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Ohio Legislature Overrides Kasich's Veto Of Lawmaker Pay Raises

Ohio House

The Ohio legislature has voted to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto on a bill, SB 296, that would increase death benefits for the families of first responders but also hike wages for lawmakers and other elected officials.

The House attached the pay raise to a bill that would help families who lost loved ones in the line of duty, a tactic that was viewed as controversial by several state leaders.

That includes Kasich, who wrote in his veto message that the original intent of the bill was “praiseworthy” and that he would’ve signed that measure alone into law.

But Kasich said he could not condone or support the “last-minute rush to include a controversial pay raise for elected officials into what was an otherwise commendable bill.”

The bill would increase wages by 11 percent over the course of three years. A senator and representative, not in a leadership role, would go from making $60,584 to $67,493 in 2021.

Several legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, voiced their opposition to the amendment.

“It’s disgusting to use families of law enforcement killed in the line of duty as a vehicle for pay raises,” said state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown).

House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) wasn’t concerned with the criticism, saying it made sense to add the pay increase as an amendment to the bill because the legislation was about benefits.

“This is not some exotic thing that we’re going off the rails on we’re talking about modest increases for local government officials who work hard every day and everybody else, it’s not outlandish by any means,” Smith said.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.