Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

GOP launches an attack on state initiatives

The payback for RON begins with the Ohio Senate attempting to make future ballot referenda nearly impossible. Yes, there is a certain danger in having the republic undermined by citizen-directed initiatives, but we are hardly at the point in Ohio. And, yes, these efforts to ban out-of-state signature gatherers effect issues both on the "left" and "right."

Regardless, Republican Senate leaders make no effort to hide their pissitivity about Issues 2-5, as indicated by this partial transcript we put together of a story put together by the Statehouse News Bureau. We should note that the piece was put together by Bill Cohen, a reporter that is so afraid of being accused of being a liberal, himself, that he consistently goes overboard to regurgitate the right's spin. We have cut out some of his painful comments and logic as an enormous public service to our readers:
It’s and end run around legislators. But that kind of end run will be harder to pull off if a bill that majority Republicans in the Ohio Senate are considering is eventually passed.

Currently before citizen groups submit their proposed wording to the Attorney General of an okay, they have to submit 100 preliminary signatures. This measure would hike it to a thousand. Plus, the bill would ban the use of out-of-state petition circulators.

The main mover behind the changes is Republican Senator Jeff Jacobson. He's not hiding the fact Republicans are pushing the changes because they are upset about the unsuccessful campaign to pass Issues 2 through 5, a package of election reforms pushed mostly by groups on the left and fueled by out of state money.

"The people who gathered the signatures were from out of state. It was an attempt by liberals, wealthy liberals of California and New York to hijack Ohio. I think the laws need to be even clearer so that it’s Ohioans who get to decide Ohio’s future and not other people," [said Jacobson.]

. . .

[State Senator Kevin Coughlin] says signature gathers are important and should have certain qualifications. “They are actually quasi-election officials and, uh, they are being asked to present, accurately present the issue to the voters for their signature. They are asked to be custodians of that signature. And they are being asked to deliver that signature to the appropriate people so that they can be counted. That’s a little bit more than just, uh, pen and paper. That’s a pretty significant part of the process. They should be Ohioans just like everyone else who participates in the process."
Let's face it, Jacobson and Coughlin's efforts to clothe this powerplay in "quasi-election official" foofah and perverse Ohio-centric jingoism is more than a little absurd, even if Cohen and others are afraid to point it out.

What makes this worse is that this duo have recently jammed this into a larger and controversial election "reform" bill essentially without hearings on the bill with the final amendments, include the ones mentioned above. This is the same bill that would require:
Again, according to Hannah:
Peg Rosenfield, elections specialist with the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) said her group opposes the bill because it "will undercut the rights of eligible Ohioans to participate in the political process." Rosenfield, who said she and the LWVO tried repeatedly to meet with the bill's drafters but to no avail, added that the late hour of the substitute bill means that neither she nor most others have had a chance to fully review its contents. "We would like to work with you to discuss our concerns and try to salvage the good provisions that are in this bill before it is sent to the full Senate for consideration."
Ahhhh, the games of one-party rule . . .

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