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Ohio House Debates Plan To Restrict Constitutional Amendments

Ohio History Connection

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 O.K. 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.

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," Smith said.

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.