COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A vote on a proposed resolution to make it more difficult for citizens to amend Ohio’s constitution has been delayed.
The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee was scheduled to vote on House Joint Resolution 6 Thursday but rescheduled it for Dec. 12. The resolution seeks to raise the threshold for citizen-initiated amendments to pass from a simple majority to 60% of the vote.
“We had some members that were going to be absent, and they could not make committee so, we didn’t want to take a vote,” said Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro), chair of the Government Oversight Committee.
If a full committee is not present for a vote, other members of the legislature typically fill their spots. But Wilkin said that would not have sufficed for this resolution.
“I believe subbing in people at this point for a vote on this without the knowledge of the witnesses [wouldn’t have worked] — I think leadership made a good choice and I agreed,” Wilkin said.
Despite there being no vote, and only two testimonies — one for the resolution and one against — the third hearing lasted well more than an hour.
“When you make it more difficult to pass a constitutional amendment, it ensures that a greater number of Ohioans are represented in that process,” Travis Taylor from Opportunity Solutions Project said.
But opponents of the bill have said increasing the threshold disenfranchises the majority.
“We’re talking about 60% of the vote,” Catherine Turcer from Common Cause Ohio said. “And you might say 10% is not that much more, but we’re talking about millions of dollars more spent, you’re talking about a lot of effort to get to that 60%.”
If the resolution passes the House and the Senate, the decision will head to voters’ ballots in May.
Also on Dec. 12, the committee expects to vote on another election bill that, among other things, allows online absentee ballot requests and eliminates early voting on the Monday before Election Day.