Sen. Shane Wilkin: Amendments should require a higher standard

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2023

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to conjure what’s coming to Ohio if Issue One, which protects the state Constitution from out of state special interests, fails on Aug. 8. There are plenty of places to look.

One can start by looking at past efforts to amend the Ohio Constitution. In 2005, “Reform Ohio Now,” – code name “RON” – was a series of initiatives pitched as a liberalization of Ohio’s election system funded by George Soros and his far-left comrades. In reality, RON would have taken Ohio’s strong system of local, bipartisan election boards and blown it up to make Ohio more closely resemble the likes of Arizona, where results seem always to be in doubt.

Yes, RON failed, but those dead set on bending the Ohio Constitution to their extremist will never stop. Remember – gambling interests returned time and again until they enshrined their profits. They so abused the Constitution that they needed a second statewide vote just to change the address of one of the casinos. With the low standard of 50 percent plus one single vote, there was no need for a broad consensus that legalized gambling would be good for Ohio. Issue One — which requires a 60 percent approval of voters to change the state constitution A — will fix it.

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You might wonder what the next end-around run of the people’s elected representatives might be. Fortunately, one of the opponents to Issue One recently let the cat out of the bag. Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said, “We can use our real political power to change the culture of guns in this state. It starts by voting no on Issue One…”

He said the quiet part out loud — wealthy special interests devoted to depriving Ohioans of their full right to self-defense will spend tens of millions of dollars to change the Ohio constitution to align with their extreme views. And — if they have their way — your family will be less safe.

But that’s not all — other prominent Democratic voices recently admitted they would use the “no” vote on Issue One to abolish the death penalty — even for mass murderers like the terrorists who plotted the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter. They would even do away with the death penalty for killers like the racist who murdered black worshipers in a church. That’s an extreme view, but it could become part of the Ohio constitution unless Issue One passes.

We’ve also heard that even higher minimum wage, restrictions on farming protections, energy policy and other left-wing policies are on the agenda — and they have the billionaires from California and elsewhere to fund their laundry list of amendments.

Opponents of Issue One falsely claim — with a straight face — that it’s undemocratic. But anyone with common sense can see that a 60 percent threshold to change our Constitution isn’t undemocratic. The U.S. Constitution requires 75 percent of states to adopt amendments, and that process doesn’t even necessarily involve citizens directly voting. No, the 60 percent threshold is thoroughly democratic — in fact it helps ensure collaboration, compromise, and the sort of bipartisanship Ohioans demand.

Opponents say Issue One is about “one person, one vote.” And they’re right — to a point. Issue One is, quite simply, a vote where a majority of Ohioans get to have their say about Ohio’s Constitutional system both now and into the future. Supporters agree that changing our Constitution should require a higher standard.

That’s why Ohioans should vote YES on Issue One.

— Shane Wilkin is a Republican representing Ohio’s 91st Senate District, which includes Lawrence County.