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NO on State Issue 1

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 2008 Election Issues

“This past May, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 3, which placed Issue 1 on the ballot.  Previously, taxpayers have paid more than $300,000 to advertise information about initiatives that ultimately did not qualify for the ballot.  But, in an effort to build voter confidence in elections, ease elections administration and save valuable taxpayer dollars, Issue 1 seeks to establish clear timelines for filing and reviewing initiative petitions, thereby avoiding the aforementioned problem.”

Or so says Ohio State Senator Larry Mumper. Mumper claims that the purpose of Issue One is to “save taxpayer money” and to “establish clear timelines for reviewing petitions.” The reality is far less flattering to state legislators.

Several citizen initiative petitions and constitutional amendments which have proven to be embarrassing to state legislators have been not just successful, but have passed by wide margins, often despite legislators efforts to sabotage them.

Issue one reduces the amount of time available to petitioners to get approval by 35 days. An examination of the history of these initiatives and referendums reveals that some of the true grass roots efforts would have failed had they not had those 35 days. You can know with a confidence approaching metaphysical certitude that legislators know it. And they are also aware that a number of them were embarrassed by their lack of support for and efforts to defeat the issues which passed by those wide margins. They also want a monopoly on what laws and amendments are passed.

The passage of Issue One would make it much more difficult for local activist groups with limited resources to get issues that the legislature refuses to move on or passes in error on the ballot for an initiative or referendum. It also makes certain that heavily resourced groups, often from out of state (e.g. ACORN) have an advantage in the initiative and referendum arena.

In short, Issue One will seriously weaken an important weapon in the arsenal of truly local citizens groups, while giving heavily resourced outsiders an advantage. It will allow state legislators to ignore the will of the electorate in controversial issues and pass half-way measures without fear of citizens embarrassing them at the ballot box with an initiative or referendum.

Vote “NO” on Issue One

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Posted in Public Policy Principles News, Public Policy Radar, The Vote.

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