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What We Know About Making Legislation May Be All Wrong

The State of Ohio
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 12:00pm
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It’s part of every student’s education, how a bill becomes a law. But is it still correct?

The inmate who was up next for execution will not be put to death this month – or ever. 54 year old Arthur Tyler was granted clemency by Gov. John Kasich this week, after the parole board unanimously recommended the governor commute his sentence. The American Civil Liberties Union renewed its call for a moratorium on the death penalty in Ohio, and also announced it’s suing over changes in early voting. Attorneys who scored a win with a federal judge over birth certificates have filed a lawsuit to strike down the state’s same-sex marriage ban outright. Almost a week after the state’s top investigator issued his report on the Coingate scandal a decade ago, the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party says the Inspector General should resign. And the Ohio Supreme Court will decide whether a woman who says she was raped in a juvenile jail can sue the state. But the justices seemed to have some doubts about the state's arguments in the case.

It’s part of every school student’s education – how a bill becomes a law. But what we may have learned in school about the process may not bear much resemblance to how it actually happens when real lawmakers are involved – especially when you bring in lobbyists, other elected officials, taxpayers, interest groups, polls and money. Two activists from very different points on the political spectrum, but who share a concern about the process of crafting legislation and keeping it transparent, accessible and ethical, talk about that. Catherine Turcer is with the government watchdog group Common Cause. Maurice Thompson is with the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.