Ohio ballot initiatives lose steam
Citizen proponents of various constitutional amendments, law changes, policy proposals and such must place their hopes and dreams on the back burners for another year, with none opting to submit signatures to push issues before voters in November as of this month’s deadline.
Backers of the Ohio Voters Bill of Rights said they had about 100,000 signatures of the 380,000-plus required to place their constitutional amendment before voters.
They say they’ll continue collecting signatures through the summer, with an eye toward November 2015. They also plan to open a Columbus office dedicated to the effort and organize a fall conference on election laws.
Proponents of legalizing marijuana for medical uses indicated they were short of the signature counts, too, and would look to next year.
“The signatures collected will still be viable for our revised goal of ballot qualification this time next year,” John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, said in a released statement.
“... Our work will continue this year into the next, raising awareness, building our coalition and pursuing every possible opportunity for reform from working with the Legislature to sponsoring local and state ballot initiatives and, as always, standing up for the rights of Ohioans who continue to be victimized by this outdated law prohibiting access to the safest and most widely effective therapy on the planet.”
A clean-energy initiative that was initially certified by the attorney general more than two years ago has offered a couple of different versions of its proposed ballot issue since then, including a new one last month.
The group behind a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal Ohio’s ban on gay marriage has said it has more than enough signatures to place its initial issue before voters. But FreedomOhio opted to begin circulating new petitions with slightly different language, restarting the process and pushing their effort past 2014.
There hasn’t been a lot of talk about a right-to-work ballot issue, aimed at blocking mandatory union membership and dues payments. One of the petitioners behind that effort has moved out of state.
Combined, that means voters can let loose sighs of relief and not have to figure out how to vote on hot-button offerings as part of an already-packed gubernatorial-year ballot.
DRUNKS ON BOATS
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued tickets to three people during one weekend late last month for “boating under the influence.”
It was part of a national crackdown on drunken boating, with ODNR officers checking 2,000-plus boaters and 671 vessels for signs of impairment and other issues. The exercise resulted in 47 citations and 641 warnings.
According to ODNR, “Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Alcohol also increases fatigue. Alcohol use is dangerous for passengers as well. Intoxicated passengers can easily slip, fall overboard or suffer other life-threatening accidents.”
The agency also reports that 15 boaters have died in accidents in Ohio this year, including a dozen who were not wearing life jackets.
Marc Kovac is The Vindicator’s Columbus correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.