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The Spectrum: New bill would make passing ballot initiatives more difficult in Ohio

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – A bill introduced in the Ohio General Assembly has some state lawmakers up in arms.

State Rep. David Leland said Republicans are trying to take away rights that Ohioans have enjoyed for a century with a bill that would make it more difficult for citizens to pass petitions to get an issue on the ballot.

“The people of Ohio have had, for more than 100 years, the right to petition their lawmakers by taking ballot initiatives and by amending the constitution,” Leland said. “For 100 years, they have had that right and they want to take it away in two weeks. It’s just an abuse of power.”

Ohio citizens have lead initiatives that resulted in things like minimum wage hikes and term limits. Leland said that other legislation like medical marijuana and redistricting reforms were taken up by lawmakers simply because of the threat of ballot initiatives.

The bill calls for increasing the threshold needed to approve an initiative to 60% of voters and making it so that petitions can only be signed during the winter.

“They are making it even more difficult for people o get petitions and then they are making it more difficult for a petition to pass by raising it from a 50% margin of victory to a 60% margin of victory,” Leland said. “What is the argument for having the petitions only be signed in the winter? Because they don’t want them!”

NBC4 has reached out to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith regarding the bill. We have yet to receive a response.

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