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Altering Ohio Constitution shouldn't be easy

Published By The Tribune Chronicle on November 29, 2022
Brian Stewart In The News

Amending a constitution should not be an easy thing. Yet in the Buckeye State petition-based amendments can pass with a simple majority. In many voting years, that means a relatively small percentage of the state’s population can alter Ohio’s constitution.

But Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Ashville, are supporting an idea to change that.

“The Ohio Constitution is supposed to serve as a framework of our state government, not as a tool for special interests,” said LaRose. “If you have a good idea and feel it deserves to be within the framework of our government, it should require the same standard for passage that we see in both our United States Constitution and here in our own state legislature. Requiring a broad consensus majority of at least 60 percent for passing a petition-based constitutional amendment provides a good-government solution to promote compromise.”

In fact, LaRose contends that the ease with which we have been able to alter our state’s constitution has resulted in a bloated document that covers topics ranging from “casinos to bond consolidation to how people select their health care.”

LaRose is right to argue that the state constitution was not meant to be a breeding ground for special interest groups to have their way with state government. The document was meant to be a framework for a “statement of basic principles and highest laws of a state.”

Perhaps in a touch of irony, LaRose and Stewart are supporting the Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment to require that 60 percent majority for passage of amendments. But they are right. It should not be so easy to make such fundamental change to our state’s governmental framework. Surely lawmakers will not find it difficult to get this one on the ballot.

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