A week from today, the group that wants to overturn Ohio’s nuclear power plant bailout law is required to submit nearly 266,000 valid petition signatures to halt that law and put it before voters next year.
But supporters of the bailout are waging an unrelenting fight to stop that. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
The pro-bailout Ohioans For Energy Security has been urging people not to sign petitions that would put the bailout on the ballot – first with ads and mailers linking the campaign to China, and now targeting the people who've been hired to gather signatures.
The latest ad features a voiceover identifying a circulator as a "convicted felon" from out of state. A previous ad also encouraged Ohioans not to sign petitions by people going door-to-door to gather them.
Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts spokesman Gene Pierce says the other side using information about their circulators found on required forms, and has been bullying some circulators and trying to buy others off to get them to quit the campaign. And Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts said another pro-bailout group is trying to get people who have signed to ask for their signatures to be removed.
The group has filed a federal lawsuit asking for a 90 day extension to get signatures. “We’re still on course, I believe, to make our deadline but it’s a battle, every day’s a battle," Pierce said. Pierce hasn't said how many signatures the group has collected so far.
A spokesperson for the pro-bailout group Generation Now has said monitors have been told to be polite, respectful, and to avoid inappropriate contact.
The pro-bailout forces have also asked the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that the plan is a tax and can’t be put to voters. No ruling on that yet.