Ohio Constitutional Amendment process question
January 10, 2010 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #79656
Can someone explain to me the process for getting a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot in Ohio? (If the intricacies of this topic were covered in 7th grade Ohio History & Govt, I might’ve been asleep that day.) I’ve been following the casino news quite closely, and there’s one thing I have a big question about.
In a Jan 10 Dispatch article regarding the potential to change the casino’s location from the Arena District, it states:
“If the company decides to change sites, a new statewide measure would be needed. The General Assembly must approve an amendment by the end of business on Feb. 3 to place a proposal on the May 4 primary ballot.”
Does this mean that the General Assembly approved the LAST casino ballot initiative that passed statewide (but not in central Ohio)??? If so, then I have a HUGE problem with the current representatives in the GA. That amendment, as written by the casino companies, is NOT as favorable to the state of Ohio as it could be. Why would they approve it for the ballot????
I’m starting to think that I have been misdirecting my irritation at the amendment process when I should be irritated with the GA for approving such a ridiculous amendment to go to ballot….
Please help me understand how the process works.
TIAJanuary 10, 2010 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #332801
Its called direct democracy. Citizens petition the government with an adequate number of verified signatures to put an amendment on the ballot, basically.January 10, 2010 9:00 pm at 9:00 pm #332802
Then why does the General Assembly have to approve an amendment proposing a change of address for the casino? Couldn’t a group just gather enough signatures to put it directly on the ballot?January 10, 2010 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #332803
in 3 weeks?January 10, 2010 9:16 pm at 9:16 pm #332804
The OGA had nothing to do with the Issue 3 amendment.
If you want to propose a constitutional amendment, here’s the process.
The highlights/extreme basics:
* Sumbit your initial plan/amendment to the Attorney General along with 1,000 signatures of qualified electors.
* Gather signatures to get it placed on the ballot. You’ll need a) total signatures (from qualified electors) equaling at least 10% of the last governor election, b) signatures collected from at least 1/2 (i.e. 44) of the counties, and c) from each of those 44 counties, signatures amounting to at least 5% of that county’s vote in the last governor election.
* Submit the signatures to the Secretary of the State, who determines whether or not you have enough valid ones to qualify.
* If you have enough, you’re on the ballot.
Again, the above is over-simplified but I think still an adequate enough summary.
There is a process whereby the OGA is involved in the process. That procedure is called an Initiated Statute.
It’s very much the same as the process for a constitutional amendment, except it allows the OGA a certain amount of time to act on the issue before it reaches the ballot. This was the process for the sick-leave initiative pushed a couple years ago, then pulled.January 10, 2010 9:17 pm at 9:17 pm #332805
There are two ways to get a statewide amendment on the ballot. The first is to collect signatures of at least ten percent of the last gubernatorial election; the signers need to be registered voters. Here is the nitty gritty of what needs done before you start collecting signatures.
The second (and easier way) is the Ohio legislature can propose constitutional amendments. To do this, the legislature needs a 3/5 majority from each house.January 10, 2010 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #332806
Thanks for the explanation and websites. Very helpful! Now I understand what’s going on. The initial amendment was put on the ballot via the signature method, and the proposed change of address amendment is happening via the OGA method. I take back my original rant.January 14, 2010 5:20 am at 5:20 am #332807
the cruise director wrote >>
Thanks for the explanation and websites. Very helpful! Now I understand what’s going on. The initial amendment was put on the ballot via the signature method, and the proposed change of address amendment is happening via the OGA method. I take back my original rant.
You can still kind of rant. Penn National originally went to the legislature and they were turned away. So, the OGA passed on the opportunity to be proactive and create something that served the state better. I guess they thought the referendum would fail. So in their passivity, they left their jobs to the electorate and we see how that turned out.November 3, 2015 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #1100178
Then why does the General Assembly have to approve an amendment proposing a change of address for the casino? Couldn’t a group just gather enough signatures to put it directly on the ballot?
Under Article 16 of the state constitution, either house of the legislature can submit amendments to the Constitution, which then go to ballot. It’s a fast-track process. It’s only when you want to submit an amendment outside of the legislature that you need to go through all the rigmarole.
The rigamarole for citizens to submit amendments are explained here:
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