On August 8th, voters statewide will address Issue 1, the Republican Legislature’s effort to raise the vote margin required on citizen-initiated referendum, an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, from simple majority (50%+1) to a 60% supermajority. The proposal is wrong and has broad, bi-partisan opposition, including former Ohio Governors, Republicans Bob Taft and John Kasich, and Democrats Ted Strickland and Dick Celeste. Also opposed are former Republican Ohio Attorneys General, Betty Montgomery and Jim Petro and former Democrat Attorneys-General, Richard Cordray, Lee Fisher and Nancy Rogers. To add more, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association issued a stinging rebuttal and called for a “No” vote.
Here’s my quick summary for a “No” vote:
HISTORY: For over 100 years, Ohioans have had a right to win on important public issues by a 50% majority vote. What’s changed? Nothing. The legislature wants more power, to clamp down on citizens’ rights and keep issues off the public agenda. The right to amend the Ohio Constitution is the last line of defense for the public, seeking policy reform. In the most recent round of anti-gerrymandering efforts and challenging legislative district lines, we have seen how important this right is in shaping fair, honest and open government.
TRUST: Should Ohio voters trust the Ohio Legislature? A supermajority 60% requirement will make it more difficult to challenge and overturn acts by legislature. Ohio just witnessed the largest bribery crimes in Ohio history by a legislative leader. Ohio should not provide legislators with less public oversight.
TILTING THE BALANCE OF POLITICAL POWER: If Issue 1 were to pass, the challenge and cost of campaigns to amend the Constitution will rise dramatically, and I am concerned that commercial interests will be the only organizations able to afford campaigns to change the Ohio Constitution, not the public. A high cost is prohibitory and should not be an added requirement in challenging a law.
ENVIRONMENT: Throughout my life and career, I have been a strong environmental advocate. As a cyclist, green energy advocate and supporter of change to address climate change threats, I want clean air and water for Ohio families. Some states have enacted environmental protection into their state constitution. A majority of Ohio residents share my environmental views, but the super-majority 60% requirement for passage imposed on Ohioans by the legislature with Issue 1 would make that a very tough challenge. Passage of Issue 1 would be an impediment to the environmental action needed.
Vote “NO” on Issue 1 on August 8th.
More about gun access and crime in Ohio — In 2019, the Republican legislature and Governor eliminated concealed-carry license requirements and a widened “stand your ground” laws, allowing broader claims of self defense. PD reporter, citing the Cuyahoga Prosecutor overseeing homicide investigations, wrote “the new laws have dissuaded the prosecutor’s office from seeking indictments in about 12 to 15 homicide cases each year.”