After nearly two months of a Republican-led legislative impasse, the Ohio House is expected to resume legislative activity following today’s narrow, marathon election of new House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). Chaos and dysfunction have plagued the legislature since the abrupt resignation of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), after he announced he was under FBI inquiry in April. Federal agents have since raided Rosenberger’s home, his state office and storage shed, as rumors of pay-to-play tactics on payday lending reform legislation continue to churn.
“Republicans could not have expected that Democrats would affirm their nominees for Speaker of the House. When I invite people over to my house, I invite them over for refreshments- sandwiches, tea, coffee, a glass of wine. I invite them over for quality conversation and meaningful relationship-building. I don’t invite them over to help me clean my house, that would be tacky,” said Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights). Especially when they have more people in their house than we have in ours- they can clean their own house. They have not exactly been pleasant hosts, offering little to no compromise and dialogue on issues important to us. We are wary of the ongoing FBI investigation. I hope now we can finally have more open conversations about issues facing our state without scandal, chaos and controversy.”
Republican gridlock continued onto the House floor as the legislature held 11 rounds of voting to elect Smith, who becomes the first speaker in modern history to assume control of the Ohio House without securing a majority of votes. In a narrow vote, Smith was awarded the speakership under Ohio law with only 44 votes.