Ohio lawmakers vote to put issue before voters in August on whether to increase the threshold for amending the Ohio constitution as abortion advocates continue collecting signatures for a possible ballot initiative on abortion in November....Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio comments....By Clevelandurbannews.com, Ohio's Black digital news leader

Women's March Cleveland leads some 2,500 women and their supporters via a protest for reproductive rights and abortion access held on October 2, 2021 at Market Square Park in Cleveland, Ohio, a sister march to marches held in cities across the country that day spearheaded by Women's March National out of Washington, D.C. ( Photo by David Petkiewicz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper and Cleveland.com)

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

Staff article

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Republican-dominated Ohio House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday primarily along party lines that puts the issue on the ballot in August of whether to require 60 percent of voters to enact a new constitutional amendment instead of the simple majority that is currently required. Separate legislation pushed by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and House and other Republicans that would have paid for the special election got scrapped in committee after some Republicans who oppose the resolution would not come on board.  

In short, voters will determine this summer, via a special election, whether to change the process for citizens to seek voter approved changes or amendments to the Ohio constitution. 

The resolution, dubbed Senate Joint Resolution 2, passed the Ohio House 62-37 with all Democrats and five Republicans opposing the controversial measure.  If seven instead of five Republicans had voted no, it would have failed as it needed a three fourths vote to pass.The Senate, which is overwhelmingly Republican, adopted the resolution April 19 by a vote of 26-7 with all Democrats opposing it and all Republicans voting yes.  

Democrats have chastised Republicans for an August 8th special election that they say is unfunded and undemocratic across the board while Senate President Matt Huffman, a Republican, said LaRose’s office has enough funding for the special election, and that if he needs more, lawmakers will reimburse him.

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat whose 23rd state legislative district includes 14 of Cleveland's 17 wards, was livid.

"It is a republic if you can keep it," said Antonio, referring to a quote made by Benjamin Franklin. "The people of Ohio have shown us that they are awake, watching what we are doing and fighting for our democracy. We must protect our constitution and maintain one person, one vote. S.J.R. 2 as amended does not do that." 

SJR2 comes as pro abortion advocates continue collecting  signatures in an effort to get abortion on the ballot in November to possibly derail a state law that is on hold per a judge's ruling but that outlaws abortion in Ohio after six weeks of pregnancy, or once a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

Hundreds of opponents of SJR2, following a picket there last week, packed the statehouse in Columbus again on Wednesday The resolution itself is a proposed amendment, and if voters agree to its provisions at the ballot box this summer it would, in raising the threshold for a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to a 60 percent vote of the electorate, require citizens to get voter signatures from all 88 counties instead of 44 to place a measure on the ballot. It would also eliminate a 10-day period in which petitioners can replace any invalid signatures. 

Petitioners need more than 413,000 valid signatures for a ballot initiative that seeks to enshrine the legal right to an abortion into the Ohio constitution. Abortion advocates, however, must now fight to collect necessary signatures in hopes of getting the abortion issue before voters in November while simultaneously campaigning to keep voters from upping the threshold by which the constitution in Ohio is amended.

The  conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court last summer overturned Roe v Wade, a 1973 landmark decision that made abortion legal nationwide, and relegated authority to either restrict or outright outlaw abortion to the country's respective state legislatures. 

Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, also a former U.S. senator and state attorney general, has pledged to do everything within his power to outlaw abortion in Ohio, though SJR2 did not need his signature for final approval after passage by the House on Wednesday.

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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