Ohio repeals HB 194, lawsuit likely
COLUMBUS, Ohio: On May 8, the Ohio House of Representatives approved SB 295, a partial repeal of the controversial HB 194. The bill passed the state Senate on March 28 and now moves to Governor John Kasich (R).
On December 9, a referendum was certified placing HB 194 on the fall ballot. However, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has said that the referendum will no longer appear before voters given the repeal.
Notably, proponents of the referendum strongly opposed the legislative repeal effort. They contend that SB 295 subverts the rights of voters to consider the full bill. Most importantly, SB 295 leaves intact restrictions on early voting contained in HB 194 but duplicated in separate legislation.
If the repeal is signed, it will be the first time in Ohio that a bill subject to referendum has been repealed. Given the lack of legal precedent, SB 295 could trigger a lawsuit to determine the fate of the referendum vote.
Update: On May 15 (after the publication of this article), Governor Kasich signed SB 295 into law.
- Cleveland.com, "House Republicans postpone expected vote on legislation to repeal Ohio elections law scheduled for a referendum," April 25, 2012
- Cleveland.com, "Ohio House votes to repeal controversial election law," May 8, 2011
- KFVS, "Ohio gov signs bill to get rid of new election law," May 15, 2012