By Marc Kovac
Ohioans would be able to force recall elections for Gov. John Kasich and other state officeholders, under legislation being introduced by two Democrats in the Ohio House.
Reps. Bob Hagan, of Youngstown, D-60th, and Mike Foley, from Cleveland, said the bill was prompted by the recent passage of controversial collective-bargaining reform and low approval ratings for the governor.
“This has a lot to do with this governor,” Hagan told reporters during a press conference at the Statehouse on Wednesday. “We think that he is relying on bad advice and what he thinks is working is not working. He’s dividing the state. He’s hurting the people of this state.”
Foley added, “[Some] folks are upset with the direction of the state and they’re upset with the direction of the governor. ... They’re upset with the budget that was introduced two weeks ago. And they feel like three months into the term of the new General Assembly and the governor, they’ve got no recourse.”
The state constitution already allows for the impeachment or removal of state officeholders “upon complaint... for any misconduct involving moral turpitude or for other cause provided by law.”
But there are no provisions in the constitution or state law outlining a process to enable voters to recall state elected officials.
The bill being proposed by Hagan and Foley would require opponents to file petitions containing signatures equal to or greater than 15 percent of the turnout in the most recent general election when governor or legislative candidates appeared on the ballot.
The recall would take place during the next scheduled regular election or during a special election date set by the secretary of state.
The resulting election would ask voters whether an officerholder should be recalled and, if so, which candidate should serve in their place.
The legislation would cover the governor and the five other statewide elected offices and state lawmakers but not Supreme Court justices. Close to 20 other states have comparable statewide recall provisions already in place.
The legislation isn’t expected to gain approval of the Republican-controlled House or Senate, however. And Gov. John Kasich isn’t supporting the move.
“There’s a lot of politics going on,” the governor said Wednesday, in response to a question about the recall legislation. “My whole purpose is to fix this state. And when you take a look at what we did over ... the last 90 days, it’s pretty remarkable.”
Lots of changes from JobsOhio to the common sense initiative to public-private partnerships, closing an $8 billion structural deficit. That’s where my focus is. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the other political things that go on.”