Get ready to vote on Ohio Issues

Go-Vote-500x500The poll are open for early voting at your county Board of Elections.  As you prepare to vote this weekend or on Tuesday, read up on the issues you will see on the ballot.

Issue One

This is an Ohio Constitutional Amendment that creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative districts. Currently Ohio has a ‘reapportionment’ board that draws the lines for Ohio offices. The Reapportionment board consists of five members; Speaker of the Ohio House, President of the Senate, Governor, State Auditor and State Treasurer. Currently these are all Republicans, with no minority party representation.

This amendment will add two seats from the minority party to the Reapportionment Board in an attempt to make the board more bipartisan. This amendment also changes the number of years between line changes. Right now it is every 10 years after the census. This bill has the possibility to redraw the lines every four years if there is not a unanimous vote by all seven of the members of the Reapportionment Board. This would create uncertainty on the lines and excessive confusion.

Learn more from the Columbus Dispatch – Issue 1 goal: less politics in Ohio districting

Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment, Ohio Issue 1 from Ballotpedia

Issue Two

Issue Two is an Ohio Constitutional Amendment being presented as an amendment to prevent monopolies and to protect the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit. There have been two amendments that have put monopolies directly in the Ohio Constitution; the casino amendment and the Responsible Ohio Marijuana amendment. This misuse of our Ohio citizen initiative process is a problem, but the question is ‘Is this Constitutional Amendment the solution?’

In a Policy Brief from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, Executive Director Maurice Thompson analyses the problems with Issue Two:

  • State Issue 2 is not an “anti-monopoly amendment.” The Ohio General Assembly will be left entirely free to create monopoles and rejected language that would have tied its own hands.
  • State Issue 2 precludes tax reform instead of monopolies. While Issue 2 would not stop government from creating monopolies, it would stop citizens from initiating tax reform. Ohioans would be prohibited from using the initiative to eliminate or reduce any state or local income tax, severance tax, sales tax, property tax, or other tax.
  • State Issue 2 would not preclude marijuana legalization. This issue will only override Issue 3 if it gets more votes than Issue 3, and even then, litigation is likely to preclude that effect.
  • Issue 2 is the result of a questionable political process. Only after those supporting the marijuana amendment submitted their signatures did the Ohio General Assembly spring into action, and change rules in midstream. If legislators are successful on this occasion, there is nothing stopping them from again laying in the weeds and changing the rules of the game once any citizen initiative is completed.
  • Issue 2 would allow the Ballot Board to stifle any Initiative. “The opinion of the Ohio ballot board,” without judicial review, determines whether the Ballot Board can impose additional hurdles on citizen initiatives. No standards or criteria are specified other than the Ballot Board’s “opinion.”

Editorial: Issue 2 risks citizen access to the ballot from Cincinnati Enquirer

Learn more on Ohio Issue 2 from Ballotpedia

Issue Three – Responsible Ohio

This Ohio Constitutional Amendment grants a monopoly for the commercial production of sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.  The proposed amendment would let adults 21 and older to buy one ounce of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. It would also allow a person with a license to grow, use and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana, plus four flowering plants.

It creates a network of 10 authorized growing facilities and establishes a regulatory scheme. The 10 farms will then sell marijuana to more than 1,100 retail outlets, nonprofit medical dispensaries, and manufacturers. The measure charges a regulatory commission with overseeing these businesses.

Regardless of where you stand on the legalization of marijuana, the question should be ‘Do we want a monopoly written into the Ohio Constitution?’

  • Taxes and regulates the sale of marijuana
  • Takes away the right of employers to decide if they will allow the use of marijuana of employees.
  • Monopoly and sale/grow restrictions will stay in effect even if the Federal prohibition of marijuana ends
  • Must obtain a license to grow marijuana. If you hold a grow license, you will not be granted a conceal carry license.

Election Guide: Ohio Issue 3 from Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Issue 3 from Ballotpedia

Learn more about these Statewide Issues in an interview with Maurice Thompson from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Cincinnati Issue 22

Issue 22 adds a permanent property tax levy to the Cincinnati charter. It would add $35 a year per $100,000 home.

This issue as creates a poor structure of accountability with the funds that would be raised. Under this Charter Amendment, spending decisions would be made by the Mayor and his appointments to the Parks Board, largely removing our elected City Council from the process. The decisions would be made by the Mayor and his appointments to the Parks Board, removing the elected City Council from the process. The lack of accountability creates the ability for the Mayor to approve projects that City Council would not approve.

The question voters need to answer – is this the best way to fund the parks?

Charter Committee of Cincinnati against parks levy

From COAST – Vote ‘No’ on Issue 22 Property Tax

Corporate sources back parks measure

Ballot language for Issue 22

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