Plan To Cut Lawmakers' Pay Going Before SUPCO

Mar 31, 2016

Credit Ohio Public Radio

The fight over a ballot proposal to put ethics restrictions on state lawmakers and cut their pay is headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Last week the Ohio Ballot Board split the proposal into three ballot issues, which supporters say was unconstitutional. State lawmakers would make nearly 20 percent less under the proposal and would have to pay Columbus city income tax. Former lawmakers would be barred from lobbying or working with the General Assembly for two years. The proposal also lets taxpayers sue to force lawmakers to follow the rules. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

The group Ethics First – You Decide Ohio wants a single ballot issue composed of six proposals on pay and rules for state lawmakers. Secretary of State Jon Husted noted the group wasn’t at the ballot board meeting where the package was split into three proposals.

“It’s very rare that someone would attempt to amend the constitution and ask the Ballot Board to do something and then not show up to explain their proposal.“

The group is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to overrule Husted. Spokesman Jack Boyle says if the package is only one proposal, the group will have to gather more than 300,000 valid signatures by the end of June to qualify for the fall ballot. But splitting it into three parts would require three times as many signatures.