Posts Tagged 'Referendum'

House Dems Urge Caution with Unprecedented Legislative Repeal

Ohio House Democrats held a press conference to urge caution as House Republicans look to move forward with an unprecedented partial legislative repeal (SB 295) of HB 194.   The measures also includes additional language beyond repealing HB 194, which lawmakers contend will make this unprecedented legislative maneuver is ripe for a constitutional challenge.

“This theme is playing out across the country. In the 2008 presidential election, record numbers of young people, lower income people, and minorities voted.  Since then, Republicans have been executing a strategy to make it more difficult for those populations to vote, thereby trying to ensure their success at the ballot box this November – not by winning a clean campaign on the issues, but by gaming the system, creating voter confusion and chaos, and pursuing a set of punitive rules that hurt voters.  It is outrageous, and we will continue to speak out about their dirty tricks and tactics,” said State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D- Kent).

Most recently Reps. Clyde and Gerberry reached out to Speaker Batchelder over the legislative spring break, urging caution with the Republicans’ unprecedented legislative repeal bill of HB 194 through SB 295.  In a letter to Speaker Batchelder they laid out three consensus-building steps on how Democrats can work with the Republican leaders to ensure a smooth election this fall. First, any bill should contain a clean repeal of HB 194, not a partial repeal like SB 295. Second, bi-partisan support and consent of the petition committee would be required. Third, Republicans would have to make a firm public commitment not to make other election law changes at any point before November.  A copy of the letter to the Speaker is attached.

“Time and time again we have given Republicans the opportunity to work with us to improve our elections system, but they refuse and at every turn Republican leaders of this state prove they will stop at nothing to disenfranchise voters,” said State Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry, ranking member of the State Government and Elections Committee (D-Austintown).  I am incredibly disappointed in my colleague’s decision to continue to pursue yet another lawsuit; it is a complete abdication of our duty to the people of this state to use their hard earned tax dollars in an attempt to make their voices silent and their votes unheard.” 

 “A pre-emptive legislative repeal to a law that has been certified for a citizen’s referendum has never occurred in the Ohio General Assembly’s 209-year history.  Pursuing such an unprecedented maneuver with broad partisan opposition will only strengthen a potential constitutional challenge,” said State Rep. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron).  “Furthermore, continuing to pursue lawsuits at the federal and state level on the taxpayer’s dime in an effort to receive a different outcome is simply unacceptable.”

Yesterday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals again ruled against Secretary of State Jon Husted and Hamilton County Republicans, ordering that provisional ballots in the undecided 2010 Hamilton Country Juvenile Court judge’s race be counted.  In response, Senate President Niehaus and Rep. Blessing filed a suit in the Ohio Supreme Court against Secretary Husted in another desperate attempt to throw out registered voters’ provisional ballots.  Using taxpayer dollars to argue against counting eligible voters ballots, often cast due to poll worker error, shows just how out of whack Republicans’ priorities are.

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“This Labor Day, resolve to stand in solidarity with Ohio’s working families”

Great column from the Toledo Blade on Issue 2 as Labor Day weekend approaches.  Commentary writer Marilou Johanek talks about SB5’s assault on Ohio’s working families. Excerpts of the article are below.  

“Labor Day, 2011, will be touchy in Ohio. It marks the official beginning of an epic state battle that pits working people, unions, and Democrats against business interests, Republicans, and Gov. John Kasich.

“It’s a fight Ohioans didn’t ask for and certainly don’t need. They need jobs, not an all-out war against public employees launched along party lines.

“But GOP legislators in Columbus, taking a cue from their partisan brethren in other polarized statehouses across the country, are on a roll. They aim to swing as far to the right as House and Senate votes will allow.

“Their contentious ‘to-do’ list includes wiping out collective bargaining among state employees, which has little to do with pressing public concerns about topics from the economy to education.

“But the strategy of conservative ideologues is to strike while the iron is hot, to gain the political upper hand on party priorities while the GOP maintains majority status. The state’s Republican lawmakers exploited a budget crisis this year to pass a highly partisan measure that is hugely unpopular among most Ohioans.

“But GOP legislators went on the attack with public employee unions because they could. Senate Bill 5, signed by Governor Kasich in March, significantly weakens the rights and threatens the wages and benefits of more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees, and other public workers.

“Contrary to what SB 5 defenders claim, the measure is not reform. It is extreme political posturing masquerading as responsible policy making. It was the last straw for fed-up voters.

“The revolt was on. Finally. A citizen-initiated ballot referendum to repeal the law had no trouble getting signatures in each of Ohio’s 88 counties to qualify for a statewide vote…

“Of the roughly 1.3 million Ohioans who signed petitions to place a repeal of Ohio’s new collective bargaining law on the ballot, 915,000 signatures were certified. Now it’s up to voters to decide whether a partisan assault on working families will proceed.

“It was a punitive, unnecessary, unfair broadside against labor. From the very beginning, it was an affront to working people in the state. But employees, both union and nonunion, public and private sector, have an innate sense of foul play.

“By now, many also are aware of how Republican governors use Republican legislative majorities to extract political retribution with preordained agendas. It was widespread anger over government actions, which didn’t reflect public values, that fueled the drive to repeal SB 5.

“In a speech, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, called the Nov. 8 vote on the referendum, known as Issue 2, “the most important election in America in terms of sending a message to the radical leadership of the Republican Party.” But it will be an ugly multimillion-dollar means to an end.

“The campaigns to pan or preserve SB 5 will attract big money and big attention nationwide as a bellwether of Republican strength in the 2012 presidential race…

“But polls show Ohioans get it. Whatever one thinks about the need to reform the public sector, SB 5 is over-the-top severe. Lawmakers went too far in the guise of cutting costs.

“Watch as proponents make a sucker punch to the middle class sound positively praiseworthy. Do not be misled.

“On this Labor Day, resolve to stand in solidarity with Ohio’s working families and against those in power determined to diminish them — and us.”

Read the full article here.

Rep. Clyde Criticizes Latest Attempt to Thwart Referendum

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde raised concerns over Secretary of State Husted’s directive to prohibit county boards of elections from mailing out absentee ballot request forms to all registered voters.

 “This is yet another overreach that has become common practice of the Ohio Republican leadership.  Secretary Husted’s directive is a blatant attack on the citizens’ right of referendum clearly outlined by the Ohio constitution.  Secretary Husted supported an ill-conceived elections law that passed without any bipartisan support and is now trying to rescue some of its provisions from a referendum effort by concerned citizens around the state.” 

House Bill 194 would drastically change Ohio’s elections laws and included a prohibition on mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, a practice used in large counties to cut down on Election Day costs. A petition drive is underway to place HB 194 on the Nov. 2012 ballot as a referendum. This would halt the implementation of the bill until the voters decide. Secretary Husted’s directive is an attempt to skirt this possible referendum. 

 “This repeated claim of needing policies that create uniformity is disingenuous.  These policies will actually create huge disparities on Election Day.  We shouldn’t require counties with over one million people to use the same practices as counties with only 13,000 people.  We don’t require Cuyahoga County with more than 1,000 precincts to limit itself to just 20 precincts because that’s what Vinton County has,” Rep. Clyde said. “I am very disappointed in Secretary Husted’s decision that will hurt Ohio voters.”

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