House Leaders Debate Constitutional Amendment Rules

Dec 6, 2018

A hearing Thursday at the Statehouse focuses 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 approve it.

The proposal would move up the deadline to file for the ballot and amendments would need to pass by 60 percent, not just a simple majority. Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn says he’s reluctant to make the process to get to the voters harder.

“It hasn’t been abused because those things have failed.”

But Republican Speaker Ryan Smith says 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.”

Smith says 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.