Friday, October 30, 2009

Answering Questions About OH's Issue 2

October 29, 2009
For Issue 2, the livestock board
Animal panel belongs in Constitution
By Rep. William G. Batchelder

Recently some individuals and groups have come out in opposition to Issue 2 on the grounds that the state constitution is not the proper place for the Livestock Care Standards Board. However, as a student of the Ohio Constitution for more than four decades, both as a legislator and as a Court of Appeals judge, I believe that Issue 2 should be part of the Ohio Constitution rather than treated as a statute, or regular law.

First, inclusion of such a provision in the constitution is not at all unique. The Ohio Constitution has at least 12 similar provisions, several of which establish councils as part of state government. Such important state functions as the State Board of Education and the Workers' Compensation Board are found in the same part of the Constitution as the Livestock Care Standards Board will be when voters approve it.

The content of the proposed amendment governs cost, quality, safety, and supply of food for Ohioans. That is, this provision provides for one of the most fundamental aspects of human life.

Second, some have objected to Issue 2 on the grounds that the constitution is difficult to alter should the board ever need revision. But Issue 2, like the State Board of Education, sets forth the form of the board, not the details. Those details would later be established via the administrative procedure and safeguarded by legislative requirements as found in Article II of the Ohio Constitution. Another safeguard to keep the process responsive to the people is found in the appointment process: The members of the board are appointed by the governor, which requires the advice and consent of the Senate. Read More

Opponents of Issue 2 in Ohio claim that this issue isn’t worthy of being place in the constitution. Part of that claim suggests that this affects only a small portion of the state’s residents. But this lawyer, legislator and judge, with significant knowledge of the Ohio constitution suggests otherwise. And the last time I checked, everyone in Ohio was eating on a daily basis. Issue 2 absolutely affects everyone because it deals with food production. The campaign that the HSUS has run in different states is drastically affecting our ability to grow food. Ohio residents will be very wise to protect their ability to grow food by passing Issue 2 next week.

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