d 629,
633, 716 N.E.2d 704 (1999) (the legislature has exclusive
control over duties that are purely legislative in
3} Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court
of appeals, vacate the contempt order, and dissolve the
injunction against enforcing the spending provisions enacted
by 2015 Am.Sub.H.B. No. 64 ("H.B. 64").
and Procedural History
4} Since 1999, the city of Toledo has used traffic
cameras to civilly enforce traffic laws, specifically speed
and traffic-signal laws. See generally Toledo
Municipal Code 313.12.
5} In 2014, the General Assembly enacted 2014
Am.Sub.S.B. No. 342 ("SB. 342"), effective March
23, 2015, to regulate the use of traffic cameras by local
governments. The act provides, among other things, that a
law-enforcement officer must be present whenever a camera is
in operation, R.C. 4511.093(B)(1), that speeding tickets may
be issued only if the driver exceeded the speed limit by
specified amounts, R.C. 4511.0912, and that cities must
conduct safety studies and give public notice before placing
a new camera at a particular location, R.C. 4511.095. See
generally Dayton v. State, 151 Ohio St.3d 168,
2017-Ohio-6909, 87 N.E.3d 176, ¶ 4-9 (lead opinion).
6} The city sued the state and the attorney general
seeking injunctive relief and a declaration that S.B. 342
violates the Home Rule Amendment, Article XVIII, Section 3,
of the Ohio Constitution. On April 27, 2015, the trial court
declared portions of S.B. 342 unconstitutional and
permanently enjoined the state "from enforcing Ohio
Revised Code Sections 4511.093(B)(1) and (3), 4511.095,
4511.096, 4511.097, 4511.098, 4511.099, 4511.0911(A) and (B),
7} The court of appeals affirmed. Toledo v.
State, 2016-Ohio-4906, 56 N.E.3d 997 (6th Dist). We
accepted the state's appeal and stayed the briefing
schedule. Toledo v. State, 147 Ohio St.3d 1411,
2016-Ohio-7455, 62 N.E.3d 184. We later vacated the court of
appeals' judgment and remanded the matter to the trial
court for application of Dayton v. State, 151 Ohio
St.3d 168, 2017-Ohio-6909, 87 N.E.3d 176. Toledo v.
State, 151 Ohio St.3d 168, 2017-Ohio-8955, 87 N.E.3d
176. A majority of this court in Dayton held that
R.C. 4511.093(B)(1) (the officer-present provision),
4511.0912 (the speeding-leeway provision), and 4511.095 (the
study and notice provisions) are unconstitutional.
Dayton at ¶ 1 (lead opinion); id at
¶ 36 (French, J., concurring in judgment only).