Ohio Republicans Move To Restrict Constitutional Amendments
UPDATE: On Dec. 12, the House Government Oversight Committee approved H.J.R. 6 along party lines, sending the resolution to the floor.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Republicans have introduced House Joint Resolution 6, a proposal that would make it more difficult for voters to amend the Ohio Constitution. Currently, proposed amendments only need to earn 50% of the vote to go into effect. Under H.J.R. 6, amendments would need to earn 60% of the vote to be enacted. The proposal is supported by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), who argued the change is needed to prevent special interests from hijacking the amendment process.
The resolution is part of a trend of Republican-controlled states attempting to enact measures making the ballot initiative process more difficult. Earlier this year, South Dakota Republicans attempted to raise the threshold to approve amendments in order to prevent a successful effort to expand Medicaid through the ballot. If Ohio adopts a similar rule, future measures protecting abortion rights or targeting partisan gerrymandering would become more difficult for voters to approve.
Both houses of the Ohio Legislature need to approve H.J.R. 6 with a three-fifths majority. If so, the proposal would go to the voters for approval — likely during the low turnout 2023 primary election.