HB 6 Repeal Effort
On August 31, Speaker Bob Cupp announced any House bills aiming to repeal or replace HB 6 must go through a special committee – the new House Select Committee on Energy Policy & Oversight. The House immediately referred three bills to the new panel – two repeal measures (HB 738 & HB 746, both of which are discussed below) and one to reverse budget language on significantly excessive earnings determinations for utility companies (HB 740). The speaker said the chamber wants to “act expeditiously” on the issue. Given the structure of the House, the speaker’s move allows HB 6 repeal measures to bypass the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee which is led by Rep. Nino Vitale, who disfavors a full repeal and is one of a handful of House members seeking to impeach Governor DeWine over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
HB 6 Repeal Effort
Ohio House Leadership Changes
In early August, members of the House of Representatives ejected Rep. Larry Householder from his speakership role. By a vote of 91-0, the House brought Rep. Householder’s (R-Glenford) second stint as the chamber’s leader to an end. This move came shortly after a federal grand jury indicted Rep. Householder for his alleged role in orchestrating a $60 million racketeering scheme. (Note Rep. Householder’s first stint as House Speaker ended under a cloud of suspicion as he was subject to a federal investigation at the time; that investigation ended without any charges filed.) Following the vote, the House voted to install Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), who said he will work to restore trust in the Ohio House; Speaker Cupp is an experienced public servant, having been an Ohio Supreme Court Justice and a longtime member of the Ohio General Assembly. Speaker Cupp has signaled he’s going to take a less combative tone with Gov. DeWine’s COVID-19 efforts than his predecessor, and he quickly moved to replace the House leadership’s team with new aides and support staff.
Industry Credentials for Students
The Ohio Department of Education, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, has developed a new application process for submitting industry-recognized credentials to the approved list for graduation. Community stakeholders, including businesses, may suggest industry credentials for consideration by completing an application due August 30. Approved credentials from this quarter will be available to students for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information and to complete an application, click here. Further, questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from the Statehouse:
House Speaker Arrested, Charged with Federal Bribery and Related Offenses
On July 21, the FBI raided the home of Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. Later during the day, law enforcement arrested Speaker Householder and four other individuals in connection with a $60 million bribery case related to H.B. 6, legislation that subsidized Ohio’s two nuclear power plants. Speaker Householder had returned to the House in 2016 following a stint in the early 2000s when he also served as Speaker. His earlier departure coincided with another FBI investigation stemming from e-mails and related to funneling of campaign contributions. No charges were ever filed in that case.
The other four individuals arrested are Neil Clark, founder of Grant Street Consultants, a prominent lobbying firm in Columbus; former Ohio Republican Party chair and consultant Matthew Borges; Juan Cespedes, co-founder of The Oxley Group in Columbus; and Jeffrey Longstreth, adviser to Householder. They were released from custody afterward, with travel restrictions and prohibitions on contact with others involved in the case. All face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
With COVID cases on the rise, on July 22 Governor DeWine announced that beginning on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., a statewide mask mandate will go into effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties. All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:
At an indoor location that is not a residence
Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.