The proposal called “Raise the Wage Ohio Amendment” tries to amend Article II, Section 34a of Ohio’s Constitution to raise the minimum wage to $12.75 per hour beginning January 1st, 2025 and then in equal yearly increments until it gets to $15 per hour on January 1st, 2026.
Attorney Donald McTigue represents the Committee to Represent the Petitioners, including Prentiss Haney, Taneisha Latoya Head, Kandiss Bondurant, Mary Jo Ivan, Diane Morgan, and Andrew Ritterman.
This is the third time that the petitioners have submitted this petition. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office rejected the original version of the petition on October 14th, 2022, over summary omissions. The petitioners modified and resubmitted the petition, which the office approved on October 28th, 2022, but then the petitioners decided to make additional changes.
According to Yost, his role in the petition process is to “determine whether the summary is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed statute.” Yost says that he has determined that this third version of the petition has met the requirements.
The Ohio Ballot Board must approve the initiative next, and supporters will then need to gather signatures from registered voters.
If the Ballot Board certifies the proposal after determining whether it contains a single constitutional amendment or multiple amendments, the petitioners must then collect signatures from registered voters equal to at least 10 percent of the vote cast in the most recent gubernatorial election. Those signatures must come from voters in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties and for each of those counties, the number must equal at least 5 percent of the vote cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.
If the Ohio Secretary of State verifies the sufficient signatures at least 65 days before the election, the full text of the proposed amendment will go on the ballot in the next regular or general election that occurs subsequent to 125 days after the filing of such petition.
The Buckeye Institute, a think tank with the aim of “advancing free-market public policy in the states,” claimed in a statement that increasing the minimum wage would be bad for Ohio businesses.
“While businesses in large metropolitan areas are already offering starting salaries at or above $15, more rural parts of the state would be harmed by the increase. The business model of hospitality would be severely impacted as the referendum would eliminate the exception for tipped workers. There are better ways to help Ohio workers than a statewide mandate that would encourage businesses to hire fewer workers, “The Buckeye Institute said.
Republicans in both the Ohio House and Senate are moving quickly to put protections in place for the state Constitution prior to the November general election. The Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment aims to raise the threshold for initiative petitions from 50 to 60 percent.
They have also filed a discharge petition to accelerate the process and automatically advance the legislation to the House floor for a vote if 50 Representatives sign on.
“We will protect our Constitution,” Merrin said.
– – –
Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Dave Yost” by Dave Yost. Background Photo “Minium Wage Increase Protest” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.