Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today (Thursday) in the Akron Legal News

For the handful of folks who read both this blog and my column in Akron Legal News, an announcement: This week's column appears in today's paper, not the usual Wednesday. There were some absences at the paper due to, yes, the flu again and things got moved around as a result. "Cases and Controversies" will return to its usual Wednesday spot in two weeks.

This week's column takes on Issue 2. Issue 2 would set up an Ohio Livestock Standards Board, has been endorsed by pretty much everyone who matters on either side of the aisle and for the most part 2 has slipped under the radar. It's not the worst idea ever, but it's not a good idea. The board is set up in a way that goofs around with the usual constitutional system of separation of powers for no good reason.

What's more, the particular not-good reason at work here is fear of direct democracy. The backers of Issue 2 explicitly say that they have put it together because of the possibility that animal rights activists (of the relatively sane Humane Society variety, not the PETA crazies) might introduce a ballot issue establishing a few minimum standards for livestock care. Reflect on that. Voters might have to opportunity to consider livestock standards, so we need amend the constitution to establish a new bureaucracy.

Further reading:

Here is the official Issue 2 website. You can also find lots of pro talk at Ohio Farm Bureau. The anti- forces have styled themselves Ohioans Against Constitutional Takeover. The particular potential ballot issue that has given people the fantods is California Proposition 2. Here's some background from Wiki and thumb-sucking reaction from a Wisconsin ag paper. And here, for grins, is a piece in The Hill by Ohio's own Jean Schmidt about the issue.