Ohio Constitution

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Ohio Constitution
Seal of Ohio.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIISchedule
The Ohio Constitution is the basic governing document of the state of Ohio.

Features

The Ohio Constitution, ratified in 1851, set up the framework for state government. The document provided the rights for Ohio citizens and is the basic law of the state. This state constitution has the distinction of having one of the shortest preambles which includes just 28 words.[1]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The preamble to the Ohio Constitution states:

We, the people of the State of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this Constitution.[2]

It is one of the shortest preambles of any U.S. state constitution.[3]

Article I: Bill of Rights

Article I of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Bill of Rights" and consists of 23 sections. The Ohio Constitution's Bill of Rights is substantially similar to its federal counterpart but also includes the right to alter, reform or abolish government; rights of conscience and education; rights for victims of crime; a prohibition of imprisonment for debt; and the right to payment of damages for wrongful death.

Article II: Legislative

Article II of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Legislature" and consists of 50 sections.

Article III: Executive

Article III of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of 25 sections.

Article IV: Judicial

Article IV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Judicial" and consists of 22 sections.

Article V: Elective Franchise

Article V of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Elective Franchise" and consists of ten sections.

Article VI: Education

Article VI of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of six sections.

Article VII: Public Institutions

Article VII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Public Institutions" and consists of three sections.

Article VIII: Public Debt and Public Works

Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Public Debt and Public Works" and consists of 34 sections.

Article IX: Militia

Article IX of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Militia" and consists of five sections.

Article X: County and Township Organizations

Article X of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "County and Township Organizations" and consists of seven sections, three of which have been repealed.

Article XI: Apportionment

Article XI of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Apportionment" and consists of 15 sections.

Article XII: Finance and Taxation

Article XII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Finance and Taxation" and consists of 13 sections.

Article XIII: Corporations

Article XIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of seven sections.

Article XIV: Agriculture

Article XIV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Agriculture" and consists of 1 section.

Article XV: Miscellaneous

Article XV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous" and consists of 12 sections.

Article XVI: Amendments

Article XVI of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Amendments" and consists of three sections.

Article XVII: Elections

Article XVII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Elections" and consists of three sections.

Article XVIII: Municipal Corporations

Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Municipal Corporations" and consists of 14 sections.

Schedule

The Schedule of the Ohio Constitution is follows 18 articles and a preamble.

Amending the constitution

See also: Section 1a, Article II, Ohio Constitution and Article XVI, Ohio Constitution

The constitution lays out three different paths, in two different articles, for how to go about changing the state's constitution.

Section 1a of Article II defines the right of citizens to use initiated constitutional amendments.

  • Signatures equalling 10% of the number voting for governor in the most recent election are required to qualify an initiated constitutional amendment for the ballot.
  • The constitution says that petitions must have printed on them the words “Amendment to the Constitution Proposed by Initiative Petition to be Submitted Directly to the Electors.”

The Ohio State Legislature can propose amendments, according to Article XVI, if 60% of both chambers agree to it. The Ohio Constitution includes some unusual constitutional-level provisions governing this process including:

  • The constitution establishes the Ohio Ballot Board.
  • Elections on amendments proposed by the legislature can take place on general election days or special election days.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over matters relating to legislatively-proposed amendments.
  • Lawsuits against legislatively-proposed amendments for the most part cannot be filed within 64 days of the election.

Finally, Ohio can call a constitutional convention in two different ways:

  • The Ohio State Legislature, if approved by a 2/3rds majority, can put a question on the ballot about whether to have convention.
  • Every twenty years, starting in 1932, the question "Shall there be a convention to revise, alter, or amend the constitution[,]" is to automatically appear on the state's ballot. This 20-year cycle is invariant regardless of whether the state legislature also votes to put a similar question on the ballot from time to time.

History

Ohio achieved statehood in 1803. Prior to 1803, Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory, bound by Pennsylvania, Canada, the Ohio River and the Mississippi River. The Ordinance of 1787, enacted on July 13, 1787, divided the territory into "not less than three nor more than five States."[4]

Ohio was eligible for statehood in 1802 after the population had grown to 60,000 persons. White male voters elected delegates to draft the constitution which was approved by Congress on February 19, 1803. At that time Ohio was admitted as the 17th state.[5]

After 47 years, citizens of Ohio voted to hold a second constitutional convention. The growth of the state and inadequate government services were addressed and a second constitution was completed in 1851.[5]

After 1851, four more conventions were held to reform the state constitution. Each revision placed more power in the hands of Ohio citizens. The changes also equalized the branches of government. The last convention was held in 1912.[4]

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References