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Week in Review: May 21, 2023

Written on May 19, 2023


Opponents of an amendment that would require future Ohio constitutional amendments to reach a 60% threshold to be adopted filed a lawsuit Friday, May 12 seeking to block an August special election where voters will decide the issue. One Person One Vote, the opposition group to SJR2 (Gavarone-McColley), filed the lawsuit against Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Three Ohio voters who oppose the measure are also plaintiffs. They argue that the Ohio Revised Code, after passage of 134-HB458 (Hall), now only permits local August elections, and only in localities that are under a fiscal emergency. They seek a writ of mandamus directing LaRose to remove the constitutional amendment proposed by SJR2 from the Aug. 8 special election ballot and to instruct county election officials not to proceed with the special election.

Then this week, the ACLU of Ohio Thursday filed an amicus brief with the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of the Ohio League of Women Voters in a lawsuit challenging the use of an August special election for SJR2 (McColley-Gavarone), the 60 percent constitutional amendment, filed by One Person, One Vote.

SJR2 (McColley-Gavarone), the 60 percent constitutional amendment, was officially designated as State Issue 1 by the Ohio Ballot Board Thursday. The board also approved the ballot language and explanation of the proposed amendment. The ballot language was adopted on a 3-2 vote, with Democrats voting against it. It was written by staff of Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the chair of the Ballot Board.

The amendment is titled "Elevating the Standards to Qualify for and to Pass Any Constitutional Amendment." The amendment would do the following:

- Require that any proposed amendment to the constitution of the state of Ohio receive the approval of at least 60 percent of eligible voters voting on the proposed amendment.

- Require that any initiative petition filed on or after Jan. 1, 2024 with the secretary of state proposing to amend the constitution of the state of Ohio be signed by at least 5 percent of the eligible voters of each county in the state.

- Specify that additional signatures may not be added to an initiative petition filed with the secretary of state on or after Jan. 1, 2024, proposing to amend the constitution of the state of Ohio.


Members of NFIB Ohio heard remarks from Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) during the organization's Small Business Day Wednesday, with each of the three officials including the budget in their comments. Huffman described Senate plans on changing tax policy, saying that will reward work and risk-taking, and focused on state spending for Medicaid and K-12 education as well. He compared those areas to "two big glaciers running side-by-side" and said there continue to be "record increases in spending" for both. Stephens also discussed income tax changes, saying they will be implemented "from the bottom up" with a flat 2.75 percent rate for those making up to $92,000 a year. He said the House version of the budget is "fiscally responsible" and "utilizes the one-time investments" for the All-Ohio Future Fund and brownfield redevelopment while addressing economic growth and workforce development, protecting families and the most vulnerable, and committing to education across Ohio.


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) says his Summer Manufacturing Camps for Ohio youth will rebound to 36 gatherings in 26 counties this year after the COVID-19 downturn. In their 11th straight year, the summer camps seek to raise children's and parents' awareness that manufacturers are no longer the hardscrabble factories of the past but instead hi-tech production centers offering promising careers.

"We're burying the term Rust Belt," Brown said during a press call Wednesday. He partners with manufacturers and K-12 schools to host the summer camps at no cost to children or their parents. Youth tour local manufacturing facilities, learn about careers in their communities, and work as a team on projects specific to their region.


Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday the state is expanding its "skill-based hiring practices" as part of efforts to be a model employer at the national level, with a de-emphasis on qualification requirements that are stated in terms of academic degrees. DeWine signed an executive order (EO) as part of this effort. "The state of Ohio has been at the forefront of recognizing the importance of hiring a diverse workforce based upon the skills they bring to an employer," DeWine said. "Today's executive order furthers Ohio's nationwide-leading work with unique initiatives to further our efforts to recruit the best talent regardless of academic degree."

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday that 391 employers were approved for funding in the March round of TechCred, which will enable Ohioans to earn 4,656 tech-focused credentials. It is the 19th round of the program and manufacturing remained at the top of the list of industries applying for credentials. The second-highest industry was professional, scientific and technical services.

This feature was provided by Hannah New Service and selected for you by OSCPA Government Relations Staff.

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