COLUMBUS— In the dark of night while most Ohioans were sleeping, the Republican Supermajority on three separate occasions utilized the rarely used House Rule 101 to move the previous question, cutting off debate for controversial bills on Stand Your Ground a.k.a Kill at Will, abortion and curbing the power of the public health director. House Democrats had been prepared to offer multiple amendments to the controversial bills and deliver floor speeches that lifted up the voices and concerns of their constituents, but they never got the chance. Also silenced was the radical faction of GOP lawmakers who had floor amendments ready to be offered.
Assistant House Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) released a statement following the adjournment of the floor session.
"This was a shameful tactic deployed by the Speaker to silence debate on both sides of the aisle. When it comes to controversial issues GOP leadership shouldn't be afraid of what any member has to say," Rep. Boggs said. "We may be in the minority, but we represent the voices of the millions of Ohioans. I think this is demonstrative of how divided not only Democrats and Republicans are in the legislature, but also how divided the majority caucus continues to be."
Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) has been in the Ohio Legislature for 18 years, serving in both the House and Senate. He said, in all his years serving at the Ohio Statehouse, he can never recall a time when Rule 101 was invoked to prohibit any debate whatsoever on legislation. During the early morning hours, the Republican Supermajority used Rule 101 on three separate occasions for three separate controversial bills in a single session. Notably, there was zero debate on Senate Bill 260 before Republicans called for an immediate vote.
"We still live in a democracy and what the Republicans did on the House floor smacks of totalitarianism," said Rep. Skindell. "In all my years in the Ohio General Assembly, this was one of the most disrespectful, blatant power grabs I have ever seen. There is a reason this motion is so rarely used – it is the 'nuclear option.' It is a bad faith way to legislate. In our branch of government, both majority and minority parties serve an important role. When you cut off debate, you cannot properly vet a bill and do the People's work. I worry about the future of the Ohio House if the Supermajority is going to choose to conduct themselves so undemocratically."
A full recording of the archived session can be found at ohiochannel.org.