Terra Goodnight · December 7, 2022
A new fast-moving proposal at the Statehouse would create a huge new barrier for Ohioans to amend the constitution when Government leaders fail to enact the people’s wishes.
House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6) would make it significantly harder to pass citizen-initiated constitutional amendments by increasing the number of votes a proposal must get. Today a proposed ballot amendment needs a simple 50% majority, but under HJR6 that would change to 60%.
Since 1912, Ohio has had a initiative process in place through which citizens can propose constitutional amendments by collecting signatures of eligible voters, and, if they are supported by a majority ofvoters, they become part of the state constitution. HJR6 would radically disrupt that, silencing the voices of all but the most well-funded special interests, significantly undermining possible future efforts to amend Ohio’s constitution to protect workers’ rights, abortion rights, voting rights and other priorities ignored by elected officials. Over 140 organizations have signed a letter opposing its passage.
The bill in on the fast-track, as evidenced by its rapid-fire introduction, committee assignment, hearing schedule and amendments. The first opportunity for public testimony is scheduled for today, with the bill set to be voted out of committee first thing tomorrow:
|House Government Oversight Committee (member list)|
– 3pm Wednesday, December 7 (all testimony) – Statehouse Room 121, webcast
– 9am Thursday, December 8 (“10 proponent & 10 opponent witnesses only” and possible vote) – Statehouse Room 121, webcast
If passed by three-fifths of the legislature, the proposal will appear on a May 2, 2023 special election ballot. It is not subject to a veto of the Governor. If supported by voters, it would take effect 30 days after the election.
With only two weeks left in the Lame Duck session (after which HJR6 and all other pending bills become void if not enacted), there is simply not enough time to properly consider such a radical departure from citizen democracy. We encourage voters to contact their lawmaker or testify in committee against HJR6.