Ohio ballot initiative older archives

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Petition drive is started to recall McClure's Mayor


An effort is under way to unseat the mayor of this Henry County village for placing residents’ safety “at risk” by refusing to appoint new police officers and getting in the way of officers’ doing their jobs.

“If he can’t think of what’s best for the town, then somebody else can,” said Tommie Zervos, a single mother who helped to start the petition drive.

While some residents say their problems with Mayor Dean Dawson have festered for a while, things came to a head at last month’s council meeting when the mayor refused to swear in three new auxiliary officers without giving a reason.

Council member Linda Thomas, who heads the police committee, said the mayor has tried “to defeat everything that we’re trying to do for the good of the community, and there is no reasoning behind what he’s doing. Every time I ask him for a reason, his answer is because I said so, because I don’t want to.”

Mr. Dawson, who was just elected to his second term, said he is not trying to get rid of the police department, although he believes the need for it is exaggerated.

The petition for removal from office, which requires 38 signatures before it can be submitted to Henry County Common Pleas Court for a hearing, accuses Mr. Dawson of “obstruction of justice, coercion, intimidation, abuse of power, neglect of duty, and misconduct in office.”

It claims the mayor went looking for an officer and sent him home while the officer was conducting an investigation, that he exposed undercover agents at the corner tavern, that he instructed an officer to back off an investigation, and that he has refused to carry out duties that Village Council directed him to perform.

Karla Sexton, a former council member, had considered starting a petition to remove the mayor when she heard another group had beaten her to it.

She said she wants McClure to have police officers in town so they can respond quickly when there’s a problem, so they can deal with the alleged drug activity, and so they can police vehicular traffic along U.S. 6 and State Rt. 65, which intersect in McClure, a village of 761 people.

“The biggest thing for me with him is that he is totally dead-set against the police department,” she said.

Mayor Dawson said he will see what happens next.

“If they don’t want me, I’ll hang it up,” he said. “The problem is they’re going to create the problem all over again. I seem to have a fair amount of support for my decisions other than I’ve got a couple, three council members opposed to me, and several people in town align themselves with those council people.”[1]

Time running out for Ohio Healthy Families Act and still no hearing


With a month to go before a proposed paid sick-leave mandate dies on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives, the measure's backers are turning the spotlight on the lawmakers they're pushing to act.

Ohioans for Healthy Families, a coalition of 180 organizations that support the mandate, on Tuesday highlighted what it called hypocrisy in the General Assembly: Public records indicating legislators in the House and Senate have taken off more than 600 session days with pay since January 2005.

According to the records, Ohio House representatives in the 38-month period took off a combined 510 days, 106 of which were related to illnesses or medical purposes and 107 of which were for undisclosed reasons. In the same time period, senators missed 114 days, 12 due to illnesses and 64 of which were for undisclosed reasons.

Since the measure hit the legislative floor in January, kicking off a 120-day window for lawmakers to act, the bill hasn't received a hearing.

"We want to hear legislators explain to regular people why paid sick days for regular people is a bad idea but paid sick days for politicians is a good idea," Dale Butland, the spokesperson for the coalition, said.

If adopted, the seven-day paid sick leave requirement would affect businesses with 25 or more employees in the state, a measure proponents say would put Ohio on par with developed countries. Some in the business community have complained the mandate would lead to increased costs and abuse of the rules.

Karen Stivers, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, said the legislator in February indicated he planned to assign the proposal to a committee and hold at least one hearing - and he's sticking to it.

"We have indicated we'll have a hearing on the legislation, and we plan to," Stivers said. "There are a number of issues we're currently addressing in the legislature."

If the House doesn't act by the May 8 deadline, proponents plan to take the issue to the ballot in November, a move Butland has said would be costly but likely.[2]

See also: Ohio Healthy Families Act (2008)

Gov. Strickland's Job Stimulus plan hits a roadblock


Governor Ted Strickland said Friday that he wouldn't presume his $1.57 billion jobs stimulus package will move forward. The proposal calls for investing in new and emerging industries, as well as a higher education workforce initiative aimed at keeping more college-educated residents in the state.

The proposal involved using money from the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation, but as it turns out, there are many board members there who are unhappy with the plan, which called for using $230 million the foundation's money to help foot the bill.[3]

The Plain Dealer Politics Blog reports that The Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation "took steps to stash its cash before the governor and the General Assembly can snatch it..."[4]

The bipartisan effort indicates the plan should pass. But there are no guarantees, Strickland said.[3]

DeVos PAC fined record $5.2 million by Ohio elections board

4/6/2008: The Ohio Elections Commission has levied a record $5.2 million fine against a political action committee headed by former Michigan Republican Chairwoman Betsy DeVos that supports candidates who favor school choice.

All Children Matter's political action committee in Virginia sent $870,000 to its PAC in Ohio for the 2006 election cycle. The contribution was illegal because All Children Matter's Virginia PAC wasn't registered in Ohio, said Philip Richter, the commission's executive director.

Former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, Betsy's husband, set up All Children Matter in 2003 to promote efforts in other states to push vouchers and tax credits for businesses that create scholarships for children to attend private schools.

Since 1999, the DeVos family has poured at least $7 million into expanding school choice -- vouchers, tuition tax credits and charter schools -- and promoting candidates who back those causes.

The bipartisan Ohio Elections Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to fine each of the two PACs $2.6 million, or three times the amount of the contribution.

It's easily the largest fine the Ohio commission has levied.

All Children Matter attorney Bill Todd said Ohio law allows PACs affiliated with each other to make unlimited money transfers. The group will appeal the ruling in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Todd said the hearing before the commission lasted just 20 minutes and the commission wouldn't listen to constitutional arguments he wanted to raise.[5]

Could Ballot Measure bring Democrats to the polls and in turn put a Democrat in the White House?

Just as an Ohio constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004 brought conservatives to the polls to help re-elect President Bush, Democrats hope a paid sick-leave measure on this year's ballot would help propel a Democrat into the White House.

The clock is winding down for state lawmakers to act on a petition-initiated bill that would make Ohio the first state to mandate a minimum amount of paid sick leave for workers, setting the stage for a ballot issue in November that some believe could help attract Democrats to the polls.

If the 120-day clock runs out on May 8 without action by the Ohio General Assembly, it is expected the coalition will return to the streets to gather a like number of signatures by early August to put the Healthy Families Act directly before voters.

Rep. Kevin DeWine (R., Fairborn), deputy chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said he doesn't believe that ballot issues drive voter turnout. So he has no qualms about opposing passage of the bill as a state legislator.[6]

See also: Ohio Healthy Families Act (2008)

Proposal unveiled to build 80,000 jobs in Ohio

Governor Ted Strickland has proposed an initiative for the November 2008 ballot in Ohio, which is designed to create 80,000 more jobs over a 3 to 5 year period by issuing $1.7 billion in new bonds. The proposal is not on the ballot yet, but Strickland may try to gather signatures if the state legislature doesn't act on it soon. Strickland's plan calls for investments in the Clean Ohio Fund, the Public Works Commission, advanced energy, and more.[7]

Socialist Party candidate sues Ohio over ballot restrictions

Columbus Attorney and Professor of Law at Capital University Mark Brown filed a lawsuit March 7, 2008, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio's Eastern Division on behalf of Socialist Party USA presidential nominee Brian Moore, who wants to run for President as an independent on Ohio's November ballot.

Moore has to collect at least 5,000 signatures from registered voters in the State of Ohio in order to qualify. The suit is challenging Ohio's requirement that petition circulators be Ohio residents and registered to vote in Ohio. Moore wants to use non-resident volunteers, resident volunteers who are not registered to vote in Ohio, as well as non-resident paid professionals to circulate petitions. The complaint charges that the state of Ohio restrictions violate the First Amendment.

Moore says that Ohio's restriction against using out-of-state petitioners is "particularly harmful to a party as small as the Socialist Party-USA." Michigan is one of the party’s most active state organizations with many members who might be willing to petition in neighboring Ohio if they were permitted to do so. Moore, as well as his party, is attempting to gain ballot access in 20-25 other states for 2008. The Socialist Party qualified in only 10 states in 2004.

Ohio imposes the most burdensome restrictions of automatic qualification and petition qualification; as a result, it has seen the fewest number of minor parties.[8]

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals calls Ohio ballot restriction unconstitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District ruled March 5, 2008, that an Ohio statute making it illegal to pay people gathering petition signatures by any means other than a per-time basis is a violation of the First Amendment. The court affirmed the district court ruling in the case, brought by Citizens for Tax Reform.

Citizens for Tax Reform officials testified that the political consulting firm they had engaged to manage the group's petition drive prior to the law taking effect informed them that the cost of the drive would increase by approximately $300,000 under the new law. CTR testified that the additional cost forced them to put an end to any plans to qualify the amendment for the ballot as long as the law was in force.

The opinion concluded that "the State largely misses the point that free speech can be costly. By making speech more costly, the State is virtually guaranteeing that there will be less of it."[9]

Ohio Casino Measure

The Casino Measure has decided to target Dayton, Ohio for the launch of the petition drive that hopes to instate a $600,000 casino. MyOhioNow.com currently have offices and locations in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Youngstown, Akron, and other areas statewide.[10]

ACLU threatens lawsuit over ballot scanning

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit a federal judge to stop the scheduled March 4th presidential primary election in Cuyahoga County of Ohio if it switches to paper ballots. The county has proposed a system where paper ballots from all precincts would be sent to a centralized location to be scanned and counted.

The ACLU argues that the central scanning system involved in the paper ballot plan would violate voters' constitutional rights and insists that scanning be done at the precinct level so voters can be alerted to any errors and be permitted to correct them.[11]

Ohio Casino proponents file initiative

MyOhioNow.com is submitting a revised initiative to the Ohio Attorney General to allow one $600,000,000 resort/casino in Ohio. The submittal of the casino initiative petition, with 2,425 signatures, occurred only six days following last week's Ballot Board's rejection of the initial proposal based on verbiage of the liquor license and gaming commission language.[12]

Second Attempt to put Casino on ballot in Ohio

In Dayton, OH, proponents are submitting a second initiative to put a $600 million casino on the ballot. Attorney General Marc Dann's rejected the language summarizing the amendment on the first petition they turned in but suggested changes needed to make it "fair and truthful." The group filed a second petition last week and expect Dann to rule on by the end of the month.[13]

See also

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