Following House session Wednesday, Democratic leaders condemned Republican lawmakers for continuing to refuse to act on proposals to slow the spread of coronavirus, financially assist working families and small businesses, and repeal House Bill (HB) 6, tainted corporate bailout legislation at the center of an alleged multi-billion dollar corruption scheme involving then-Republican House Speaker Larry Householder and close associates.
“This surge threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Ohioans, yet the legislation being prioritized by the Republican Majority today doesn’t do anything to slow the spread of this virus that’s devastating families, businesses and communities across Ohio,” said Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus). “Over the past month, we’ve seen the results of exclusively focusing on reopening businesses—a dangerous surge, falling consumer confidence and health systems pushed to the brink. We need to act with the same urgency to enact a plan to contain the virus, equip our healthcare workers, and keep employees safe on the job so that we can beat this virus, save lives and get our economy back on track.”
In yesterday’s Rules and Reference Committee, Rep. Boggs asked that Speaker Cupp reconsider a resolution introduced by Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) in May that would require members wear masks in the Statehouse. Speaker Cupp refused. Today on the House floor, many Republicans were not wearing masks despite COVID-19 cases skyrocketing across Ohio. All House Democrats wore masks and have consistently for months.
Additionally, Republicans are pushing a bill in committee that would weaken the authority of the Governor and State Health Director during public health emergencies, which Democrats say will slow the state’s coronavirus response and ultimately cost lives, jobs and shutter more businesses.
House Democrats also called out Republican leaders Wednesday for blocking a Democratic attempt to repeal HB 6 during the House’s scheduled voting session.
“House Bill 6 was bought by corporate interests and paid for by Ohio taxpayers. The longer Republicans wait to repeal this bill, the stronger message they send that corruption is fair game in Ohio—it’s not,” said Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson). “Right now, the only thing standing in its way of being repealed is Republican House leadership. We are beginning to question why Republicans are holding this up, and truthfully, so are Ohio taxpayers. They deserve better.”
Republicans rejected the Democratic HB 6 repeal amendment in a largely party-line vote.