WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, May 9, the Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee voted 7-5 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 2, a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would increase the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 50% to 60%. If enacted, the amendment would make it more difficult to amend the state constitution. S.J.R. 2, which was already approved by the Senate in April, passed another House committee last Tuesday and is scheduled for a vote by the full House tomorrow.
The House Rules Committee amended the resolution, altering the timeline for it to be placed before voters during the “next general or special election,” presumably in November 2023. Previously, the resolution was planned to go before voters on Aug. 8, 2023, a move that would have required a separate bill to create a special election in August solely for the purpose of approving the resolution.
Recent Republican attempts to restrict ballot measures in Ohio began in 2022, when Republicans attempted to push a similar resolution through the lame duck legislative session. When first proposing the resolution, Republican sponsors directly linked the proposal to ongoing efforts to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution and limit partisan gerrymandering. If enacted, S.J.R. 2 would make those efforts much less likely to succeed. As such, the resolution is part of a broader trend of Republican leaders taking steps to prevent the voters from enacting policy changes over their wishes.
If approved by the House tomorrow, S.J.R. 2 will be placed on the ballot for final approval by Ohio voters in an upcoming election.