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Ballot language sparks new lawsuit

Statehouse flowers
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio

A joint resolution approved by the legislature will ask voters if they want to increase the majority needed to pass an amendment, but a new court case may get in the way.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss this ongoing legal battle.

The 60-40 split

Ohio voters are set to decide in August whether to make it harder to amend the state's constitution. If voters approve the measure, it would increase the majority needed to pass an amendment from a simple majority (50% plus 1) to a 60% majority. The resolution would also make it much harder to get on the ballot by requiring petitioners to get signatures from every Ohio county, not just half the state's counties as they do now.

The battles over the resolution are now in the courts. Opponents of the move say the legislature cannot use that joint resolution to order a special election in August because the legislature just last year outlawed such August elections.

The other court battle involves the language voters will see on the ballot. Opponents have gone to court arguing the ballot language is deceiving. It says the amendment would "elevate the process of changing the constitution," but the language does not clearly say the threshold would move from a simple majority to a 60% majority.

Trans bans

The culture wars continue in the Ohio Statehouse, as Republicans have introduced a new bill that would limit the rights of transgender people. The bill, introduced by Representatives Adam Bird and Beth Lear, would require K-12 and public college students in Ohio to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth.

This is the latest in a series of efforts by Republicans in the Statehouse to limit the rights of transgender people. In March, the House passed a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing on high school and college sports teams. Another bill under consideration in the Ohio House would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming care.

Opponents of the bill say that it is discriminatory and harmful to transgender people. They argue that the bill would force transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match their gender identity, which could lead to harassment and violence. They also argue that the bill would deny transgender students access to essential health care.

The bill is currently in committee, and it is unclear whether it will pass the House.

Snollygoster of the week

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has long been rumored to be a potential candidate for president in 2024. However, there was one obstacle standing in his way: Florida law prohibits the sitting governor from running for president.

That obstacle was removed on Wednesday, when DeSantis signed a bill that allows the governor to run for president while still in office. The bill was immediately challenged by the League of Women Voters of Florida, which called some other parts of the bill voter suppression.

The bill, which was passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, makes a number of changes to the state's election laws. Among other things, it makes it more difficult for third-party groups to register voters, and it requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls.

The League of Women Voters of Florida filed a lawsuit challenging the bill on Thursday, arguing that it violates the First Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit is pending in federal court.

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.