Recently, the Ohio General Assembly introduced House Bill 189 that would affect all condominium and homeowner associations within Ohio. If passed, this legislation would prohibit 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 would be in addition to the restriction on associations prohibiting the American flag already found in Ohio law. The intent of passing this bill follows the common sense approach to patriotic flags that Kaman & Cusimano has advised its clients to follow in the past. In these times of great national pride, associations should 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 the board for a community association 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.
HB 189 enjoys broad, bi-partisan support with two sponsors and 25 co-sponsors. As a result, there is a significant chance that it will be approved in both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor this year. 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 full copy of the bill, please click here.