Republican Party molding Ohio into an authoritarian state | Opinion

Gun Rights

The Republican Party supermajority has hitched its wagon to MAGA extremism and will destroy Ohio’s democracy to stay in power − ignoring the will of the people.

Here are just a few of the most recent GOP state laws and issues inflaming political experts; environmentalists and scientists; university professors and public-school teachers; trans students and their families, and other sane, moderate people across the state.

Senate Joint Resolution 2/House Joint Resolution 1

Since 1912, the Ohio Constitution has allowed a simple majority of voters to pass citizen-led ballot initiatives. But Republicans are running scared that Ohio voters will choose women’s reproductive freedom over draconian law that prohibits pregnancy care and abortions − even for 10-year-olds who are raped and women whose health and lives are endangered.

While a new state law promoted by Secretary of State Frank LaRose went into effect last month prohibiting August elections because they’re expensive ($20 million in 2022) and have low turnout (8% in 2022), Republicans really, really want to keep abortion illegal. It plays well with their base. They’ve revived the August special election to decide one issue − whether the Ohio Constitution pass-percentage remains at 50% plus one vote, or goes to 60% to pass.

Note that their own proposed change to the Ohio Constitution will only require 50% (plus one vote) to pass. But it will be just in time for the amendment they don’t like to need 60%. This is the danger of a supermajority – they’ll use that power to rig the process however needed to ensure they always win.

Republicans refuse to pass commonsense gun laws

Despite a horrific mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio four years ago and a governor who pledged to “do something” to reduce gun violence, the only thing Ohio Republicans have done since is reduce training time to arm teachers and eliminate the need for a permit, the ultimate hypocrisy.

Hospitals now partner with law enforcement agencies to provide “barricade buckets” for schools, so students can defecate in them while they’re locked down and traumatized during classroom sieges. Whaaat? Who wants to live in a state where callous lawmakers bought and sold by the NRA lack the moral courage to implement simple, commonsense gun laws? Ours and our children’s lives mean nothing to them.

Senate Bill 1: Defunding public education

The DeWine administration plans to shove aside elected Ohio Department of Education officials to further its party agenda to finance private, unregulated charter and online schools (many of them run for profit), while cutting public school funding. It’s a travesty for everyone seeking good public schools and an educated populace.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that public education is funded unconstitutionally in Ohio, yet here we are, nearly 30 years later. No true reform has taken place.

Remember the ECOT scandal? That online charter school enrollment fraud resulted in $117 million of taxpayer funds being wasted on unregulated schools with poor attendance protocols and bad curriculums. How much of ECOT funds were paid back to the people?

Let’s also remember Senate Bill 83. That proposed law allows politicians to restrict and dictate what teachers teach at all levels of academia, from grade school through college. Who wants to live in a state where students are indoctrinated, not educated?

The Ohio Republican Party is molding Ohio into an authoritarian state. Trans students (House Bill 6) just want to play sports and make friends. Let’s love and support them. And Ohioans deserve to enjoy our taxpayer-supported state parks and public lands without fear of the environmental and health risks of fracking. Rescind House Bill 507.

The good news: Ohio voters can reclaim their rights at the ballot box. Register to vote today, and vote no Aug. 8 in our taxpayer-funded, $20 million special election. Repeat three months later on Nov. 2, and vote for women’s health care rights and ethical, fiscally-responsible candidates. Let’s return representative democracy to Ohio.

Kathy Wyenandt of Fairfield Township is chair of the Butler County Democratic Party. For more information about the Butler County Democratic Party, visit https://www.butlercountydems.org.

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