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Legislation Introduced Protecting Service Flags

The Ohio Senate has introduced Senate Bill 51 that affects all condominium and homeowner associations within Ohio. If passed, this legislation prohibits all community associations, through their rules or recorded declaration provisions from restricting the display of blue star banners, gold star banners, and other service flags.

This prohibition is in addition to the restriction on associations prohibiting the American flag already found in Ohio and Federal law.  This bill’s intent follows the common sense approach to patriotic flags that Kaman & Cusimano has advised our clients to follow in the past.  In these times of great national pride,  associations must consider permitting such displays of patriotism to honor those serving in the armed forces and their families here at home, whether or not required by law. While a community association board may implement reasonable restrictions how such flags may be displayed, just as they do now with the American flag, an outright ban would be unreasonable and may lead to angry, upset owners and even negative media attention.

SB 51, introduced by Senator Coley and co-sponsored by Senators Hite, Beagle, Jones, and Schaffer, likely will enjoy broad, bi-partisan support. As a result, we anticipate that there is a significant chance that it will be approved in both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor. If, for some reason, it does not become law, we still recommend that all Ohio condominium and homeowner associations create reasonable rules for permitting service members and their families to display these patriotic flags.

To view a copy of the bill, please click here.