Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Commission Examining Potential Changes to the Ohio Constitution

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission on Tuesday announced the 11 members of the Judicial Branch & the Administration of Justice committee, which includes two sitting judges.

The commission is charged with conducting a detailed review of the current provisions of the Ohio Constitution, identifying perceived problem areas, and submitting a report proposing specific amendments for consideration by the General Assembly.

All 32 commission members were assigned to committees that focus on specific Constitution-related subject matters as well as issues including budgeting, ethics, and public information.

The Judicial committee’s duties will include examining the following:

  • Article IV (Judicial)
  • Article I sections on the rights under Justice [Sections 5, 8-10a, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 19a]
  • Judicial organization
  • Criminal and civil justice system
  • Rights of the criminally accused

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French and First District Court of Appeals Judge Patrick F. Fischer, who will serve as vice chair, join public members that also include Janet Abaray as chair, Dennis Mulvihill, Richard Saphire, Richard Walinski, and Charles Kurfess. The legislative members of the committee include Speaker Bill Batchelder, State Sens. Mike Skindell and Larry Obhof, and former State Rep. Dennis Murray.

Article 16, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution, adopted in 1912, required that in 1932 and every 20th year thereafter the statewide general election ballot must offer voters the opportunity to convene a convention “to revise, alter or amend” the state constitution.

Voters last year, just like each previous time the question has appeared on the statewide ballot in 1932, 1952, 1972 and 1992, rejected calls for a convention. As an alternative to a convention, however, in the 1970s the General Assembly created a bipartisan constitutional review commission that recommended a number of amendments, 15 of which were ultimately adopted by the state’s voters between 1971 and 1977.

In July 2011, in anticipation of the 2012 ballot issue, the General Assembly enacted H.B. 188, which created the current commission.