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Anti-Nuclear Bailout Group Goes to Court Over Petitions

photo of Gene Pierce
Gene Pierce, of Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, talks to journalists outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Columbus.

Opponents of the nuclear power plant bailout are waiting for a ruling after asking a federal judge to give them more time to circulate petitions to put the law onto next year’s ballot. The group said a state elections law creates unfair hurdles that the other side doesn’t have to face.

Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts wants to put a referendum of HB6 on next year's ballot, but the group said its petitioners are being harassed and blocked by their opposition.

The group's Gene Pierce said state law requires them to disclose petitioner information, leaving them susceptible to these tactics. He said doing away with that rule and extending the group's window of time would create a level playing field.

"State government has set up barriers to private citizens challenging their decisions and that's what we think is unconstitutional," Pierce said.

The Secretary of State’s office argued the referendum group is overfiling and that the required forms are only meant for higher ups.

The pro-nuclear bailout groups did not comment on the hearing.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.