Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts released a statement saying they will not file their petitions to referendum House Bill 6 with the Secretary of State’s office as planned. Signatures were due Monday. In spite of the setback, spokesman Gene Pierce said, “The fight to put House Bill 6 on the ballot in 2020 isn’t over yet though.”
The Ohio Star spoke with Pierce in early September. He explained some of the issues they were having then as they prepared to gather signatures. “Because of the rejection [an initial denial of the summary language for the petition by the Attorney General] 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 October 21 to collect the 265,744 signatures needed to access the ballot,” he said.
That deadline has now passed.
Although Attorney General Dave Yost and Secretary of State Frank LaRose ultimately approved the referendum petition, the anti-bailout organization continued to encounter obstacles.
“Nuclear bailout supporters of House Bill 6 have stooped to unprecedented and deceitful depths to stop Ohioans from exercising their Constitutional rights to put a bailout question on the ballot for voters to decide,” Pierce said the press release. “We may never know how much money the corporate backers spent in their campaign of deceit, but we estimate their television, digital and radio advertising, direct mail and their blocking and fake petition to cost over $50 million.”
The list of tactics Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts claimed were used against them included:
- spending millions of dollars on deceitful, racist and hypocritical ads,
- hiring thousands of ‘blockers’ to interfere with our petitioners and discourage
Ohioans from signing our petition,
- encouraging Ohioans to spy on their neighbors,
- bribing our petition circulators with $2,500 and plane tickets,
- buying signatures from our circulators, a fifth degree felony under Ohio law,
- circulating a bogus petition to confuse Ohio voters,
- paying circulators millions of dollars for signatures on that bogus petition and
- suggesting Ohio’s Supreme Court ignore four decades of established legal
precedent to try to keep this bailout issue off the ballot.”
The opponents of House Bill 6 are hoping their lawsuit will pan out and give them the time they need to finish collecting voter signatures. They tweeted about it last week, “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is fighting in the US District Court to challenge one of the biggest barriers to our First Amendment rights. Regardless of dirty opposition tactics, we will not be silenced- our voices WILL be heard!”
Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is fighting in the US District Court to challenge one of the biggest barriers to our First Amendment rights.
Regardless of dirty opposition tactics, we will not be silenced- our voices WILL be heard!https://t.co/9zfbb0DZxX
— Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts (@OhioansStandUp) October 17, 2019
Pierce’s final comment was, “We are fully prepared to continue circulating petitions if the court rules in our favor and grants us a full 90 days to collect signatures.”
Supporters of the bill were pleased and declared victory. Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was quoted in Gongwer saying, “I am pleased that House Bill 6 will go into effect at midnight tonight and am confident it will produce positive results for Ohio.”
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