Stewart’s Constitution Protection Amendment would protect Ohio from out-of-state special interests

In November 2022, Ohio State Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) introduced a measure called the Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment. His bill would raise the threshold for passage of initiative petitions for proposed amendments to the Ohio constitution. This would be a bump up from the current 50% to 60%.

The proposal aims to enhance the protection of the Ohio constitution. It draws inspiration from other states that have implemented measures to make it more difficult to amend their constitutions.

From Stewart’s announcement:

“Our Founding Fathers ensured that the United States Constitution would be protected against outside influence and special interests by requiring a supermajority vote for amendments. It’s time to protect the Ohio Constitution in a similar way.”

Rep. Brian Stewart

In January 2023, Rep. Stewart re-introduced the measure in the Ohio House in the General Assembly. The primary mechanism of the measure would make it harder to amend the state constitution.

He said the amendment would remove the “cure period” for petitioners and needs signatures from all 88 counties in Ohio.

What is a cure period?

A cure period refers to a time period for candidates or initiative proponents to collect additional signatures if they fall short of the required number when they submit signatures by an initial deadline.


The support of Frank LaRose

Secretary of State Frank LaRose emphasized that the threat to the Ohio Constitution was significant. He came out right away and said he would support the amendment.

LaRose says special interests have used the state’s constitution because it’s very easy to change. Because of the relative ease to amend it, the document has ballooned to over 67,000 words and it covers topics ranging from casinos to healthcare. Special interests have spent over $50 million on campaigns to pass petition-based amendments, failing on two of them.

State constitutions are designed to serve as a “statement of basic principles and highest laws of a state.(opens in a new window)” Instead, because of the ease of amending Ohio’s founding document, the Ohio Constitution has become a tool used by special interests to permanently change our form of government to their liking.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on the threat to the state’s constitution

Further reading

To read how special interests hijack the amendment process:

To follow Republican support of the bill:

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