All About Richland

GOP Clashes As Deadline To Repeal Tainted Bailout Law Nears

27 Nov , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hopes of repealing an energy bailout law are in danger at the Ohio Statehouse as Republican lawmakers argue sharply different positions on how and whether to repeal the legislation with only weeks before Ohioans begin to pay the price.

In one corner stands veteran GOP lawmakers like Rep. Bill Seitz, ranking member of the majority party, who believes the Nov. 3 election results solidified the standing of the now-tainted bailout bill even if federal investigators found the process of its passage to be corrupt.

“There is no representative and no senator who voted yes on House Bill 6, who lost their reelection bid,” Seitz said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But many, several, at least, who voted no, lost. So what does that tell you?” More…

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Schools

Education Bills Very Active During Ohio Statehouse Lame Duck Session

25 Nov , 2020  

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal

Both the Ohio Senate’s and House’s proposed overhaul of the state’s public education system are speeding through committees.

Both the House and Senate heard hours of testimony on companion bills meant to spell out the changes that would be made to the school funding formula, one that has been deemed unconstitutional multiple times over the past few decades.

Last Wednesday night, the Senate Finance Committee spent an hour-and-a-half hearing from school districts leaders, some of whom are also members of a working group formed to find a solution to the education system that has been criticized for being inequitable and overly reliant on property values to determine state aid. More…

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All About Richland

Bill To Limit Health Orders Passes, But DeWine Promises Veto

20 Nov , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine — after promising a veto — failed to convince lawmakers Thursday not to pass legislation that would limit the powers of his administration and health officials as the virus’ spread across Ohio reached new peaks.

At hand was a Senate bill that would ban the state Department of Health from issuing mandatory quarantine orders enforced against people who are not sick or exposed to disease — such as the order announced by the governor Tuesday setting a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The bill passed with a 58-to-30 vote on partisan lines.

When the bill reaches DeWine’s desk, he will veto it out of “moral obligation,” he said. The House would then need 60 votes to override a governor’s veto. Both chambers are currently controlled by a Republican majority. More…

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All About Richland

Ohio Senate OKs Death Penalty Ban Of Severely Mentally Ill

19 Nov , 2020  

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio Senate lawmakers approved a measure banning the execution of the severely mentally ill during a lame duck legislative session on Wednesday.

The state House legislation, introduced by GOP Rep. Brett Hillyer, of Uhrichsville, informally passed during a Senate session after receiving broad support from Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.

Senate President Larry Obhof, a Medina Republican, supported the bill but believes most Ohioans support the death penalty for some cases and so he wouldn’t support abolition of capital punishment, spokesman John Fortney said last week. More…

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All About Richland

Keys To The Ohio Statehouse Legislative Elections

2 Nov , 2020  

By Tyler Buchanan, Ohio Capital Journal

Two years ago, Democrat Jessica Miranda won her state representative seat by just 56 votes  barely enough to fit in a row or two at Madeira High School’s football stadium in her 28th district.

A few counties north, Republican J. Todd Smith won his 43rd District seat by 137 votes.

Miranda is running for reelection. Smith is not. But both political parties are working to hold onto their respective seats — and flip a few others in the process — as Ohioans cast votes this election for the state legislature.

All 99 seats in the Ohio House of Representatives are up for election, each for two-year terms in office. Half of the Ohio Senate seats (16 this year) are up for election, each for four-year terms. More…

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All About Richland

Judge: Energy Company Can Continue Donations To Lawmakers

3 Oct , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An effort by Ohio’s attorney general to block an energy company and its affiliated entities from donating to lawmakers is an infringement of First Amendment rights, a judge ruled Friday.

A Franklin County judge denied Attorney General Dave Yost’s attempt to stop campaign contributions to Ohio lawmakers from First Energy while the House is considering a repeal of a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear plants formerly owned by the company’s subsidiary.

The lawsuit sought to freeze the assets of former House Speaker Larry Householder’s $1 million campaign fund and dissolve the dark money groups involved in the bribery scheme. More…

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All About Richland

Texts Show Ex-House Speaker Pushed Lawmaker To Pass Bailout

25 Sep , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker leading the charge to repeal a nuclear bailout bill was unsuccessfully pressured by the former House speaker to vote in favor of its passage, newly released records show.

In late May 2019, former House Speaker Larry Householder texted his fellow GOP colleague Rep. Dave Greenspan to ensure he had his vote for the bill that is now at the center of a $60 million federal bribery probe, according to a series of text messages released by the Ohio House on Thursday. More…

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All About Richland

House Committee Holds Hearing On Repeal Of Bailout Law

11 Sep , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI and ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The alleged corruption that led to passage of a nuclear plant bailout law and questions about whether the bailout was financially necessary demand the law’s immediate repeal and replacement, Democratic and Republican lawmakers testified Thursday.

Supporters of the energy policy contained within the law who worry a repeal throws the baby “out with the bath water” overlook the enormous problems with the law, said Rep. Laura Lanese. More…

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All About Richland

HB 6 Costs Go Well Beyond Claimed Harm To Public Trust

4 Sep , 2020  

Here’s what’s at stake as Ohio lawmakers debate whether and how to repeal the bailout law at the heart of an alleged $60 million conspiracy case.

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Eye on Ohio

This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy News Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting.

A bill to repeal Ohio’s nuclear bailout law has languished for more than a month so far, and signs suggest that House leadership may be angling to defer or stop such efforts as Election Day draws near. Lawmakers filed repeal bills soon after the arrest of former speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and others in July. More…

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All About Richland

Ohio House Picks GOP Ex-Justice To Replace Its Ousted Leader

31 Jul , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican lawmakers on Thursday chose former state Supreme Court justice and current Rep. Bob Cupp to lead the Ohio House, replacing the speaker ousted hours earlier amid a scandal.

House members voted in favor of the veteran lawmaker from Lima on Thursday afternoon after a private Republican caucus. It followed a historic, unanimous House vote earlier in the day to remove Rep. Larry Householder as speaker because he was indicted in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.

Cupp was elevated in a more divided vote and then was immediately sworn in by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French. He said he was sorry to be leading “in such difficult and trying and unprecedented times” but promised to do so fairly and humbly and to prioritize transparency and accountability. More…

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All About Richland

Ohio House Sets Thursday Vote To Remove Disgraced Speaker

29 Jul , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI and JULIE CARR SMYTH Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio House plans to vote Thursday on the removal of the disgraced House speaker arrested last week in connection with a $60 million federal bribery probe, after Republicans took a secret vote on the matter Tuesday that was prompted by Larry Householder’s refusal to resign.

It wasn’t immediately clear under what authority the remaining members of Householder’s leadership team called the session. Under House rules, only the speaker can call or schedule a session. The power falls to his No. 2, Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Jim Butler, if the speaker is absent. More…

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All About Richland

Ohio GOP Lawmakers To Meet To Determine Householder’s Fate

28 Jul , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI and JULIE CARR SMYTH Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican state representatives in Ohio planned to meet Tuesday for the first time since their leader was arrested in connection with a $60 million federal bribery probe to discuss whether to remove disgraced House Speaker Larry Householder and what the investigation’s fallout might mean for their fall legislative campaigns.

The meeting in a downtown hotel is open to all members of the House Republican Caucus, said Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican who helped organize the gathering. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a fellow Republican; Jane Timken, chair of the Ohio Republican Party; the clerk of the Ohio House and the lawyer for House Republicans’ campaign committee are also invited, Seitz said. More…

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All About Richland

GOP Lawmakers Promote Potential Replacement For Householder

25 Jul , 2020  

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio House lawmakers on Friday moved to address the power vacuum created by the arrest of current Republican Speaker Larry Householder amid a $60 million federal bribery probe.

The names of potential candidates to take the reins of the House of Representatives are spilling out — two days after federal officials arrested Householder and four associates over alleged bribes to shepherd an energy bill into law.

One of the candidates for Ohio House speaker is GOP Rep. Bob Cupp. The former Ohio Supreme Court justice and four-term state senator has served in the House since 2015 and is being promoted as someone who could bring what Householder could not to the House floor: unity. More…

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All About Richland

Statehouse Staffer Got COVID-19; Secrecy Reigned, Senators Say

28 Jun , 2020  

By Jake Zuckerman, Ohio Capital Journal

When a state Senate staffer tested positive for COVID-19 early this (past) week, bipartisan leadership found a rare moment of agreement: Mum is the word.

A spokesman for the GOP Senate President refused to answer questions when rumors of the positive test leaked out. A spokeswoman for the Democratic Minority Leader deferred comment to Republican leadership. The local health department said it’s the employer’s decision who gets to know. More…

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All About Richland

Republicans: Bill would ‘weed out bad actors’ in Ohio police

12 Jun , 2020  

FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America / Associated Press

Ohio would create a statewide disciplinary database for violent officers and require psychological testing for all new police under a measure proposed Thursday by House Republicans. The legislation came as the state grapples with the aftermath of civil unrest over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Sponsoring Reps. Phil Plummer and Cindy Abrams, who both have previously served in law enforcement roles, said the bill would standardize police training and disciplinary response throughout the state to “weed out the bad actors.” More…

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