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Bill to Limit The People's Referendum Ability Clears House

Senate Bill 47 infringes on constitutional guarantees, ensures state government is tougher to challenge
March 20, 2013
Democrat Newsroom

COLUMBUS- The Ohio House voted 56-37 today to impinge the citizen veto process in Ohio.  Senate Bill 47 will reduce the number of days available for citizens to collect signatures for a ballot referendum.  

 “The right to referendum is one of our most cherished rights.  It represents the ability of the people to rein in the legislature and governor when they enact bad law,” said state Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery).

 “For over 100 years, Ohioans have had the ability to collect signatures and go directly to the voters when state lawmakers have overstepped their boundaries. SB 47 pinches that right.”

 Under SB 47, Ohioans would have a much smaller window in which to gather enough signatures to challenge laws passed by the General Assembly.  The bill moved fairly hastily through the Senate and the House, receiving only two hearings in the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee on March 13th and March 19th.

 “Somebody is still stinging from SB 5,” continued Rep. Pillich.  “For there is absolutely no legitimate reason for the onerous measures in this bill.” 

 SB 5 was the 2011 bill that restricted collective bargaining rights for public employees.  Voters overwhelmingly repealed the bill, using the referendum process guaranteed in our state constitution.  About 1.3 million people signed petitions to put the measure on the ballot.

 Senate Bill 47 has no known supporters of its referendum limiting provisions, other than the bill’s sponsor.