Ohio2006 Blog

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Thursday, December 7

Ohio House Dem Caucus Opposes GOP "Lame Duck Rush"

House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) today objected to Republican legislators rushing major policy changes to the House floor with little or no public debate in the waning days of the 126th General Assembly. She announced that the House Democratic Caucus would oppose three bills, two of which might otherwise merit serious consideration by Democrats, because they appear to be headed to the floor just days after being introduced. All are expected to be voted on in legislative committees today.

The three bills are HB 685, introduced on November 16th by Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina), which would severely burden administrative rule-making; HB 694, introduced eight days ago by Rep. Kevin DeWine (R-Beavercreek), which would change contribution limits under campaign finance laws; and HB 695, introduced one week ago by Rep. Chuck Calvert (R-Medina), which would create an entirely new system of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics schools. The proposals were introduced just weeks after an election in which Democrats picked up four out of five statewide executive offices and seven new House seats, the largest such gain for Democrats since 1972.

Beatty said Democrats find "no redeeming value whatsoever" in HB 685, Faber’s rule-making proposal, which she termed a “paper pusher’s fantasy.” As of Wednesday night, no one had testified in support of the proposal other than Faber and at least two dozen individuals or organizations have expressed opposition. The other two bills deserve serious discussion, according to Beatty, but "are just too important to be rushed through this chamber as the clock strikes midnight.” Good legislation "demands an open, thoughtful public process," she added, because "when legislation is rushed through in the dark of night, the public loses out. We cannot, in good conscience, be expected to vote on these bills right now.”

“These bills may contain serious unintended consequences or partisan Trojan horses. Or they may not," Beatty said. "We just don’t know, because there has not been enough time for thoughtful public input and review. We believe it’s best to take a deep breath and look ahead to next year, when we can work on these issues in a focused, bipartisan manner.”

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