Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced the issue numbers that will be assigned to the three issues on the statewide ballot this fall. The issues up for vote include:
Issue 1: Judicial age increase - By House Joint Resolution 1, the General Assembly has proposed a constitutional amendment to increase the age beyond which an individual cannot assume judicial office pursuant to election or appointment from 70 to 76 years old. It also proposes that the General Assembly no longer be able to establish courts of conciliation and Supreme Court commissions. These provisions were included in the constitution in the mid-1800s to help clear up Court backlogs and have not been used since 1883. If approved, the changes would immediately become part of the state constitution.
Issue 2: Senate Bill 5 referendum - By initiative petition, voters will be asked to approve or reject the collective bargaining reform measures included in Senate Bill 5, passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. If a majority of the voters do not vote to approve of the bill, then the enacted changes do not take effect and the prior version of the law remains in effect.
Issue 3: Health care - By initiative petition, opponents of the federal health care reform's individual mandate are asking for a constitutional amendment stating that Ohioans cannot be forced to buy health insurance. The Ohio constitutional amendment would say that in Ohio, no law shall "compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system." It also would say that no rule or law will prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance, and no fines can be levied for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.
While Issues 1 and 2 will clearly be on the ballot this fall, opponents of Issue 3 challenged the validity of 69,000 of the signatures on the petitions on Friday, August 5. The Secretary of State’s office certified 426,998 valid signatures for Issue 3; at least 385,245 valid signatures are required by law to qualify the measure for the ballot. The Ohio Supreme Court is constitutionally required to rule on the challenge no later than August 15, 2011.
House and Senate shakeups
As House and Senate members continue to leave the chambers for other opportunities or personal reasons, there have been a huge number of new faces due to appointments. In fewer than seven months, the Senate has appointed six new GOP members. Of the Senate openings this year, two occurred because members won election to other posts, three were appointments to positions within Governor John Kasich's administration and one took a job heading the Ohio Gas Association. The impact of Senate appointments also hits the Ohio House, which often is where new Senate members are drawn - of the six senators appointed this year, five have come from the House. Changes this year include:
District 30 - Robert Mecklenborg resigned for personal reasons | vacant
District 37 - Peggy Lehner appointed to Senate | Jim Butler attorney from Oakwood
District 50 - Todd Snitchler appointed chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio | Christina Hagan daughter of former Rep. John Hagan from Alliance
District 55 - Bill Coley appointed to Senate | Margaret Conditt former P&G executive from Liberty Township
District 76 - Cliff Hite appointed to Senate | Robert Sprague former City Auditor from Findlay
District 77 - Jim Zehringer appointed Director of Department of Agriculture | Jim Buchy business owner and former legislator from Greenville
District 83 - Dave Burke appointed to Senate | Dorothy Pelanda attorney from Marysville
District 94 - Troy Balderson appointed to Senate | Brian Hill farmer and former Muskingum County Commissioner from Zanesville
District 98 - Tim Grendell chose to remain in the Senate | Richard Hollington attorney and former legislator from Cleveland
District 1 - Steve Buehrer appointed Administrator of Bureau of Workers Compensation | Cliff Hite former teacher and football coach from Findlay
District 4 - Gary Cates resigned to take position at the Board of Regents | Bill Coley attorney from Liberty Township
District 6 - Jon Husted elected Ohio Secretary of State | Peggy Lehner former City Council member from Kettering
District 20 - Jimmy Stewart resigned to take private sector position | Troy Balderson farmer and auto dealer from Zanesville
District 22 - Bob Gibbs elected to Congress | Larry Obhof attorney from Montville Township
District 26 - Karen Gillmor appointed to Ohio Industrial Commission | Dave Burke pharmacist from Marysville
For more information, including Legislator contacts and Committee schedule, visit: www.legislature.state.oh.us