Issue 43 promises transparency if approved

Matthew Merchant

Issue 43, if approved on Tuesday’s ballot, would institute a Democracy Day for the Kent’s residents. As one of five charter amendments to the city’s governing document, Issue 43 would require the city to host a public forum each October to discuss issues on that year’s upcoming November ballot.

When the group Kent Citizens for Democracy introduced the initiative to city council this past summer, James Silver, Kent’s law director, questioned the legality of the amendment.

According to the Record-Courier, Silver said the group did not have enough resident signatures to place the issue on the ballot. Ohio’s state constitution requires a select amount of signatures, but Silver argued the group did not have enough per the city’s laws.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kent Citizens for Democracy, which also proposed a ballot initiative entitled “Corporations are not People and Money is not Speech.”

The proposed charter amendment, if approved by voters, would have essentially made it illegal for large corporations to lobby money in local elections. City Council voted against the ballot measure after Silver advised members about the city’s ballot laws regarding signatures.

Matthew Merchant is a senior reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].