BG Council has dueling resolutions on Ohio Issue 1


By Peter Kuebeck

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The controversial Ohio Issue 1 provoked dueling resolutions which were introduced at Thursday’s Bowling Green Council meeting.

If passed, the amendment would raise the threshold for passing future Ohio constitutional changes from a simple majority to 60%. The issue is the subject of a special election to be held Aug. 8.

The resolutions were introduced by councilmen Jeff Dennis and Greg Robinette, respectively.

Dennis’ resolution was entitled “Resolution Urging Bowling Green Residents to Vote ‘No’ on Issue 1 on or Before August 8, 2023.”

It reads, in part, that Issue One would raise the threshold for passage of a constitutional amendment to 60%, thus giving 40% of the voters the ability to block the will of the majority. His resolution also stated that the August special election “will cost Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars and is being held during a time when few Ohioans are likely to vote.”

It goes on to say that Bowling Green Council opposes Issue 1, that council opposes the Ohio Legislature’s use of taxpayer funds to hold an August special election for this purpose and that council believes Bowling Green citizens should vote no on Issue 1 in order “to uphold the sacred principle of government by the majority.”

In a statement distributed on Wednesday, Dennis wrote in part that Issue One “is not and should not be a partisan issue. The principle of government by the majority is foundational to our democracy. Issue 1 would severely undermine that principle and strip Ohioans of a right they’ve had for more than 110 years.”

Robinette’s resolution is entitled “Resolution Urging Bowling Green Citizens to Decide for Themselves How to Vote on Ohio Issue 1.”

It said that Issue 1 would offer Ohio citizens an opportunity to enable the state to join 34 other states whose threshold for amending their State Constitution is greater than a simple majority of voters.

The resolution also said that Issue 1 would bring Ohio’s constitution closer to the U.S Constitution, which requires two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states to amend the Constitution.

Also, Issue 1 preserves citizens’ rights to propose constitutional amendments. Raising the threshold to amend the Ohio Constitution will protect citizens from out-of-state special interests who have invested millions of dollars to manipulate the Ohio Constitution, Robinette’s resolution station.

“It is arguably against state and federal law for the Council of Bowling Green, Ohio, to tell its citizens how to vote on Issue 1,” the resolution said.

Robinette’s resolution concluded with council “opposes telling its citizens how to vote on Issue 1.” Council “supports the right of its citizens to decide for themselves how to vote on Issue 1” and council “does not advocate for partisan positions or talking points on state and national issues that are not directly related to its local governance functions.”

Later in the meeting, when it came time for the reading of legislation, Dennis noted that council’s next scheduled meeting is not until Aug. 7, the day before the special election. In light of that, he asked that his resolution be given its second reading Thursday night, so that it could receive its third reading and be voted on at the Aug. 7 meeting.

When the proposal was voted on, it received four “yes” votes, and two “no” votes.

Voting for it were Dennis, Rachel Phipps, Nick Rubando and Mark Hollenbaugh.

Robinette and Bill Herald voted against it, meaning it did not reach the necessary threshold to receive the second reading that night. Councilman Joel O’Dorisio was absent.

Both Dennis’ and Robinette’s resolutions received first readings during the meeting.

Council also heard from residents on Issue 1.

“The passing of Issue 1 would restrict our freedom and take away our rights,” said resident Lindsay Jo Durham. “It permanently shreds our constitution, ends majority rule in Ohio, and takes away our right to decide what happens here, by undermining the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote.’”

“Currently, ballot initiatives require 50% plus one to pass,” Durham said. “The constitutional amendment would also require 5% of signatures from all 88 counties for an issue to be placed on the ballot, compared to the current 44 county requirement. The 10-day cure period for signatures would also be eliminated. This special election, lobbied for by special interests, and funded by taxpayers, is an attack on our constitutional rights and an attack on our democracy.”

“Simply, minority will override the majority of voters, allowing a minority to make decisions for everyone else,” said Joyce Kepke.

“If this law passes,” said Debbie Dalke, “it will allow 41% of the voters to stop a law that 59% of the voters want. That is truly unbelievable. This amendment is unnecessary.”

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