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Government & Politics

State Legislature Looks to Limit Citizen Efforts to Amend Ohio Constitution

House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) talking to reporters following a House Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday.
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Leaders of the Ohio legislature say it’s time to look at changing the methods citizens groups are using to try to amend the state’s constitution. 

House Speaker Ryan Smith says Ohio’s constitution is under attack, as groups have been asking voters to amend it as a way to get around the legislature on certain issues. And the Republican leader says that’s not what the state’s founding fathers envisioned.

“We’re going to work in a bipartisan way to have those discussions and try to make sure that we do our best to protect that document because it is too important.”

Senate President Larry Obhof also says he thinks the constitution is being used and abused. Right now those who want to change the constitution have to gather signatures from half of Ohio’s 88 counties, and that total needs to be at least 10 percent of the last vote for governor – which has been more than 305,000 signatures. Lawmakers might try to increase that number or raise the threshold for passing future constitutional changes through the ballot.