Amid mass bipartisan protest, Ohio Senate passes resolution to make it harder to amend constitution
Two protestors hold up signs against the resolution to make it harder to amend the Constitution. Photo by Morgan Trau, WEWS.
Ohio senators passed on Wednesday the controversial resolution to make it harder to amend the state constitution. Chants that echoed around the Ohio Statehouse all had the same goal: shaming the GOP lawmakers.
House Joint Resolution 1 is the revived resolution to make it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Joint Resolution 2. Previously called H.J.R. 6 in the previous General Assembly (the 134th, for those keeping count), it would require those petitions to receive a 60% supermajority vote to pass, instead of the simple 50% +1. This means that about 40% of the state would get to choose the law.
More than 200 bipartisan groups have joined together to fight against this.
Chaos on Wednesday
Andrea Yagoda was set to give testimony against House Joint Resolution 1 (H.J.R. 1), the resolution that would make it harder to amend the Ohio constitution — but she didn’t get to.
The hearing ended after just a few speakers and then the Republican majority voted to approve the resolution. The Senate committee hearing the bill passed it, as well.
Ohioans will likely vote if abortion should be legal this November, but supporters of the bill are trying to streamline the resolution to get out ahead of that vote. During the last general assembly, GOP lawmakers chose to eliminate special elections in August because they cost about $20 million and have low turnout. Now, a new GOP bill has been introduced that would allow these elections.
Both the resolution and the election addition bill passed the Senate Wednesday.
“The greater good here is that we give some predictability and stability to focus on what the Constitution is going to say,” Senate President Matt Huffman said.
Citizens don’t always know what they want, he added.
“We don’t want a temporary emotion of a majority to change or take away folks rights,” he said. “That happens all the time — it’s called the tyranny of the majority.”
But for Yagoda and the more than 225 groups who have spoken out against the resolution, the tyranny is coming from the government.
Now, each bill heads over to the House.
Whether H.J.R. 1 has the votes to pass “depends on who you ask,” Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill).
“There’s a lot of counting noses going on,” Stephens said.
If he brings it to the floor, he will vote for it, the speaker added. He won’t necessarily wait until he for sure has 60 votes, he said.
As mentioned in numerous previous OCJ/WEWS articles, Speaker Jason Stephens is facing backlash from his detractors for not being a fan of the resolution and for not liking the bill to reinstate August special elections after just getting rid of them a couple of months ago.
For previous in-depth reporting by Morgan Trau on this issue, see below:
- Special interest groups seek to protect constitution from special interest groups, special interest groups say
- With abortion possibly on Nov. ballot, Ohio GOP revives measures to make it harder to amend Constitution
Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
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