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Two Ballot Campaigns Spend Holiday Collecting Signatures

Ohio I Voted Stickers
John Minchillo
Associated Press

It was a busy holiday for Ohio groups behind two new constitutional amendments headed to ballots in the fall. Both proposals got thousands of petition signatures, but they still have their critics.

The Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities campaign, which backed the “Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment,” submitted more than twice the 305,000 signatures needed.

That amendment would reclassify the lowest-level drug felonies as no worse than misdemeanors and require more state money for addiction treatment.

The large number of signatures are a “testament to the number of Ohioans who want our state to invest in proven treatment for addiction instead of more spending on bloated prisons," the group said in a statement.

Opponents of the amendment say state lawmakers should handle the classification of drug crimes, because it doesn’t belong in the constitution.

Another ballot issue, the “Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment,” would require annual inspections of clinics, limit how much they can charge and impose penalties for overcharging patients. A group of dialysis clinics and medical groups are opposing that union-backed effort as deceptive and unnecessary.