The people’s right to amend the Ohio Constitution through the ballot initiative is under attack. The right of citizens to propose and pass amendments to the Ohio Constitution through the ballot initiative process was wisely added to our constitution by the people over a century ago, but some politicians now think they know better. The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission was created by the General Assembly in 2012 to recommend constitutional amendments for the legislature to place on the ballot, but, problematically, the commission is filled with politicians and lobbyists. Thus, commission recommendations must be scrutinized for fidelity to the public good versus the special interests of political insiders.
On May 11, a subcommittee of the commission formally approved a recommendation to add extraordinary burdens and restrictions on citizen-initiated amendments — but those same burdens and restrictions would not apply to amendments proposed by the politicians in the legislature.
The full commission held its first hearing on the subcommittee recommendation on May 11. No member of the commission voiced any objection to the proposed burdens and restrictions to be heaped upon the citizen’s initiative.