News & Events
Legislation Clinic Conference to Look at Direct Democracy
March 3 conference to be held at the Vern Riffe Center and the Ohio Statehouse
February 6, 2006
Direct democracy – its benefits and failings – is the focus of a conference hosted by the Legislation Clinic at The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law on March 3, 2006.
“The People as Legislators: The Influence of Direct Democracy” will bring together academicians, public officials, and interest group representatives to discuss various aspects of the initiative and referendum processes that are the essence of direct democracy, and the relationship between direct democracy and representative democracy. Sessions will be held at the Vern Riffe Center and the Ohio Statehouse.
Elizabeth Garrett, Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, Political Science, and Policy, Planning and Development, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern California, will deliver the conference's opening address, “The Promise and Perils of Hybrid Democracy.”
Professor Garrett is one of the country's leading legal scholars studying democratic institutions. She is on the board of directors of the Initiative and Referendum Institute, and also serves as one of the nine members of the President's bipartisan Tax Reform Panel.
In addition, a series of three panels will probe such issues as:
- When does direct democracy provide a sound mechanism for making public policy, and when does it not?
- Does direct democracy pose a threat to our legislative institutions, or does it keep our legislatures honest?
- What reforms to the state processes of direct democracy would strengthen our government?
Scheduled presenters include:
- Scott Borgemenke, Chief of Staff, Ohio House of Representatives;
- Jennie Drage Bowser, Program Principal, Legislative Management Program, National Conference of State Legislatures;
- The Honorable Kevin DeWine, Ohio House of Representatives;
- Kris W. Kobach, Daniel L. Brenner/UMKC Scholar and Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City;
- Daniel A. Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Florida;
- Julie Carr Smyth, Chief Legislative Reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland;
- Caroline Tolbert, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University;
- Catherine Turcer, Campaign Finance Director, Ohio Citizen Action; and
- Dana Walch, former Director of Legislative Affairs (2004–2005), Director of Election Reform (2002–2004), and Director of Elections (1999–2002), Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
The event is co-sponsored by the Moritz College of Law and its Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies.
Cost to attend the event is $90 and includes admission to the keynote address, all panel discussions, written conference materials, lunch, and refreshments. For registrations received by February 10, the cost is only $60. Faculty, staff, and students at The Ohio State University may attend all events except the lunch for no charge, and may attend the lunch as well for $20.
To register for the event, call (614) 292-6820.
Since August 2000, the Legislation Clinic at the Moritz College of Law has enabled law students to develop legislative analysis and lawyering skills and to benefit from exposure to Ohio legislative practice. In addition, the clinic fosters new scholarship on the operations of and challenges facing state legislatures, and offers an important public policy service to Ohio legislators. The Legislation Clinic's previous conferences, in 2004 and 2002, have addressed “Issues in State Health Care Policy,” and “Early Returns on Legislative Term Limits.”