Ohio should not be ‘lawmaking by ballot initiative’


To the Editor:

Soon, voters in our state will vote on Issue 1, a proposal to raise the threshold for amending the Ohio Constitution.

Since 1912, our state has allowed amendments by a simple majority, which has in recent times especially been manipulated by out of state and heavily funded interests. That is why we now have a casino oligopoly across our state, etched in the constitution basically forever. That is also why we have a state minimum wage situation that now requires a vote of the people by constitutional amendment to change when necessary.

Over the last 20 years, most of the matters that were presented to voters as constitutional amendments in Ohio would best have been resolved by the legislature. For example, the process of selling marijuana has consistently been the subject of constitutional amendment.

While raising the popular vote threshold to 60% may not totally discourage that kind of nonsense, it certainly would make it less likely to be presented in the first place. Matters of constitutional law should be broad public policy. For example, the United States Constitution is available in pamphlet form almost everywhere. The last time I looked at the Ohio Constitution, in its printed form, it was nearly 15 inches thick.

We have a legislature that should legislate. If we don’t like what the legislature does, we should elect new legislators.

Lawmaking by ballot initiative is something available in very few states for a reason. Ohio does not need to follow the lead of California and other states that dispense with the normal legislative process and instead launder up their constitution with the popular positions of the day.

The constitutional process should be more serious than that. People can agree or disagree on the issue of life and the regulation of abortion.

The fact is Ohio’s process for amending its constitution has been broken for a long time.

Issue 1 is probably not perfectly-timed, but it is very necessary for a stable and certain constitutional government.

Mike Marsh

Bowling Green

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