The Post Papers, 8/2/2011

It seems that every other year, an initiative is on the ballot to change our state's highest governing document, the Ohio Constitution. I know that it has changed dramatically since the time that I joined the state legislature. These additions to the Constitution reflect the fact that Ohioans wish for the document to be up-to-date, accurately reflecting their needs in a contemporary society.

I could not agree with this sentiment more, which is why I sponsored House Bill 188 to create the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission. This bipartisan commission of 12 legislators and 20 additional members will make an in-depth and comprehensive review of the Constitution. The idea is based on the Constitutional Revision Commission that began its work in 1972.

By law, Ohioans vote every 20 years on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention in order to make changes to the Constitution. That vote will be here before we know it, and the Constitutional Modernization Commission is designed in preparation of it. Both chambers of the General Assembly agreed that this was a good idea, passing the bill with wide bipartisan majorities.

Through this legislation, the commission members will be able to have conversations with people from across the state, learning about their experiences with the Constitution, considering problems that come with amending it, and discovering substantive ways of doing so. In the end, the commission will be able to make needed recommendations to the state legislature--recommendations that require a consensus of two-thirds of the commission.

By examining the effects of the Constitution closely, we will be provided with more direction as to where Ohio should move in the next 20 years. With such a long-lasting document, many of the early provisions may no longer be needed in the 21st century. Regardless of whether a convention is held or not, I'm confident that the work of this commission will be invaluable to our state's future, providing a foundation to build on.

The Constitutional Modernization Commission has already received support from unions, business groups, farmers and the Ohio Newspaper Association. With so many supporters, it's clear that the commission will represent Ohio's vast array of citizens well. The creation of the commission also highlights that as Ohioans, we are taking the process of reviewing our Constitution seriously.

I believe that there is always room for improvement in the way our state operates and the laws that govern it. We cannot become complacent with how things are. If Ohio is to have progress, we must be aware of needed change. We must always be looking for opportunities that help make our state stronger and more successful. The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission is one more way of doing this.


Post a Comment