A federal judge has rejected a last-ditch plea by opponents of Ohio’s new nuclear bailout law to be granted 38 additional days to collect petition signatures for a referendum overturning it.
Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus asked the Ohio Supreme Court for its opinion on whether to grant more time, on the grounds that the legal questions involved the Ohio Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution.
“The court has jurisdiction to decide cases and controversies arising only under federal law,” the judge wrote in an opinion issued Wednesday night. “As the parties agree, this court does not have jurisdiction over any claim that the secretary of state or the Ohio General Assembly has violated the referendum provisions of the Ohio Constitution.”
Sargus sent four “certified questions” to the state Supreme Court, including whether anti-HB6 activists should be credited with more time to collect signatures.
Under state law, referendum seekers have 90 days to collect and submit at least 265,774 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
But the group Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts sought a preliminary injunction for an extra 38 days, because that is how long it took them to get approval from Attorney General Dave Yost and Secretary of State Frank LaRose to start collecting signatures.Read the whole article by clicking here.
Another article from Cleveland.com:
Police have charged a now-former worker for the campaign defending Ohio’s House Bill 6, the recently passed nuclear bailout law, as a result of her confrontation in suburban Columbus with a worker for the campaign trying to repeal the law.
Dublin police said Friday they have charged Stinner Wimberly Shine of Columbus with a misdemeanor count of criminal damaging. She was charged after police say she broke a cell phone belonging to Harold Chung, a Las Vegas man working for the pro-repeal campaign.
Chung was collecting signatures Tuesday outside a Dublin library when he tried to take a picture of Wimberly Shine, who had been hired by the pro-HB6 campaign to try to disrupt the signature gathering process.
The charge is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Cleveland.com obtained surveillance footage of the incident from the Columbus Metropolitan Library system via a public records request.Click here to continue reading and view the video.
And with more details on how dirty the fight over this issue has become, this is from the Dayton Daily News:
Opposing House Bill 6 and favoring a referendum: Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, a coalition of business, consumer and environmental groups, opposes the new law and is seeking to put it up for a referendum in November 2020, the same day as the presidential election.
Favoring House Bill 6 and opposing a referendum: Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, Generation Now, Ohioans for Energy Security and owners of the Ohio Valley Electric Corp. plants.
At stake is more than $1 billion slated to go to FirstEnergy Solutions and OVEC if the new law is preserved.
An expensive campaign
Supporters of HB6 have spent $16.56 million so far on advertising to get the bill passed and stop the referendum, according to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks ad buys.
Opponents of HB6 have spent $4.46 million so far, according to the firm.
Those figures do not include money spent on lobbyists, political strategists or petition circulators.
Political insiders who run ballot issue campaigns say the spending and the hardball tactics are jaw dropping.
“Ohio has never ever seen this level of decline-to-sign petition campaign,” said Ian James, who ran the 2015 ballot campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio. “And I doubt, if the petition falls short on signatures, that Ohioans will ever truly know the level of funding that was spent for and against the petition HB6 effort.”Read more by clicking here.