House speaker not interested in proposal that makes amending Ohio's constitution harder
The Republican-backed plan to put a proposal requiring 60% voter approval for constitutional amendments before voters in a special election in August may be dead, since Republican House Speaker Jason Stephens says he’s not interested in pursuing the measure.
Two Republican senators introduced a bill to bring back an August special election to allow for votes on constitutional amendments, but only those proposed by state lawmakers.
But Stephens notes a law that takes effect next month eliminated August elections under most circumstances because they generate little turnout but high costs.
“We just voted to not have those anymore just a few months ago. And the county election officials I've talked to are not interested in having it. I'm frankly not interested in having an election in August,” Stephens said.
Though several Republicans haven’t used the August vote to change the amendment process to a planned reproductive rights amendment in November, Senate President Matt Huffman said stopping abortion would be worth the $20 million estimated cost of a special election.
On Wednesday, Republicans in the Ohio Senate advance the proposal. But unlike the House version, it doesn’t require signatures for a proposed amendment to be gathered from all 88 counties. It doesn’t eliminate the 10-day period to gather more valid signatures if the drive falls short.