A referendum initiative to repeal House Bill 6, a controversial bill that some call a nuclear bailout, cleared two major hurdles last week.
On Thursday, “Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost…approved the summary language for a proposed referendum to repeal House Bill 6 – the legislature’s $1 billion bailout of nuclear power plants,” announced NBC4. Yost had initially rejected the language, submitted by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts.
Then on Friday, Secretary of State Frank LaRose notified the group that he had certified the required 1,000 signatures and text of their petition. This clears the way for the final hurdle – gathering signatures from a minimum of 265,744 registered Ohio voters. If achieved, House Bill 6 will be placed on the November 2020 ballot.
Gene Pierce, a spokesman for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, told NBC4 that “the Attorney General’s quick resolution of our petition language will help Ohio voters exercise their Constitutional right to put controversial legislation up to a statewide vote.”
After the initial denial, Pierce spoke with The Ohio Star and explained: “Because of the rejection we have missed the deadline for the spring primary, so we’re aiming for November 2020. It was already too late for this fall’s election. We have until Oct. 21 to collect the 265,744 signatures [a Constitutional requirement equaling 6% of the vote in the last gubernatorial election] needed to access the ballot. The Constitution gives us 90 days after the passage of a bill to collect signatures for a referendum.”
LaRose’s website provides a detailed description of the process that Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is pursuing. Some of the steps include:
- Petitioners must create a committee of three to five people.
- A $25 filing fee must be included.
- In addition to obtaining signatures from a minimum of 6% of the last gubernatorial vote, the petitioners must also gather the signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
One bonus for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is the fact that if they succeed at meeting all the legal requirements for their referendum petition, House Bill 6 will be put on hold until the statewide vote occurs. According to LaRose’s explanation, “if the petition is found to be valid, the law or section of law will not go into effect until and unless it is approved by a majority of the voters at the first regular or general election which occurs at least 125 days after the petition is filed.”
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