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Public Interest Organizations File Amicus Brief in Pursuit of a Fair and Constitutional Referendum Process

MJ Eckhouse, October 11, 2019

Columbus, OH — The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), alongside Ohio Citizen Action and Moms Clean Air Force, filed an Amicus brief in the Southern District Court of Ohio today in support of the complaint filed by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts seeking to hold Ohio’s statutes surrounding referendum process unconstitutional.

Ohio’s Constitution provides 90 days for referendum, but because of statutes passed by the General Assembly, most referendum of legislation loses nearly half the days allotted. On July 23, the General Assembly passed House Bill 6 (HB 6), but Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts couldn’t start collecting signatures until August 30, thirty-seven days later. However, Ohio’s Constitution states that the General Assembly may not pass laws restricting the ability of Ohioans to use the referendum process to repeal laws.

“The OEC supports the lawsuit to declare the roadblocks to the referendum process unconstitutional,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the OEC. “Ensuring a strong democracy is of utmost concern, especially as it’s our best avenue toward ensuring a healthy climate for all who call Ohio home.”

“We’re glad to stand with allies around the state in supporting this lawsuit,” she added. “Preliminary injunction is essential to ensure the efforts to repeal HB 6 succeed—and that all future referendum pursued by Ohioans have a real fighting chance.”

“Everything about HB 6 has regular citizens in complete and utter disbelief,” said Rachael Belz, Executive Director for Ohio Citizen Action. “No matter your opinion on the bill itself, it shouldn’t take moving heaven and earth for citizens to get an issue on the ballot. Everyone in Ohio deserves the chance to vote on this.”