Sham Committee Shuts Down Testimony, Passes Harmful Resolution with Slim Majority
COLUMBUS, OH — In a narrow 7-6 vote, the Ohio House Constitutional Resolutions Committee passed a resolution allowing HJR 1 — a bill that seeks to increase the ballot threshold for amending the constitution from a simple majority to 60% — to a floor vote.
Following the resolution’s passage, a denial of 111 years of direct democracy rights, Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, made the following statement representing a growing coalition of 227 organizations in opposition to a 60 percent threshold and an August special election for special interests.
“Since 1912, Ohioans from across the political spectrum have utilized the right to amend our Constitution via the petition process. Direct democracy gives voters the ability to make a real impact and has helped engage Ohioans in the political process. There is no justifiable reason, after over 100 years, to make this already challenging process even harder.
“Today, a sham committee shut down public testimony in opposition. This is not what democracy should look like. Extreme lawmakers turned away over 100 Ohioans who took time from their day to show up and testify in opposition. Committee Chair Phil Plummer clearly did not want to hear from voters. He and an ultra-slim margin of his anti-voter colleagues had already made up their minds, and they bullied this bad idea out of committee.
“We have a growing coalition of 227 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of voters who will not compromise the sacred principle of one person, one vote. In Ohio and this country, a simple majority means 50 plus one equals democracy. We will not allow this undemocratic, unfair, unnecessary, and unpopular attack on voting rights and freedom to stand.”
Additionally, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2 this afternoon, which also changes the threshold for passage of amendments to the Ohio Constitution to 60 percent. Similar to HJR 1, this measure makes the citizen initiative process more difficult by requiring 5% of the gubernatorial vote in all 88 counties. These proposals also remove the “cure period” for collecting additional signatures if a campaign falls short.