Bryan Cohen Sep. 16, 2013, 7:00pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he has certified a petition for the proposed Access to Healthcare Act.

On Sept. 4, DeWine's office received a written petition for initiated statute called, "The Access to Healthcare Act," from a committee representing the petitioners, Healthy Ohioans Work.

DeWine certified the submission as containing the needed 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a truthful and fair summary of the proposed amendment.

"Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred... I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment," the attorney general said in a statement Friday.

According to the petition, the proposed law would authorize the expansion of Ohio's Medicaid program to the fullest extent allowed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

After certification, the Ohio Ballot Board will determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties.

The number of signatures must be equal to 1.5 percent of the total vote cast in each county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election and must equal 3 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor during that election.

If enough valid signatures are collected, the Secretary of State will forward the proposal to the General Assembly, which has four months to act on the proposed bill.

If the General Assembly does not pass the law, supplemental petitions may be circulated to have the proposal placed on the next general election ballot, subject to the same signature rules.

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