Ads praise Ohio speaker for not bringing 60% voter approval resolution to House floor
A group that opposes making it harder to amend the Ohio constitution before a November vote on an abortion access amendment is on the air with a new ad. It’s up against ads from the well-funded and much discussed political action committee that’s on the other side of that issue and wants a statewide vote in August on the constitutional change.
The ad from a Democratic-backed group called One Person One Vote challenges the arguments of the Republican backers of the resolutions - House Joint Resolution 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 2 - to require 60% voter approval to amend the constitution. The ad also praises Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) for the lack of a House floor vote on the resolution or the August special election for voters to decide on it.
Most Republicans want a vote in the House on one of those resolutions, as well as a bill that would create a statewide August special election for Ohio voters to decide whether they want to increase the amendment approval threshold to 60% from a simple majority. They're pushing for that August vote so the higher bar would be in effect before an expected reproductive rights and abortion access amendment comes before voters in November.
The ad says Stephens is "standing up to out-of-state special interests who want to end majority rule and destroy our constitution to drown out our voices. But Speaker Stephens needs support. Tell him to keep fighting for our constitution and our freedom.”
The ad is airing in Columbus, Cincinnati and Charleston, the media market where Stephens lives. The radio and TV ad buy totals around $53,000.
Two weeks ago, ads backed by the PAC funded by Illinois Republican billionaire Richard Uihlein started airing. Those ads seek to pressure Stephens to hold a vote in the House and are targeting specific Republican representatives: Al Cutrona (R-Canfield), Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House), Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) and Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville). A source familiar with that campaign said the initial $1 million investment Uihlein made in the Save Our Constitution PAC was just a first installment.
Republicans who want the higher threshold say it's about protecting Ohio's constitution from big money, out-of-state special interests. But hundreds of groups oppose the plan, including voter advocacy organizations, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, the Libertarian Party, five former attorneys general from both parties and all four of Ohio's living ex-governors - Republicans and Democrats.
They note voter turnout for August special elections is low, which is why most were eliminated in a law that took effect last month. House Bill 458, which passed in December, was supported by all but one Republican in the Ohio House and Senate.