FILE: Police car

(The Center Square) – A business curfew at a popular night spot in Columbus in response to a string of shootings in the area is under fire by the Ohio House.

Monday night, the Columbus City Council unanimously approved an earlier executive order from Mayor Andrew Ginther that food trucks and carts in the Short North area of the city close at midnight.

The moves come after a man was shot and killed in the neighborhood Sunday, and 10 people were hurt in a May 6 shootout that resulted in police officers firing their weapons. Ginther also has asked other businesses to close at midnight to help curb violence.

In response, two state lawmakers quickly introduced legislation stopping municipalities from implementing curfews, with certain exceptions.

Both Reps. Jeff LaRe, R-Violet Township, and D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, said the bill was a direct response to Ginther’s order.

“During my career as a state representative, I have worked hard to protect Ohio’s small businesses,” LaRe said. “This legislation continues this trend by removing barriers for small businesses while simultaneously promoting public safety by redirecting efforts towards supporting law enforcement.”

The council said Monday it plans to review the decision sometime in June to see if the midnight curfew should end or be extended.

Under the proposed state legislation, cities could still impose curfews for people under age 18 or in response to a state of emergency.

“One of my priorities has always been to alleviate economic burden on businesses,” Swearingen said. “This legislation will ultimately protect Ohio small businesses from being penalized for crime in their cities.”

House Bill 180 has yet to be assigned to a committee for hearings.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.