News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.


Adding Initiative and Referendum Issues on Ohio Ballots

Flag of Ohio Continuing from last Thursday’s post with information about ballot issues in Ohio, there are four methods to put an issue on the ballot: referendum, citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, legislatively-initiated constitutional amendment, and initiated statute.

A statewide referendum challenges a recently enacted law. The referendum process stops a law from becoming effective until the law itself can be submitted to voters to approve or reject at the next regular or general election. Petitioners must follow a detailed process, beginning with submitting an initial petition that includes the full text of the challenged law and signatures from 1,000 registered Ohio voters, to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. After certification by both offices, petitioners must gather more signatures and file with the Secretary of State at least 125 days prior to an election to get the challenged law on that ballot. A few matters cannot be challenged by referendum including laws providing for tax levies, appropriations for current state government and state institution expenses, and emergency laws immediately necessary for preserving public peace, health, or safety.

Constitutional amendments may appear on statewide ballots in two ways. First, a citizen-initiated amendment  may be proposed when a citizen believes that a matter is not addressed adequately by the Ohio Constitution. An initial petition, with 1,000 registered voter signatures, must be submitted to the Attorney General for certification. Then, the Ohio Ballot Board must certify that the petition contains only one constitutional amendment. After certification by both offices and filing with the Secretary of State, petitioners must gather the required number of signatures and file with the Secretary of State at least 125 days prior to a general election to get the proposed amendment on the ballot. A proposed amendment only needs approval from a majority of voters, and then becomes effective 30 days after the election. Second, a constitutional amendment may be initiated by the General Assembly by passing a joint resolution by a three-fifths vote. The resolution must be filed with the Secretary of State at least 90 days prior to the election. The joint resolution will then appear as an issue on the general election ballot, where if approved by a majority of voters, it will become a constitutional amendment.

Finally, a citizen may initiate a statute if he or she believes that a matter is not adequately addressed by the Ohio Revised Code. Petitioners must file an initial petition, signed by 1,000 registered voters, with the Attorney General. After certification by the Attorney General, and certification from the Ballot Board that the petition contains only one proposed law, the petition is filed with the Secretary of State and petitioners must gather additional signatures.  The petition must then be filed with the Secretary of State at least 10 days prior to the beginning of a General Assembly session. The General Assembly has four months to act on the proposed law, and if it does not pass the law, passes an amended version, or takes no action at all, then petitioners may file supplemental petitions demanding that the proposed law appear on the ballot at the next general election. If the proposed law is approved by a majority of voters, it becomes effective 30 days after the election.

Putting issues on the ballot, and other matters of Ohio election law, are controlled by the Ohio Constitution Art. II and Art. XVI, and by the Ohio Revised Code Title 35.

Information on Ohio’s Upcoming Primary Election

image of hand placing completed ballot into boxLess than one month away, Ohio’s Statewide Primary Election takes place on May 8, 2018. The Secretary of State’s office provides information on statewide issues, candidates for state and district offices, and local issues. Lists of candidates for local offices can be found by contacting the county boards of elections. Ohio voters can easily check their voter registration status, polling location, voting options, and view sample ballots by visiting MyOhioVote.com. While the April 9th deadline to register to vote in the May primary has passed, voters have until October 9th to register for the November general election. All deadlines for registrations, petitions, and other election-related filings can be found on the 2018 Elections Calendar, maintained by the Secretary of State’s office.

The May 8th Primary features one statewide issue. Issue 1: Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing congressional districts, is a constitutional amendment initiated by the General Assembly. In Ohio there are several methods to put an issue on the ballot: referendum, citizen initiated constitutional amendment, General Assembly initiated constitutional amendment, and citizen initiated statute. To learn more about each method, check back here next Thursday.

US Supreme Court Records and Briefs Database

Faculty and students at Cleveland-Marshall have access to Gale’s U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs database. This database contains briefs and related documents from Supreme Court cases between 1832 and 1978. Previously, many of these briefs were not available through any of the library’s other legal databases, so this is a very useful for anyone doing research on older Supreme Court cases.

Access to this database is IP-authenticated for users connected to the law school’s computer network; faculty and students can also access the database while off campus by logging in with their CSU ID number and library PIN.

Hawaii Legalizes Physician-Assisted Suicide

image of caduceus symbolThe state of Hawaii recently legalized physician-assisted suicide.  The “Our Choice, Our Care Act” will “give patients the ability to choose their own medical care at the end of life and at the same time, ensure robust safeguards are in place to prevent any possible abuse.”  A mentally competent adult resident patient, determined to be suffering from a terminal disease and who has voluntarily expressed a wish to die, may make an informed request for “a prescription that may be self-administered for the purpose of ending the adult’s life.”  At all times, the patient “shall retain the right to rescind the request for medication and be under no obligation to fill the prescription or use the medication.”  For additional legislative history information on this act, see the HB2739 HD1 page.

Veterans Services at CSU and Beyond

Cleveland State has its own Veterans Student Success Program with offices located at 2254 Euclid Avenue, Trinity Commons, Cleveland OH 44115.  The can also be reached by phone at 216-875-9996 or email at vikingvets@csuohio.edu

Veterans Services at CSU –one stop shopping with links to all services available for vets at CSU.

Veterans Benefits and Financial Aid –GI Bill information, financial aid and scholarships.

Counseling and other Mental Health Services:

Cleveland State Counseling Center – Academic, career, and personal counseling.  To find out more about the services offered by the Counseling Center please stop by (UN 220) or call them at 216-687-2277.  You may also stop by or call to set up a phone screening with a counselor.  The phone screening is designed to help determine what services are best for you.  At the end of the screening, the therapist will offer you a list of options tailored to your needs.  Common options include individual counseling at the counseling center, referral to counseling in the community, group counseling, workshops, and/or referrals to CSU and non-CSU resources.  Walk-in sessions are available from 1pm-3pm Monday through Friday.

Cleveland Veterans Administration Services—outpatient counseling available.  Contact the local VA for help on getting access to medical care for vets.