Friday, September 30, 2011


News came down today (via The Alliance Review in Stark County) that the Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking to invalidate the Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly's (OGA) action in re-carving (aka "gerrymandering" designed, in this case, to enhance the GOP's control of the Ohio congressional delegation) of Ohio's congressional districts.

Yawn?  Both parties do it.  It will not get to first base with the Ohio Supreme Court!

Perhaps not.

Why not?

Because the Republicans including state Senator Scott Oelslager (the 29th Ohio Senate district) and Christina Hagan (the 50th Ohio House district) (disingenuously, the SCPR thinks) tagged on an appropriation intended to remove the gerrymandering effort from review by the people of Ohio via a referendum vote by one of the exceptions contained in Article II (Section 2.01d - see below).

The SCPR is not sure why Republican state Rep. Kirk Schuring and Democratic state Rep. Stephen Slesnick did not go along with Hagan and Oelslager in their votes, but they did not and are to be commended for supporting the right of the people to weigh-in on OGA passed measure to the greatest degree possible.

The Oelslager/Hagan action is somewhat like action taken by the then Stark County Commissioners Todd Bosley (Democrat), Tom Harmon (Democrat) and Jane Vignos (Republican) who "imposed" a 1/2 cent on a dollar sales tax increase (December, 2008).  However, there is a difference which makes the Bosley/Harmon/Vignos action take a back seat to what Hagan/Oelslager and those legislators who voted with them are trying to foist on Ohioans (including, of course, Stark Countians).

Stark Countians had the ability to get back at Bosley/Harmon/Vignos by collecting signatures (about 20,000 or so) and Vote No Increased Tax Committee formed and did so, placing the question of a tax increase before the voters in November, 2009.  Stark County's voters overwhelming rejected the commissioner triumvirate's attempt to circumvent our democracy.

Perhaps, the Ohio Supreme Court will do the same thing to the Ohio GOP's circumvention effort.

Here is what the Ohio Constitution has to say about referendum votes:
§ 2.01c The referendum

The second aforestated power reserved by the people is designated the referendum, and the signatures of six per centum of the electors shall be required upon a petition to order the submission to the electors of the state for their approval or rejection, of any law, section of any law or any item in any law appropriating money passed by the general assembly.
... .
(Adopted September 3, 1912. HJR 3; Amended, effective November 4, 2008.)

 § 2.01d Emergency laws; not subject to referendum

Laws providing for:
    • tax levies, 
    • appropriations for the current expenses of the state government and state institutions, and 
    • emergency laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, 
shall go into immediate effect.  (structure changed to achieve clarity and emphasis)
... .

The laws mentioned in this section shall not be subject to the referendum.

(Adopted September 3, 1912.)
In 2009, Democratic Governor Ted Strickland tried to bypass the people of Ohio on his desire to generate new revenues by inserting (with the complicity of the Ohio General Assembly via the 2010-2011 biennium state budget [HB 1] 17,500 video-lottery-terminals [VLTs] at racetrack which dot Ohio.

However, the LetOhioVote organization (which the SCPR believes to be a Republican front group) struck a blow for democracy in filing its lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court (Court) against then Democrat Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for refusing to certify its referendum effort.

The Court struck down the Strickland contrived effort, to wit:

The question that arises now is as to whether or not the Court stays consistent in its decisions.

The SCPR believes it will and that Ohio will have a political mess on its hands in figuring out who is running for what congressional district in the 2012 elections.

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