Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) and Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), the top Democrat on the House Public Utilities Committee, issued statements Wednesday on the passage of House Bill (HB) 128, legislation to repeal parts of HB 6 from the 133rd General Assembly (GA).
“The passage of HB 128 is a good step forward, but it falls short of addressing all the damage caused by HB 6,” said Assistant Leader Boggs. “More action is needed to restore the public’s trust. We must renew our commitment to the renewable energy portfolio and energy efficiency standards.”
HB 6 was a multi-billion dollar corporate bailout at the center of the largest alleged public racketeering and bribery scheme in Ohio history. Former Republican Speaker Larry Householder and several close associates were paid millions to pass HB 6 and stop a referendum on the law.
HB 128 would eliminate subsidies for the Ohio-based Energy Harbor nuclear plants and the associated ratepayer fees, and remove financial benefits that enabled FirstEnergy to implement a decoupling mechanism and earn significantly excessive profits. Additionally, the bill would keep $20 million a year in subsidies for previously approved solar projects, a Democratic priority.
“While this bill is an improvement over the current situation, we have unfinished business to fully undo the damage done when this chamber passed HB 6 in the 133rd General Assembly. As we saw today, there’s a willingness on both sides to repeal the taxpayer-funded subsidies to two OVEC coal-fired power plants, one of which isn’t even in Ohio—it’s in Indiana. We work for you, the taxpayers of Ohio, not Indiana,” said Rep. Smith. “I’m encouraged by what I heard on the floor today and want to work together to eliminate those subsidies, repeal HB 6 and move Ohio toward a clean energy future. I hope these are not just more empty words by the majority that have stalled substantive action on HB 6 in the past.”
Democrats, while supportive of the bill, said HB 128 is just the first step toward undoing the damage caused by HB 6, and renewed calls for a vote on the full repeal of the controversial law.
Today’s call for a full repeal is just the latest from House Democrats, who have urged on multiple occasions for the repeal of HB 6. They have also introduced a number of bills to repeal parts or all of the law.
Democrats offered multiple amendments on the floor Wednesday that they said would improve HB 128, including:
· Repealing remaining HB 6 provisions except for the subsidies for certain solar projects, and to reinstate state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards and energy efficiency benchmarks that have saved consumers billions of dollars in reduced rates.
· Repealing subsidies to two coal-fired power plants operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC), one of which is in Indiana.
Republicans rejected the amendments.
After passing the House, HB 128 moves to the Senate for consideration.