Just before Tuesday’s vote, BG Council’s dueling Issue 1 resolutions fizzle


By Peter Kuebeck

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With Tuesday’s election looming, Bowling Green Council on Monday voted to postpone indefinitely two resolutions concerning the controversial Issue 1.

Issue 1 is the only issue on Tuesday’s ballot. It would change the Ohio Constitution so that an amendment must be passed by a vote of 60%.

The Bowling Green resolutions were introduced by councilmen Jeff Dennis and Greg Robinette in June.

Dennis’ resolution is 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 and 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.

The resolves concluding the resolution stated that Bowling Green Council opposes Issue 1; that the 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 in June, Dennis wrote in part that Issue 1 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 was entitled “Resolution Urging Bowling Green Citizens to Decide for Themselves How to Vote on Ohio Issue 1.”

It read, in part, that Issue 1 would offer citizens of Oho an opportunity to enable the state of Ohio to join 34 other states whose threshold for amending their State Constitution is greater than a simple majority of voters; that Issue 1 would bring Ohio’s constitution closer to the U.S Constitution which requires 2/3 of both houses of Congress, and 3/4 of the States to amend the Constitution; that Issue 1 “preserves citizens’ rights to propose constitutional amendments” and raising the threshold to amend the Ohio Constitution will protect the people of Ohio from out-of-state special interests who have invested millions of dollars to manipulate the Ohio Constitution; and that it is arguably against state and federal law for Bowling Green Council to tell its citizens how to vote.

The resolves of Robinette’s resolution stated that the council opposes telling its citizens how to vote on Issue 1, that council supports the right of its citizens to decide for themselves how to vote on Issue 1, and that 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.

During the June 29 meeting when it was introduced, Dennis had asked that the resolution receive its second reading that night, so that it could receive a third reading and be voted on at Monday’s meeting, held the day before the election. Resolutions, once passed by council, go into effect immediately.

Dennis’ proposal received four votes in favor and two against, meaning it did not reach the necessary threshold to received a second reading during the June meeting.

On Monday, Dennis’ resolution came up for its second reading, and he moved that it be given its third reading that night. The motion received five votes in favor, and two votes against from Robinette and Bill Herald, again meaning the motion failed to reach the necessary threshold.

Dennis then moved to postpone the resolution indefinitely; the resolution would otherwise receive its third reading, and come up for a vote, during council’s next meeting on Aug. 21, long after the Aug. 8 election.

Councilman Nick Rubando noted that the Ohio Supreme Count did not rule until June 16 as to whether the Aug. 8 election is even constitutional.

“We had to wait until that ruling came out to find out if we can even have this election,” Dennis said, adding that he introduced his resolution at the earliest possible time.

The vote to postpone Dennis’ resolution was unanimous.

Subsequently, Robinette’s resolution also came up to receive its second reading, and Robinette moved that it be postponed indefinitely. That vote was also unanimous.

Earlier in the meeting, Mayor Mike Aspacher took note of the fact that the next day was election day.

“We don’t often vote in August,” he said, but encouraged people to vote.

“I continue to contend that casting a vote is one of our most important civic responsibilities,” Aspacher said.

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