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Petitions for House Bill over Davis Besse will not be turned in

(WTVG)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 2:59 PM EDT
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It looks like Ohioans may not end up voting on that controversial measure to give new life to Davis Besse nuclear power plant in Oak Harbor.

The group trying to get the issue on the November 2020 ballot says it will not be submitting its petitions on Monday, when they had to be turned into the Secretary of State for verification.

House Bill 6 was approved by the legislature and would allow a surcharge on Toledo Edison bills to help with the operation of plants like Davis Besse.

A group called the Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts was trying to let voters decide on the issue.

This campaign really heated up when advertisements and flyers depicted this issue as allowing China to have control of Ohio’s energy infrastructure.

In a statement, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailout say they’re still fighting in court to get this issue to the ballot. They’ve gone to federal court to challenge what they’re calling a “black-out” period in which the group says it was not allowed to collect signatures in 37 of the 90 days allowed says.

STATEMENT FROM OHIOANS AGAINST CORPORATE BAILOUTS:

Columbus, October 21, 2019) Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts will not file its petitions to repeal House Bill 6 with the Ohio Secretary of State today, campaign leaders announced.

"Nuclear bailout supporters of House Bill 6 have stooped to unprecedented and deceitful depths to stop Ohioans from exercising their Constitutional rights to put a bailout question on the ballot for voters to decide," said campaign spokesman Gene Pierce. "We may never know how much money the corporate backers spent in their campaign of deceit, but we estimate their television, digital and radio advertising, direct mail and their blocking and fake petition to cost over $50 million."

Tactics employed by supporters of House Bill 6 to protect FirstEnergy Solutions' billion dollar bailout include:

-- spending millions of dollars on deceitful, racist and hypocritical ads,

-- hiring thousands of "blockers" to interfere with our petitioners and discourage

Ohioans from signing our petition,

-- encouraging Ohioans to spy on their neighbors,

-- bribing our petition circulators with $2,500 and plane tickets,

-- buying signatures from our circulators, a fifth degree felony under Ohio law,

-- circulating a bogus petition to confuse Ohio voters,

-- paying circulators millions of dollars for signatures on that bogus petition and

-- suggesting Ohio's Supreme Court ignore four decades of established legal

precedent to try to keep this bailout issue off the ballot.

"The fight to put House Bill 6 on the ballot in 2020 isn't over yet though," said Pierce. "Our lawsuit challenging the 'blackout period' on petitioning, which consumed 38 of the 90 days we had to collect signatures, remains under review in U.S. District Court." An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22 at 1:45 p.m.

The suit reads:

Through imposition of extra-constitutional mandates in Ohio Rev. Code §3519.01(B) (the "Summary Statute") which require, prior to obtaining a single signature on any referendum petition, those seeking to subject legislation to referendum to obtain pre-approval from the government of the proposed petition and that, while awaiting such pre-approval, the 90-day period to obtain signatures on the petition is not tolled or stayed, the State of Ohio has unconstitutionally burdened and infringed upon the full and robust exercise of the First Amendment rights of the Committee and those supportive of subjecting H.B. 6 to a vote of the people.

"We are fully prepared to continue circulating petitions if the court rules in our favor and grants us a full 90 days to collect signatures," said Pierce.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is a coalition of consumer, business and environmental advocates opposed to House Bill 6's controversial billion dollar bailout and gutting of Ohio's renewable energy standards.