Ohio Republicans Launch Campaign to Shed Light on Importance of Protecting State Constitution Through Issue 1

A group of Republicans have launched a campaign in support of State Issue 1, which wants to alter how initiative petitions can propose constitutional amendments.

The Protect Our Constitution campaign group is co-chaired by State Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) (pictured above, left) and State Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) (pictured above, right). It is backed by three major business groups in the state, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Restaurant Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Issue 1, if approved by voters, would mandate a 60 percent approval percentage for any future constitutional amendments, call for signatures from all 88 counties, and do away with the opportunity to “cure” petitions by collecting additional signatures if necessary.

According to Protect Our Constitution, nothing is radical about requiring a 60 percent vote to amend the state Constitution.

“We need to rally against out-of-state interests and extreme groups who want to make their radical agenda PERMANENT in our constitution. Our Founding Fathers intended to make it hard to amend the Constitution: It takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states to amend the US Constitution, for example. The Ohio Constitution is our most important document that protects the rights of all Ohioans. As responsible citizens, THE VOTERS must raise the bar for amending it and make sure that any future amendments are supported by more than just a simple majority,” Protect Our Constitution said.

Republican lawmakers argue that “Issue 1 protects our Constitution from deep-pocketed, out-of-state interests. By passing Issue 1, the people will ensure constitutional changes are widely accepted and declare that Ohio’s Constitution is not for sale.”

They contend that Issue 1 will ensure amendments have widespread support and tell special interests that the state Constitution is not up for grabs. By requiring signatures from voters in every county, special interests will no longer be able to cherry-pick where they gather signatures, and by restricting the do-overs on signature submissions, special interests will have only once chance to play by the rules.

Democratic lawmakers claim that Issue 1 “would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives as we know them, upending our right to make decisions that directly impact our lives.”

They insist that Issue 1 would put 40 percent of voters in charge of decision-making for the majority, would permanently undo constitutional protections that have been in place for over 100 years, would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives as we know them, and will apply to every single amendment on any issue Ohioans will ever vote on.

Republican lawmakers are getting voters to approve State Issue 1 in August before a proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion in the state constitution goes before voters in November.

A Democratic-backed group, One Person One Vote, has formed its own campaign against State Issue 1, supported by the Ohio Democratic Party and abortion activists.

According to Ohio Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou, Ohioans who believe in good government should vote yes on Issue 1.

“If you TRULY believe in good government and are being intellectually honest, it’s a YES vote on Issue 1. No functioning government should allow its foundational document to be littered with special projects. Very few states in America make it this easy. Be sure of this: if this were proposed by Democrats, the press would praise it as bold and needed reform. We cannot count on that kind of fair coverage,” Triantafilou said.

Voters will decide whether to approve State Issue 1 during a statewide special election on August 8th.

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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 “Matt Huffman” by Matt Huffman. 






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