My post opposing Issues 1 and 3.
Issue 2 is a constitutional amendment to create a 13-member Livestock Care Standards Board to prescribe standards for animal care and well-being that endeavor to maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food, and protect Ohio farms and families.
Issue 2 - summary, full text and pros and cons begins on page 9 of this link.
It comes as no surprise that groups like the United States Humane Society (USHS) oppose this because, in their words, it doesn't go far enough, while many legislators (Republicans and Democrats) are supporting it.
What does surprise me, however, is the support from traditional 'limited government individuals' - primarily out of fear that more restrictive rules could be enacted if they don't support this measure. Many of these individuals cite what the USHS has done in California - as if Ohioans would really embrace the bankrupt state of California as an example we must follow.
But representatives of the Humane Society said last week that this measure will not prevent them from seeking, through citizen initiative, more restrictive rules if Issue 2 passes. They admitted that passage would make their goal harder to achieve, but they will pursue it anyway.
And then there is the conundrum that supporters will find themselves in if Issue 2 fails - and even if it passes. Having supported one form of government intrusion into the area, they will be hard pressed to oppose any other form. So the idea that they can prevent the USHS standards by creating their own puts them in the position of not having any credibility if they later decide to oppose any USHS-written measure.
So the reasoning presented is basically this: "We need to embrace an expansion of government in order to prevent an expansion of government."
Rather logical isn't it? Of course, the 'logic' falls apart the minute it is reduced to the basic premise.
I oppose Issue 2 based upon two principles - that amending the Constitution of the State of Ohio should not be done, except in the most serious of circumstances; and that a limited government is most desirable.
I reject the idea that a government agency should be enshrined in our state's constitution. The Constitution details such things as the inalienable rights of citizens, the election, replacement and duties of the branches of government and other such details for the organization of the state. It currently requires only a board of education and a ballot board, which is responsible for approving the ballot language for issues to be voted upon.
It does not require any other such boards, so to do so now would be an aberration in our document.
If there is truly such a need for this type of body, why not just make another department within state government? Great question, right?
Well, the answer is because there already is one - the Department of Agriculture which, interestingly, has the ability, per Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 901, to do exactly what this measure purports to accomplish.
So why do we need to amend our Constitution if the ability to implement the proposed idea already currently exists?
Sadly, the proponents of Issue 2 have not explained this. Instead, they are using 'fear' of extreme action by the USHS to encourage support of the measure.
But more importantly, the government of Ohio does not need to be expanded.
I'd oppose such expansion in a good economy, but to create a new board, a new bureaucracy, add new costs and impose new regulations in an already faltering economy makes absolutely no sense.
The state legislature recently voted to 'delay' planned tax cuts because they don't have enough money to balance the budget. As State Auditor Mary Taylor warned, the budget was based upon nearly $5 billion (yes, billion with a 'b') in one-time funds that will not be here in the next biennial budget. So where does anyone think we'll have the funding for another - new - bureaucracy? The simple answer is - we won't.
So either the state will have to cut something else in order to have this new board, or they will have to raise more taxes. Either way, Ohioans will not be happy.
Expansion of government is never a good idea - and this one is no exception.
There are plenty of other reasons to oppose Issue 2, but these are the principled ones. I hope you will vote NO on Issue 2.
*** If you'd like to know where the issues stand in terms of endorsements, be sure to check out the Ohio 2009 issues page on Ballotpedia! Positions taken by bloggers and newspapers are listed.