Alex Triantafilou, the newly elected head of the Ohio Republican Party, endorsed legislation on Thursday that aims to alter the process of how initiative petitions can propose constitutional amendments.

There are currently two pieces of legislation that Republican lawmakers have introduced this session to protect the state Constitution from out-of-state special interest groups.

House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1, sponsored by state Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2, sponsored by State Senators Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), both aim to require 60 percent voter approval to amend the constitution.

According to Triantafilou, the legislation is common sense and upholds the principles that gave rise to America.

“Increasing the threshold to 60 percent for ballot initiatives makes sense and upholds the principles our country is founded on, ” Triantafilou said.

Triantafilou noted that, unlike the U.S. Constitution, special interest groups can bypass Ohio lawmakers at will in the state Constitution.

“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that has not been amended in over 30 years. In Ohio, special interests have free reign to use the Ohio Constitution to bypass Ohio’s elected lawmakers on a whim,” Triantafilou said.

Republican lawmakers such as State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) said they have requested time and time again to strengthen Ohio’s Constitution without success and that it is a top priority for them.

“We have repeatedly asked and pressed to strengthen our constitution and not allow it to be hijacked by left-wing socialists by requiring a 60 percent threshold, and we’ve been blocked for doing that,” Merrin said.

Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) President Aaron Baer has also continuously urged Ohio lawmakers to move quickly to pass legislation to increase the threshold to amend the state Constitution to 60 percent.

“We also cannot allow liberal and pro-abortion special interests to attempt to buy their way into Ohio’s Constitution,” Baer said.

Gavarone, echoed Triantafilou’s statements saying he “could not be more right.”

“It is entirely too easy for well-funded special interests to manipulate our state’s founding document and it’s time to stop it. Our legislation will do that,” Gavarone said.

Stewart thanked Triantafilou for endorsing the legislative efforts to protect the state Constitution.

“Thank you to the Ohio GOP and Chairman Alex Triantafilou for endorsing HJR1 and for speaking so persuasively on the importance of protecting Ohio’s Constitution, ” Stewart said.

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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 “Alex Triantafilou” by Alex Triantafilou. Background Photo “Ohio Capitol” by Carol M. Highsmith.