Ohio's "revolving door" law has been overturned by a federal court judge, who was absolutely, positively correct in his ruling. The law as it stands is blatantly unconstitutional.
That said, state legislators should rework the measure and, with the judge's valid concerns in mind, replace it.
"Revolving door" laws are intended to prevent public officials from retiring, then immediately taking lucrative lobbying jobs with companies or organizations they once regulated. The need for such rules is clear. They prevent legislators from promoting bills that benefit special interests, then being rewarded with private sector jobs once they leave government. Ohio's statute requires that former lawmakers and legislative staff members wait at least a year before becoming lobbyists. Unfortunately, the measure prohibits even unpaid lobbying.
Former state Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. of Cincinnati filed a lawsuit over the limit, because he wanted to become an unpaid lobbyist for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes. The court upheld him, pointing out that the current ban on unpaid lobbying infringes upon First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.
The concern is a valid one - but so is the worry that some in government may trade influence for the prospect of lobbyist paychecks in the future. Ohio lawmakers should approve a new "revolving door" bill, this one limited to former government officials and paid lobbying jobs.