Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ohio House Passes Constitutional Modernization Bill

COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina) today announced the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 188, legislation that would establish the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the Ohio Constitution.

The commission would be responsible for conducting an in-depth review of Ohio’s highest-governing document, promoting an exchange of experiences and dialogue, considering problems inherent to the process of amending the Constitution, and issuing recommendations to the General Assembly on substantive constitutional amendments.

“The process of reexamining our Ohio Constitution will give us the vital opportunity to modernize the framework that governs this state and its citizens,” Batchelder said. “The Ohio Constitution provides the fundamental framework for lawmakers and elected officials, and ensuring that it accurately fits the times is a crucial part of our responsibility.”

According to the Ohio Constitution, the question of whether or not to hold a constitutional convention must be decided by the voters every 20 years. In 1972, the 108th General Assembly established the Constitutional Revision Commission to study the content and structure of the Ohio Constitution. Based on the mold of the previous commission, the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission will explore possible reforms and better prepare Ohio for the challenges that lie ahead in the next 20 years.

The commission will be comprised of a total of 32 members—12 bipartisan members of the General Assembly and 20 additional members. Members will serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred while engaging in the performance of official duties.

House Bill 188 passed by a vote of 96-1 and will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
I will confess to cautious optimism on this one...not real sure that the state constitution really needs "modernization" unless they plan on hacking a bit of it out...

UPDATE: State Rep. Mike Dovilla: “I am proud to join Speaker Batchelder by cosponsoring this important legislation to authorize a commission to review the Ohio Constitution. The Constitutional Modernization Commission will provide a bipartisan review of the Constitution and provide recommendations for ensuring our state’s charter document continues to serve the needs of representative democracy for all citizens of the Buckeye State.”