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Under Ohio law, the process for initiating a constitutional amendments begins with the filing of a petition (with 1,000 valid signatures) with the Attorney General. The petition must include the text of the proposed amendment and a summary of it, and the Attorney General is required to determine whether the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment. On September 15, 2017, the Attorney General provided the required certification, and the proponent—Stop Ohio Puppy Mills—is free to begin collecting the 305,591 required valid signatures (10% of the votes in the last gubernatorial election). Petitions with signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State by July 4, 2018. If the requisite number of valid signatures are obtained, the Secretary of State certifies the signatures. Amendments proposed by initiative may only be on the fall general election ballot, and thus the earliest the proposal may appear on the ballot is November 6, 2018.

This detailed proposed amendment seeks to regulate puppy mills in Ohio and to insure that dogs have adequate exercise and socialization, adequate food and water, adequate shelter, and adequate veterinary care. These terms are all defined in the amendment, which also mandates that the General Assembly and the state department of agriculture revise all laws and regulations within 120 days of passage. Finally, the proposed amendment enumerates defenses to actions brought to enforce the amendment and exempts “hobby breeders” from coverage under the amendment.

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