Richard Cordray (D)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray last week signed off on petition language that would bar federal health care coverage mandates from taking effect in the state.
The petition is being sought by the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of 25 conservative and libertarian grassroots groups, including many Ohio Tea Party organizations.
With the attorney general's declaration that their ballot summary is fair and accurate, the petition language now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board for final approval.
If approved, the group will need to collect more than 400,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters to get their measure on the statewide ballot. To get on the November general election ballot, signatures would have to be filed with the Ohio secretary of state's office by mid-July.
The constitutional amendment proposed by the Ohio Liberty Council would prohibit any law or that forces individuals or employers to buy health insurance or levies a fine against those that choose not to do so.
Under the federal health care overhaul signed this month by President Barack Obama, beginning in 2014, individuals who flout the mandate face an annual penalty of $695, while employers could face penalties of $2,000 per worker for not offering affordable health coverage.
Cordray was urged to reject the petition language by the liberal Universal Health Care Action Network. It called the group's ballot language deceptive.
"The petition language does not state or imply the real purpose of the ballot language: for Ohio to exempt itself from participating in national health reform," the group said in a statement.