Time is running out for lawmakers to pass measures to make it harder to amend the state constitution. One measure would ask voters to raise the threshold for passage of future amendments to 60%. A second measure is needed to schedule and fund an August special election for the vote. That second measure is needed because lawmakers just passed a measure in December that essentially takes August off the election calendar. Lawmakers passed that measure due to the cost and low turnout of August elections. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says lawmakers have until May 10 to give elections boards time to run the election.
More than 200 organizations including voting rights groups have come out in opposition to both measures. Wednesday, hundreds of protesters demonstrated at the statehouse.
The slowdown is in the Ohio House. Expected votes and committee meetings didn't happen this week. Supporters of the threshold amendment and the August election say Speaker Jason Stephens is slow-walking the legislation.
In addition to the protesters against the amendment threshold increase and the August election, another protest drew university students and faculty on Wednesday.
These demonstrators came to voice opposition to Senate Bill 83 which seeks to overhaul higher education in the state. The bill, sponsored by Kirtland Republican Jerry Cirino, contains many components including banning mandatory diversity training, requiring mandatory American history courses for all students, and prohibiting programs with China. The measure is known as the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act. But some opponents have renamed it the "Higher Education Destruction Act."
A ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana use is potentially headed for the November ballot.
The Ohio General Assembly failed to act on the measure by a deadline Thursday. That means the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol coalition can begin work gathering the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters. The group has been working on this proposal since 2021. Supporters believe it is non-partisan issue and will pass.
Republicans in the Statehouse are behind the idea of closing Ohio's partisan primaries. Currently, Ohio voters do not have to declare their political affiliation when they register. Voters can vote in Republican or Democratic primaries by asking for the ballot of the party they wish to vote for at the time they cast their ballot. That means a voter could vote Democratic one year and Republican another year, but some want to change that and Secretary of State Frank LaRose is on board with it.
-Abigail Bottar, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Ken Schneck, Editor, The Buckeye Flame
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV