COLUMBUS –Today, State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) participated in a virtual press conference with other House Democratic lawmakers to discuss legislative solutions that are needed as the state faces multiple unprecedented crises. The Ohio House was scheduled to meet for an if-needed House session today, but Speaker Robert Cupp canceled on Friday, Sept. 11.
“Right now, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are struggling to pay rent, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to play games that have real-life consequences that affect people’s lives and futures. My Democratic colleagues and I have introduced dozens of bills that would alleviate many of the burdens COVID-19 has caused. Instead, Republicans canceled session so they don’t have to face the public’s call and the House Democrats’ efforts to repeal House Bill 6,” said Rep. Boyd.
“For the past three general assemblies, I have introduced Paid Family Leave legislation. If we had enacted that years ago, we would have a state-run insurance program in place, and Ohioans could be drawing from their previously made contributions to supplement any unemployment benefits and fill the gaps of loss of income resulting from COVID-19. I introduced emergency Paid Leave with Rep. Boggs months ago, but we haven’t had a hearing, and Republicans refuse to take it up.”
The decision to cancel comes after Speaker Cupp ended House session early on Sept. 2 after Democrats planned to offer several measures to repeal House Bill (HB) 6, the nuclear plant bailout law at the heart of a $61 million Statehouse bribery scandal led by former Republican Speaker Larry Householder. Former Speaker Householder and several associates were arrested and indicted for their roles in the alleged corruption scheme.
This was the latest attempt by House Republicans to block Democratic efforts to repeal HB 6. Previous Democratic efforts have included filing a protest of the passage of House Bill 6 and filing a discharge petition to bring bipartisan legislation to repeal HB 6 to the floor for a vote. House Republicans aggressively worked to thwart that effort by requiring that signatures be done in person and not electronically like all other legislation.
House Democrats also highlighted the obstructionist tactics of Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose to suppress the vote for the upcoming November election. Yesterday, House Dems slammed LaRose and GOP lawmakers for refusing to fund absentee ballot postage and pointed out that the Secretary does not need legislative approval to make the general election more accessible during a pandemic. House Democrats have consistently called on Sec. LaRose to use existing funds to pay for postage if the legislature fails to address it.
A recording of the virtual press conference can be found here.