Election 2015: Understanding November’s Three State Issues

Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan hosted his October Town Hall meeting at Tri-C West Shore.

Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan hosted his October Town Hall meeting at Tri-C West Shore.

Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan hosted a Town Hall meeting at Tri-C West Shore in Westlake on Oct. 15. Experts explained the three state issues on the November ballot.

Issue 1: Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative districts. Speaker: State Representative, Mike Dovilla.

“We need a better process to draw our districts,” said Dovilla. “This will provide for a process where there are additional minority rights. Maps can be drawn in a better way and that is the good of Issue 1.” Passage will establish an Ohio Redistricting Commission under constitutional amendment. A minimum of two of seven commission members will be from the minority party. Four members, two from each party, would be needed to approve a 10-year redistricting plan. The goal is to create bipartisan, competitive districts not biased by advantageous boundaries that affect some inner city districts that are heavily Democratic and rural districts that are heavily Republican. Both parties endorse Issue 1.

State Representative, Mike Dovilla

State Representative, Mike Dovilla

Issue 2: Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit. Speaker: State Representative, Mike Dovilla.

Issue 2 will prohibit any monopoly from being protected and ensured by the Ohio Constitution. State legislators put Issue 2 on the ballot as a response to Issue 3, the Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which would grant exclusive growing rights to 10 facilities permitted to commercially produce marijuana.

“Issue 2 is to protect the constitution of our state and to protect our state from having another monopoly (like casinos) put into place,” said Dovilla. “The constitution of our state is not a document to be used for private gain.”

“It protects our state constitution from private interests hijacking our state’s charter.”

What if Issue 2 and Issue 3 both pass? Dovilla said the marijuana legalization issue would likely land in the Ohio Supreme Court.

In a separate election presentation at The Normandy Apartments in Rocky River last week, State Rep. Nan Baker (R-16), said passage of Issue 2 would ‘trump’ Issue 3. “Don’t use our constitution to manipulate the voters.” she said.

Issue 3: Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes Speaker: ResponsibleOhio, Neil Clark.

Neil Clark, ResponsibleOhio

Neil Clark, ResponsibleOhio

If passed, Issue 3 will permit 10 facilities to be established with exclusive rights to commercial marijuana production.

“This will allow for two forms of marijuana use: medicinal and personal use,” said Clark. Marijuana sales, said Clark, would have to be made through retailers approved at the local level. “If the people (voters) of Westlake don’t want a store, there won’t be a store in Westlake,” he said.

Additionally, adults 21 and over will be allowed to buy up to four plants and grow them at home. “Tell me how that is a monopoly?” asked Clark, emphasizing that local jurisdiction will have final say on retail approval by precinct.

“The money this will bring in will go back to the local governments,” he said. “It will make up for monies that have been lost in the last few years due to the actions of the General Assembly.

Chris Galloway, Arts & Culture Action Committee

Chris Galloway, Arts & Culture Action Committee

Issue 8: Proposed Extension of Excise Tax on Cigarettes for Cuyahoga Arts and Culture for the purpose of making grants to support operating or capital expenses of arts or cultural organizations in Cuyahoga County. Speaker: Arts & Culture Action Committee, Chris Galloway.

This tax, 1.5 cents per cigarette since being approved in 2006, has raised $15 million annually on average for “everything from Severance Hall programs right down to neighborhood groups,” said Galloway.

Locally, funding supports organizations like BAYarts, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center and Youth Challenge.

Reduced tobacco consumption will see these funds shrink to $10 million annually over the next 10 years. Next year’s resources are expected to be about $13 million. Issue 8 is not a tax increase.

County Councilman, Dale Miller

County Councilman, Dale Miller

Issue 9: Proposed Charter Amendment (County of Cuyahoga) Speaker: County Councilman, Dale Miller.

Issue 9 will improve the objectivity of the Cuyahoga County Audit Committee by providing that the County Audit Committee consist of the President of Council or a member of Council appointed by the President of Council, four residents of the county with experience in the field of auditing, accounting, government operations, or financial reporting who are to be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by Council, with the County Executive and Fiscal Officer each serving as non-voting, ex officio members. “This is a universally accepted auditing principle,” said Miller of requiring members to hold relevant experience. “You shouldn’t appoint just anyone to these seats. They should have specific knowledge and credentials.”

A special thanks to Tri-C (West Shore) for hosting this event.

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