Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today expressed support for vetoes of several bills, including legislation to change the state’s energy efficiency standards to unenforceable “goals” through 2019. Critics say the bill, House Bill 554, would have harmed consumers and jeopardized thousands of manufacturing and development jobs in Ohio’s advanced energy industry. 

“In a state with a proud industrial history, we must embrace the growing advanced energy sector and the manufacturing-based jobs the industry can provide if we want to remain competitive in the 21st century,” said Strahorn. “Ohio’s bipartisan energy efficiency standards have already saved money for families across the state and created jobs for thousands of hardworking Ohioans. I believe extending the energy standards freeze under the guise of unenforceable “goals” would have set Ohio back, and I am pleased that the governor agrees.” 

Ohio’s energy efficiency standards were originally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2008. According to various reports, the standards have since saved consumers over $1 billion in energy costs, helped create thousands of jobs in the state’s advanced energy industry, and were on track to reduce an estimated 23 million tons of annual carbon pollution by 2029, helping prevent thousands of lost work days, asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths. 

Strahorn also expressed support for the veto of Senate Bill (SB) 329, a sweeping bill passed in the eleventh hour of lame duck session that would have given the legislature new power to dissolve executive-branch state agencies. Under SB 329, some 25 state agencies would be forced to spend extra money and resources every four years to defend against elimination based on a number of factors, including the potential for privatization, and a regulations evaluation against other states.

“I am pleased the governor vetoed this reckless legislation that could have put Ohioans in danger by potentially shutting down essential services overnight,” said Strahorn. “The legislature already has to the ability – and responsibility – to oversee executive agencies through the state budget process. In an American democracy that relies on a healthy system of checks and balances, SB 329 was a reckless power grab by one branch of government that would have created chaos within our state every four years.” 

The governor today also line-item vetoed several tax provisions of SB 235, including a tax exemption for oil and gas producers and another for digital entertainment downloads.  

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The Ohio House Democratic Caucus today responded to the newly unveiled GOP unemployment compensation bill that freezes unemployment compensation for ten years, increases unemployment insurance tax rates from .02 to .03 percent for employers, and adds a new ten-percent tax on employees.

“As Americans we believe in getting paid for the work you do. But now, after helping to build our bottom line in Ohio, working people will take home less pay for doing the same job under this legislation,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “That’s wrong.”

The legislation also reduces the amount of time a person remains eligible for unemployment insurance by two weeks, from 26 to 24.

“An automatic pay cut is not what most families and people have in mind when I talk to them about the priorities at their statehouse,” added Leader Strahorn. “People are concerned about owning a home, sending kids to school and trying to save what they can to get ahead.”