COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three election bills took center stage at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday. Senate Bill 92, House Bill 144, and Senate Joint Resolution 2 had public testimony in committee hearings. 

What You Need To Know

  • Senate Bill 92 and House Bill 144 discuss an August special election. 
  • Senate Joint Resolution 2 discusses raising the threshold to 60% to get a citizen-initiated amendment on the ballot. 
  • Proponents and opponents testified to committee members at the Statehouse 

Two of these bills are trying to create an August special election. Another is attempting to raise the threshold for passing a citizen-led constitutional ballot amendment.

The resolution has passed the Ohio Senate. Now, House members are reviewing the proposal. 

Supporters of Senate Joint Resolution 2 told lawmakers a higher threshold could place safeguards on the Ohio Constitution. 

Rob Sexton of the Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohio Sportsmen's Alliance believes the amount of money placed into a campaign determines whether a ballot issue will pass. He also mentioned this could leave Ohio's constitution vulnerable. Sexton told lawmakers that's part of the reason he believes raising the threshold will deter groups of special interest. 

"Hunting has been attacked twice by national animal rights groups here in Ohio," Sexton said. "There have already been attempts here to launch attacks on our right to keep and bear arms on the ballot here in Ohio." 

Another group testifying at the Statehouse were critics of an August special election. The purpose of a special election would be to vote on the threshold amendment. 

Opponents of the August election told lawmakers it's too much work for poll workers. Also, there would not be enough voter turnout to get an accurate representation of where Ohioans stand on various issues. 

"I think one of the unfortunate things is, is, you know, to now, as I said, I don't predict or forecast things and now I will. The August special election is not going to reach 50%," said Gary Daniels representing the ACLU of Ohio. 

Last week, both pieces of legislation passed the full Ohio Senate. However, in order for a special election to take place in August, lawmakers need to pass both measures by May 10.