Editor’s note: This press release, dated June 16, 2015, announces the introduction of a resolution that should have been part and parcel of Ohio’s constitution from its inception. One of the weaknesses of the state constitution is that it has been too easy to amend in ways that make little sense. Though I favor this resolution, hasn’t the damage already been done? Of course, the damage I am referring to is the legalization of casinos in Ohio. Had Ohio’s constitution not been allowed to be amended to establish a business monopoly and prevent said monopoly from any future competition, we would not have the current abominable amendment on the books that allowed the establishment of 4 Ohio casinos (Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati) all backed by a particular group of casino investors. To me, Ohio should have had zero casinos (and no state lottery, either). But if Ohioans demand casinos, then the casinos should not be monopolies and they should not be protected from future competition. If Ohio must have casinos, then let them be no different than other retail businesses. If someone wants to be a restaurant owner, no problem. If someone wants to be a gas station owner, no problem. If someone wants to be a casino owner in a state where casinos are legal, there should also be no problem. Unfortunately, this resolution cannot undo what has been done, but at least it can prevent future improprieties of this sort. I hope this is indeed on the November ballot and that Ohioans turn out to support it.–DJW
State Reps. Ryan Smith and Mike Curtin Introduce Resolution Prohibiting Constitutional Monopolies
COLUMBUS—Today, State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Mike Curtin (D-Marble Cliff) introduced a resolution that prohibits an initiated constitutional amendment that would grant a monopoly in the state of Ohio from being proposed as law or as a constitutional amendment through the petition process.
House Joint Resolution 4 calls for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot for the November 3rd general election of this year that would ensure that monopolies cannot be created through the use of constitutional amendments. This would block any upcoming initiatives that create a monopoly from becoming effective in the Ohio Constitution.
“I believe that, as elected members of this government, we are all called upon to protect our Constitution from being exploited for personal profit,” Rep. Smith said. “In addition, as the current standard-bearers of this state’s democratic process, for us to allow any person or group of people to enshrine in this Constitution a provision that would only serve the financial interests of a highly selective group of wealthy individuals would be a tremendous moral failure and an injustice to every citizen of this great state.”
“This would protect Ohio’s century-old constitutional initiative process from those who would pervert it, who would stand it on its head, who would use it to protect the privileged few rather than to protect the many against the privileged few,” said Curtin. “All we ask is that Ohioans be given the opportunity to vote this November to protect their state constitution—to protect it from those who would carve into it a self-serving, and permanent, monopoly.”
H.J.R. 4 will receive sponsor testimony today in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee at 1:30 p.m.