Editor’s note: Sean Kalin Stipe is a Lorain resident. In 2009, Stipe ran for Lorain City Council. More recently, he’s written a guest blog article about the rise of the Libertarian Party in Lorain County. He is currently Deputy Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of Ohio. Here, he has summarized the issues that are projected to be on ballots statewide, provided petitions are filed containing the required number of valid signatures.
2011 BALLOT ISSUES
Work has begun on potential ballot issues for the November 2011 election. Ballotpedia.com has identified five proposed measures, one of which is legislatively referred. The issues include judicial reform, gambling, health care, immigration and state sovereignty.
The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment “Ohio Judicial Appointment Amendment” would create a bipartisan selection panel that recommends candidates to the governor. Justices would serve 2 years, after which a retention election will be held. During retention elections, justices will not face an opponent. Ohio is one of 21 states that currently elects their justices. In 1987, Ohio voters defeated the “Ohio Abolish Supreme Court Elections,” which proposed abolishing the election of Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges.
Supporters argue that a “merit system” will help reduce the influence of money in judicial election races.
Opponents argue that the amendment would reflect the views of the elite and not of the general public.
In order to place the measure on the ballot, the proposed measure must garner support by 3/5 of lawmakers in the House and the Senate. Should that fail, there is the option of an initiated constitutional amendment. That petition method requires 400,000 valid signatures.
The veto referendum “Slots at Horse Tracks” looks to delay implementation of, and possibly repeal, the legislature’s “casino implementation” HB 519. That bill contains implementing provisions for the “Ohio Casino Initiative.” Issue 3 was passed by voters in November 2009 with 52.9% of the vote. It authorizes the building of one casino each in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo. Horse track owners object because Issue 3 did not allow slots at horse tracks.
The “Health Care Amendment” is a citizen initiated constitutional amendment (CICA) which exempts residents of Ohio from national health care mandates; also know as “Obama Care.” The Ohio Liberty Council fell short of the signatures needed to make the 2010 ballot.
The Opposition argues the proposed amendment would block the federal health care reform bill without offering alternative options.
Supporters argue that The federal government has a limited set of enumerated powers. None of these powers includes the ability to force people to purchase health insurance, or anything else for that matter.
Another CICA titled “Immigration reform Initiative” would authorize police to question a person’s immigration status if there are any suspicions. The initiative mirrors the immigration bill in Arizona passed in 2010.
Ohio Senator Tim Grendell (R) is supportive of the proposed measure:
“If they are getting services in Ohio they are not legally entitled to and taxpayers are paying for this, we need to stop it.”
Opponents argue that anti-immigration legislation negatively affects local housing markets, lowering the values of other homes in neighborhoods and collecting less property, sales and income tax.
The most significant CICA, “Sovereignty Amendment” deals with the administration of government. Aside from “reining in government,” the measure would allow juries to nullify laws; expand the right to bear arms and maintain militias; permit the recall of elected officials by petition signatures alone; ban federal enforcement of laws except through a county sheriff; and require that all public school operations through the 12th grade be regulated at the district level only.
The issues are very complex and the challenge is to explain all the elements and the complexity of the proposal. Proposed by The People’s Constitution Coalition of Ohio, they state that the . . .
“American people are quickly reaching the limits of their endurance for governmental encroachment upon their rights and liberties. They are seeking an end to the barrage of federal legislation and mandates currently being forced upon them that will effectively place them and their posterity into perpetual financial servitude and surrender the sovereignty of our country to foreign powers.”