Ohio Republican State Senators Move Closer to Putting Constitution Protections on the August Ballot

Republican state lawmakers are getting closer to putting a measure on the ballot in August that would need 60 percent of voters to approve constitutional amendments.

State Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced two pieces of legislation on Wednesday, one which aims to alter the process of how constitutional amendments can be proposed by initiative petitions and one to allow for special elections to be held in August for certain purposes.

The senators introduction of Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2 immediately followed the first hearing of State Representative Brian Stewart‘s (R-Ashville) House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1, known as the “Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment.

SJR 2 is similar to Stewart’s legislation in requiring 60 percent voter approval to amend the constitution. But unlike the version in the House, SJR 2 does not require signatures for a proposed amendment to be gathered from all 88 counties, and it doesn’t eliminate the cure period for constitutional amendments, which allows citizen-led organizations to gather additional signatures if their initial batch doesn’t meet the requirements to make the ballot.

According to Gavarone, SJR 2 will take power away from special interest groups.

“For years, well-funded, out-of-state special interests have manipulated the process to amend our constitution for their own gain. SJR 2 will take power away from those special interests and give it back to Ohioans,” Gavarone said.

Stewart applauded McColley and Gaverone for joining in his efforts to protect the Ohio Constitution.

“I appreciate our Ohio Senate GOP colleagues Rob McColley and Theresa Gavarone for joining the effort to pass the Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment,” Stewart said.

The other bill introduced by McColley and Gavarone is Senate Bill (SB) 92, to allow Ohio to hold special elections in August for certain purposes.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill (HB) 458 into law earlier this year, drastically altering the state’s election laws, including requiring a photo ID and eliminating August elections.

The introduction of this legislation comes mere days after Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) indicated that his caucus is considering whether they should place HJR 1 on the ballot in a statewide August special election.

“We have a lot of special elections in different times other than May and November. Of course, we’ve eliminated the August election as a recurring election, but we’re going to certainly look at that,” Huffman said.

According to Stewart, it would cost approximately $20 million to hold a special election in August, the exact cost as it was in 2022.

“The cost would be the same for any other statewide election that we’ve had in the state of Ohio,” Stewart said.

Republican lawmakers such as State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) say they have requested time and time again to strengthen Ohio’s constitution without success.

“We have repeatedly asked and pressed to strengthen our constitution and not allow it to be hijacked by left-wing socialists by requiring a 60 percent threshold, and we’ve been blocked for doing that,” Merrin said.

Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) President Aaron Baer has also continuously urged Ohio lawmakers to move quickly to pass legislation to increase the threshold to amend the Constitution to 60 percent.

“We also cannot allow liberal and pro-abortion special interests to attempt to buy their way into Ohio’s Constitution,” Baer said.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Rob McColley” by Senator Rob McColley. Photo “Theresa Gavarone” by Ohio Senator Theresa Gavarone. Background Photo “Ohio Statehouse” by . CC BY-SA 4.0.


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