— Does the right of referendum in the Ohio Constitution guarantee petition circulators a full 90 days?
— Does state law requiring pre-approvals by state officials violate the constitution?
— If the constitution guarantees 90 days, should petitioners’ own errors be deducted from the 90 day window?
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Lawmakers gave final approval to House Bill 6 on July 23 and Gov. Mike DeWine signed it into law that day.
That kicked off a bitter, acrimonious referendum campaign that stretched 90 days to Oct. 22. Petition circulators for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts said they faced “blockers” from opponents of the referendum, who tracked them and thwarted efforts to gather the 265,744 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
The fight over HB6 involved allegations of bribes and buyouts, millions of dollars in provocative ads, squads of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists and battalions of competing street-level workers trying collect thousands of signatures hour by hour.
Sargus called it “one of the most expensive and divisive campaigns in Ohio history.”
The new law applies surcharges to electric bills for 4.8 million consumers across the state. Money generated by the surcharges will subsidize nuclear power plants operated by Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions and coal-fired plants operated by Ohio Valley Electric Corp. The law also rolls back renewable energy standards and energy efficiency programs put in place a decade ago.
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