DeWine OKs language for Ohio amendments on ethics, ‘green’ energy

The language for proposed amendments to the Ohio Constitution dealing with renewable energy and legislative ethics was approved by state Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday.

DeWine certified that the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative and the Ohio Ethics First Amendment each had at least 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters, the minimum number required. He said the wording on each was a “fair and truthful summary” of the full proposals.

The energy initiative, submitted by backers for the sixth time as an amendment, asks voters to approve spending $13 billion in taxpayer money on clean energy, including wind, solar and geothermal projects. The state would issue $13 billion in bonds over 10 years to fund investments that would be controlled by an appointed commission based in Ohio but incorporated in the state of Delaware.

The backers of the amendment are described only as grass-roots activists. Financial supporters have not been identified.

DeWine also approved the language for the Ohio Ethics First Amendment, proposed by a group called the Ethics First — You Decide Ohio Committee.

The proposal has several provisions related to the General Assembly. They include a two-year ban on former legislators doing business with the legislature; limiting legislative salaries to no more than the median household income in the state; requiring the retention of legislative records for four years, and granting taxpayers standing to file lawsuits to compel legislative compliance with the state constitution.

Both issues now will be reviewed by the Ohio Ballot Board, a five-member panel chaired by Secretary of State Jon Husted. It must decide whether each proposal should appear on the ballot as one or more issues.

Backers of the energy and ethics proposals then would separately need to gather a minimum 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to reach the fall ballot. The signatures must come from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The proposals can be found on DeWine’s website at


MAR 15 2016
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