COLUMBUS –Today, State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) 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.
“As someone who works in public health, I know bringing the spread of COVID-19 under control is the solution to Ohio’s full economic recovery. The effective mitigation of a viral outbreak takes planning, it takes outreach and it takes leadership,” said Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington). “Thus far, House Republicans have been ineffective, obstinate and downright derelict in their leadership during this unprecedented time.”
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.