Issue 1 calls on Ohio to host a constitutional convention

By MARC KOVAC C-N Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- Issue 1 on the November general election ballot asks Ohio voters whether the state should play host to a constitutional convention to review the guiding governmental document and propose amendments.

The question has been posed to voters every 20 years since 1932, and it's never been approved.

But that's not to say that constitutional reviews haven't been undertaken in the past 75-plus years. In fact, a group of lawmakers and appointed citizens already is at work on the issue, thanks to legislation passed earlier this year, with hopes of convincing voters that a convention isn't necessary.

"I look forward to working with our newly appointed members to begin the substantive work of reviewing Ohio's Constitution and providing thoroughly vetted feedback to the public and the legislature on proposed amendments," Republican Speaker Bill Batchelder said in a released statement.

The state constitution requires the convention question to be placed on the ballot every 20 years. If approved, the legislature would be required to work out the details of the gathering, with any recommended changes that result placed before voters for final approval.

But the new Ohio Constitutional Modern-ization Commission is already doing just that, with 12 lawmakers and 20 public members required to offer an initial report early next year and subsequent reports "at least every two years" afterward through mid-2021.

Possible amendments could cover tax policies, public education and tort reform.

A comparable commission was established by lawmakers in 1969, resulting in more than 40 recommendations for constitutional changes. Many were later adopted by voters.

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