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2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Big Money Issues Prompt Lawmaker To Propose Changes To How Citizens, Groups Bring Issues To Voters

Niraj Antani
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

There have only been three laws that citizens or groups have convinced Ohio voters to approve on election day – Issue 2 would have been the fourth if it had passed. Now a southwestern Ohio state representative wants to change the process to bring laws or constitutional amendments to the ballot.

Miamisburg Republican Niraj Antani’s plan would raise by 25% the number of required signatures gathered by citizens or groups. It would ban campaigns from hiring workers to gather signatures, and it would require a 60% passage rate on election day.

“The way that we’re going to restore power to the people is by blocking these out-of-state special interests from coming into Ohio and buying our ballot.”

Only 12 statutes have been brought before voters by the petition process in Ohio history, and only three passed. 17 constitutional amendments were proposed this way in the last twenty years, and only five were approved. Some who have worked on ballot issue campaigns say they think Antani’s proposal is unconstitutional.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.