Joyce Beatty (D) Warns Against Partisan Confrontation in Lame Duck Session
At a press availabilty in Columbus today, House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) issued a stern warning about GOP initiatives in the lame duck session of the General Assembly that threaten to interfere with the incoming Strickland administration or are otherwise inconsistent with the mandate given to the Democratic Party by Ohio voters on November 7th. "Actions speak louder than words – and the actions of the past couple of weeks are unsettling,” said Beatty. “Recent events suggest we might be headed for a series of partisan power plays and surprises that could poison the Statehouse climate.”
“How we conduct ourselves in these next three weeks will set the tone for the next General Assembly,” Beatty added. “I’m still hopeful we can end this month with a level of civility and build on that in 2007. But we have reason for concern.”
One major concern is HB 685, a revision to agency rule-making that threatens to slow up much important work by Gov. Strickland's executive departments. “It seems like we would be better off calling it the ‘Red Tape in Government Act,’ because that’s what it amounts to: A paper pusher’s fantasy,” Beatty said. “No one wants government for government’s sake, and that’s what this looks like.”
Other problematic new proposals include:
* A proposal (not yet publicly announced) that could limit or eliminate lead paint manufacturers’ liability for selling products they knew for decades were dangerous to children.
* HB 695, a long bill introduced by Rep. Chuck Calvert (R) on Thursday, which would create a third system of schools in Ohio (in addition to the public schools and charter). Hearings are expected to start Tuesday in the Finance and Appropriations Committee.
* A proposal by Rep. Kevin DeWine (R) to put new limits on campaign contributions. DeWine wrote the law passed two years ago that quadrupled prior limits, so that individuals can now contribute $10,000 to a single state candidate in both the primary and the general election in one election cycle. Republicans were surprised when 2006 Democratic candidates, especially Ted Strickland, received a large number of contributions at the new $10,000 maximum level. Democrats say that any additional changes to the law should be developed in a bipartisan way, not rushed through the lame duck session on a party line vote.