Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and GOP state Rep. Brian Stewart announced a resolution to put the 60% question before voters in November, amid the whirlwind final weeks of the last legislative session.
LaRose said requiring a 60% supermajority to amend Ohio’s constitution would be “a win for good government,” assuring a broad base of support to make changes to the state’s founding document and making it more difficult for amendments backed by well-funded interest groups to succeed. It comes as proponents of abortion rights, redistricting reform and recreational marijuana are eyeing ballot campaigns in the GOP-controlled state.
“The secretary strongly feels changes to something as significant as our state constitution should require a broad consensus for approval,” spokesman Rob Nichols said in response to a request for comment. “We believe the best way to do that is by increasing the threshold necessary for passage, but we're open to other ideas if they achive the same result.”
Stewart's resolution died for a lack of votes. It initially appeared to be off the table this session, as part of a negotiation with Democrats that landed Republican Jason Stephens a surprise victory as House speaker. But it was reintroduced this month at the behest of a GOP break-off group.
Republican efforts to toughen rules for passing citizen-led ballot initiatives are part of a several-year trend that gained steam as Democratic-aligned groups have increasingly used petitions to force public votes on issues that GOP-led legislatures have opposed. Beyond Ohio, it also has been announced as a Republican legislative priority in Missouri this session.