COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – With the November 7th election less than a week away, State Representative Niraj Antani is trying to make this the last one where outside interests play a role in putting issues on the ballot.
The Republican from the Dayton-area says California billionaires should not be allowed to buy their way onto the ballot.
“We saw this in 2015, with marijuana; we saw it in 2009, with casinos; we have seen it over, and over, and over again,” said Antani. “The authority lies in the legislature. if the legislature isn’t doing our job, it gives the citizens of Ohio the ability to place something on the ballot, not the citizens of California.”
Antani has put forth a joint resolution that, if passed, would make it more difficult to get initiated statutes and constitutional amendments onto Ohio ballots.
First, interested parties would need more signatures to get on the ballot.
Once on the ballot, the issue would need to get approval from 60 percent of voters to pass.
And finally, Antani wants to forbid the payment of petition gatherers.
The second part of his resolution is similar to what Florida has done, but it is the third part THAT some skeptics say may contain the most significant conflict.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC makes it clear that spending money on politics is protected under the First Amendment, making the paying for petition gatherers likewise protected.
Still, Antani says he is, “Sick and tired of these out of state interests coming into Ohio and trying to buy our ballot.”
Antani’s resolution has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.