Campaign Will Not File House Bill 6 Referendum Petitions

Columbus - 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 petitioners and discourage Ohioans from signing 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.

House Bill 6 seeks to tax Ohioans 80 cents a month through their utility bill to bailout First Energy Solutions' nuclear power plants in Northern Ohio. Proponents say the bill will help Ohio stay energy independent and keep badly needed jobs in the communities around the plants. Detractors argue the clean energy plans for the state are being thrown away if the bill is passed.

Photo by Ken Robinson / WTAM 1100

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