Archived Story

Citizens taking action because officials won’t

Published 9:09am Friday, September 20, 2013

An interesting trend has developed in Ohio in recent years: If lawmakers won’t take action, then the citizens will.

The state has seen a significant number of ballot initiatives enact laws that the Ohio Legislature has either passed despite public opinion, failed to make any progress on or simply ignored. Recent examples include increasing the state’s minimum-wage, banning of same-sex marriages and repealing what was widely viewed as union-busting legislation implemented under Senate Bill 5.

Several others are in the works and voters could be asked to decide on expansion of Medicaid in November 2014 if the legislature remains locked in the ongoing stalemate since the proposal was struck from the budget.

The Ohio Ballot Board has cleared the group Healthy Ohioans Work, a coalition of advocates labor groups and others, to begin collecting signatures that could ultimately put the issue in front of voters.

“Roughly 366,000 Ohioans would be newly eligible for coverage beginning in 2014 by expanding Medicaid. The federal-state program for the poor and disabled already provides care for one of every five residents in the state. Washington would pay the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years, gradually phasing down to 90 percent — still well above Ohio’s current level of almost 64 percent,” according to Associated Press reports.

Although this may not be how we typically think of our government working, it is a logical extension of the concept “of the people, by the people, for the people” that President Abraham Lincoln eloquently spoke of in the Gettysburg Address.

When citizens lead the effort to put something on the ballot for voters to make their own decisions, it may just be democracy in its purest form.


  • Geronimo

    My hat is off to you Poor Richard . Very well said.

    (Report comment)

  • Poor Richard

    Our government has become so ineffective it is not surprising that citizens have to do the work.

    Congress reminds me of Jerry Springer people. Incompetent, rude, obnoxious, unable to communicate with tact, unable to negociate or compromise, no manners, one mission in their mind of furthering their own agenda or own needs, always trying to manipulate things for their buddies or themselves. Pathetic. You know, like Ohio’s governor.

    Americans need to focus on certain legislators that are simply incapble of doing their jobs and bring personal focused class action lawsuits against them. Working Americans vs. self-serving politician.

    (Report comment)

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