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Ask pro-HB 6 lawmakers seeking reelection what they plan to do about the nuclear bailout bill 

Ask pro-HB 6 lawmakers seeking reelection what they plan to do about the nuclear bailout bill https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2020/10/ask-pro-hb-6-lawmakers-seeking-reelection-what-they-plan-to-do-about-the-nuclear-bailout-bill.html Oct 18, 2020, By Thomas Suddes, cleveland.com

House Bill 6, which Ohio’s House and Senate passed last year, requires Ohio’s electricity consumers to bail out two nuclear power plants formerly owned by FirstEnergy Corp. – Perry, in Lake County, and Davis-Besse, in Ottawa County.

HB 6 also requires electricity customers to subsidize two coal-burning power plants, one of them in Indiana. Evidently, our General Assembly has solved all Ohio’s problems and now has the time, not to mention the wisdom, to address an Indiana problem.

True, Ohio’s House and Senate usually favor utilities over consumers. That’s not news. But this was: In July, a federal grand jury indicted then-House Speaker Larry Householder, a Republican from Perry County’s Glenford, and four other Statehouse figures because of an alleged racketeering conspiracy, “involving approximately $60 million,” to pass HB 6 – “a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.” (Householder and the others are presumed innocent unless convicted.)

Soon after, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who last year had signed HB 6 almost before its ink dried, asked the legislature to repeal HB 6. But the House (61-38 Republican) and Senate (24-9 Republican) haven’t. True, a House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight, appointed by new Speaker Robert Cupp (a Lima Republican who voted “yes” on HB 6) is “studying” HB 6. Maybe the committee could save time by reading the federal indictment.

Oh yes, the Senate will consider repealing HB 6 – but only after the House repeals it. There’s no reason why the Senate (led by President Larry Obhof, a Medina Republican who voted “yes” on HB 6) can’t repeal HB 6 before the House does. Maybe the real reason is that GOP senators think the House will never repeal it.

About all that Ohio electricity consumers can do is ask those members of the General Assembly who voted “yes” on House Bill 6 whether they will now vote to repeal it.

The Senate passed the bill 19-13. The House sent HB 6 to DeWine in a 51-38 vote (with 50 votes required). Some legislators who voted “yes” on HB 6 are Democrats. But most “yes” votes came from Householder, Cupp and other Republicans. Whether incumbents are Democrats or a Republicans, voters might care to ask reelection candidates what they’ll do about HB 6.
A Greater Cleveland state senator who voted “yes” on HB 6 is asking voters to reelect him: Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, of the 24th District.
These Greater Cleveland Ohio House members also voted “yes” on HB 6 and are asking voters to reelect them: Democratic Reps. Terrence Upchurch, of Cleveland; Tavia Galonski, of Akron; and Thomas West, of Canton.

These Greater Cleveland House members also voted “yes” on HB 6 and are asking voters to reelect them: Republican Reps. Thomas F. Patton, of Strongsville; Jamie Callender, of Concord Township (HB 6′s co-sponsor); Diane V. Grendell, of Chesterland (whose district includes parts of Geauga and Portage counties); Darrell Kick, of Loudonville (whose district includes Ashland County and part of Medina County); Scott Oelslager, of North Canton; Bill Roemer, of Richfield; Dick Stein of Norwalk (whose district includes part of Lorain County); and Scott Wiggam, of Wooster.

Even if legislators run unopposed, they’re still answerable to residents of their districts.

Legislators who voted “yes” on HB 6 will likely tout “savings” – not “costs” – electricity consumers will see thanks to HB 6. If that’s the answer a voter gets, she or he should ask where the numbers came from. (HB 6 analyses with differing dates are floating around.) The answer a Statehouse politician gets about what a bill costs depends on how she or he asks the question.
Still, these are crucial questions that never get good answers from pro-House Bill 6 General Assembly members:

If HB 6 is such great legislation, why did it only attract 51 “yes” votes in the 99-member House – just one more “yes” vote than the 50-vote constitutional minimum?

And why did 15 of the House’s 61 Republicans – one in four – vote “no” on HB 6 even though then-GOP leader Householder wanted it passed?

Finally: Why would anybody allegedly spend $60 million in dark money to pass a bill that’s supposed to be such a great deal for Ohio electricity consumers – unless it isn’t?

Thomas Suddes, a member of the editorial board, writes from Athens.
To reach Thomas Suddes: tsuddes@cleveland.com, 216-408-9474

October 19, 2020 - Posted by | election USA 2020, politics

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