|I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI • XII • XIII • XIV • XV • XVI • XVII • XVIII • Schedule|
- 1 Features
- 2 Preamble
- 3 Article I: Bill of Rights
- 4 Article II: Legislative
- 5 Article III: Executive
- 6 Article IV: Judicial
- 7 Article V: Elective Franchise
- 8 Article VI: Education
- 9 Article VII: Public Institutions
- 10 Article VIII: Public Debt and Public Works
- 11 Article IX: Militia
- 12 Article X: County and Township Organizations
- 13 Article XI: Apportionment
- 14 Article XII: Finance and Taxation
- 15 Article XIII: Corporations
- 16 Article XIV: Agriculture
- 17 Article XV: Miscellaneous
- 18 Article XVI: Amendments
- 19 Article XVII: Elections
- 20 Article XVIII: Municipal Corporations
- 21 Schedule
- 22 Amending the constitution
- 23 History
- 24 See also
- 25 External links
- 26 Additional reading
- 27 References
The Ohio Constitution of 1851 sets the framework for state government and provides rights for the people of Ohio. With numerous later amendments, the 1851/1912 Constitution remains the basic law of the state. It has one of the shortest preambles of any state constitution:
We, the people of the State of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our general welfare, do establish this Constitution.
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The preamble to the Ohio Constitution states:
It is one of the shortest preambles of any U.S. state constitution.
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 of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Legislature" and consists of 50 sections.
Article III of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of 25 sections.
Article IV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Judicial" and consists of 22 sections.
Article V of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Elective Franchise" and consists of ten sections.
Article VI of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of six sections.
Article VII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Public Institutions" and consists of three sections.
Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Public Debt and Public Works" and consists of 34 sections.
Article IX of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Militia" and consists of five sections.
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 of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Apportionment" and consists of 15 sections.
Article XII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Finance and Taxation" and consists of 13 sections.
Article XIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Corporations" and consists of seven sections.
Article XIV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Agriculture" and consists of 1 section.
Article XV of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous" and consists of 12 sections.
Article XVI of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Amendments" and consists of three sections.
Article XVII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Elections" and consists of three sections.
Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution is entitled "Municipal Corporations" and consists of 14 sections.
The Schedule of the Ohio Constitution is follows 18 articles and a preamble.
Amending the constitution
The constitution lays out three different paths, in two different articles, for how to go about changing the state's constitution.
- 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.
Before Ohio achieved statehood in 1803, it was part of the Northwest Territory, the area bounded on the east by Pennsylvania, on the south by the Ohio River, on the west by the Mississippi River, and on the north by Canada. On July 13, 1787, Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance, also known as the Ordinance of 1787, to establish a government for the Northwest Territory and eventually to divide that area into "not less than three nor more than five States." On April 30, 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed into law an enabling act that authorized “the inhabitants of the eastern division of the territory northwest of the river Ohio” to initiate the procedures necessary to be admitted to the Union as a state.
Eligibility for statehood came in 1802, when the population reached 60,000 persons. Male voters elected delegates to a constitutional convention. The delegates drafted the constitution on which our state government is based. On February 19, 1803, Congress approved the constitution and admitted Ohio as the 17th state. The constitution called for a bicameral legislature, similar to the federal model, consisting of a House of Representatives and Senate.
In 1850, the people of Ohio voted to hold a second constitutional convention. Rapid population growth, an inadequate judicial system, legislative power, tax reform and flexibility were some of the issues that were addressed. Ohio's second constitution was completed in 1851.
Two more constitutional conventions were held to construct today's government. Each one placed more legislative power in the hand of the voters. The conventions also helped equalize the branches of government, giving the governor veto power at the third constitutional convention in 1873. The fourth and final convention was held in 1912.
- State constitution
- Constitutional article
- Constitutional amendment
- Constitutional revision
- Constitutional convention
- Ohio Legislative Service Commission, "The Constitutional Framework of the Ohio State Government"
- Ohio General Assembly, "Ohio Constitution Online"
- The Ohio Historical Society, "Ohio Fundamental Documents - Searchable Database"
- Scarselli, Gino J., and Steven H. Steinglass. (2004). The Ohio State Constitution: A Reference Guide, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing
- Ohio General Assembly, "Ohio Constitution Online," accessed March 30, 2014
- Ohio SOS, "The Historical Documents: The Ohio Constitution," accessed March 30, 2014
- CSU Ohio Law, "The Ohio Constitution: A Brief History," accessed March 30, 2014
- The Ohio House of Representatives, "History of the Ohio House of Representatives," accessed March 30, 2014