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Voters overwhelmingly approve an amendment to Cincinnati's charter to eliminate the pocket veto

City Hall as seen from Plum St. in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
Jason Whitman
City Hall as seen from Plum St. in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Cincinnati voters approved a change to the city charter to eliminate the mayor’s so-called “pocket veto.”

Issue 11 was introduced by Mayor Aftab Pureval along with two City Council members. With about 95% of precincts reporting, the measure is ahead with 80.48% of the vote.

The pocket veto was an unintended loophole of charter language that allows the mayor to indefinitely postpone legislation, effectively killing it without any discussion.

The charter amendment establishes a timeline during which legislation must be referred to committee; if the mayor hasn't referred an item within four regularly scheduled meetings, the council clerk would refer it themselves.

Eliminating the pocket veto was one recommendation of the Charter Review Task Force of 2015. The amendment on the ballot this year gives the mayor more time than recommended to refer legislation. That timeline was a point of disagreement as Council considered sending the amendment to the ballot.

The change goes into effect immediately.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.