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Proposal Seeks To Push Groups, Citizen Activists Away From Constitutional Amendments

Ohio's 1802 and 1851 constitutions are now on display at the Statehouse.
Ohio's 1802 and 1851 constitutions are now on display at the Statehouse.

A hearing is set Thursday morning on a proposal designed to make it harder for citizens and groups to put constitutional amendments on the Ohio ballot. The plan would have to be approved by voters if lawmakers okay it, and the leaders of the Ohio House have very different ideas about it.

The proposal would move up the deadline to file for the ballot and amendments would need to pass by 60%, not just a simple majority.

Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) said he’s reluctant to make the process to get to the voters harder.  "It hasn’t been abused because those things have failed,” Strahorn said.

But Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) said any change in the state’s founding document should come from its own citizens, not from out of state groups like those that have backed recent amendments. “It shouldn’t be driven from outside sources, and anybody that doesn’t think it is aren’t looking at the fundraising of Issue 1 and other issues," said Smith.

Smith said the plan would also would make it easier for citizens to put proposed laws, not amendments, before voters – and that legislators couldn’t change such a voter approved law for at least a year.

Note: You can see and hear the full interview with Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) on "The State of Ohio" this weekend.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.