Court sides with Tea Party on petition
By MARC KOVAC
The Ohio Supreme Court ordered Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Ohio Ballot Board to “immediately certify” a Tea Party group’s ballot petition language as one amendment, allowing the Ohio Liberty Council to move forward with its efforts to counter the new federal health-care mandate.
The decision Thursday changes the ballot board’s certification of the petition language as two separate constitutional amendments — a move that would have forced backers to get voter signatures on two separate petitions to place the issue on the ballot.
But the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the ballot board “abused its discretion and clearly disregarded” state law in its decision.
The amendment proposed by the Ohio Liberty Council would prohibit any law or rule that forces individuals, employers or health-care providers to buy or sell health care or insurance or levies a fine against those that choose not to participate.
To place the issue on the November ballot, proponents will have to gather more than 400,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters by the end of June.