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Nuclear Bailout Could Hinge On Ohio Supreme Court

Ohio Supreme Court chambers.
Dan Konik
Ohio Public Radio

The window has closed for parties to file in the Ohio Supreme Court case over whether the new energy law, HB6, can be subject to acitizen referendum.

The energy law bails out nuclear and subsidizes coal plants through rate increases. Attorneys for FirstEnergy Solutions argue that those rate increases should be considered tax increases. State law says taxes are protected against referenda.

Three of the seven justices have already recused themselves. Most of the justices on the court have received campaign contributions from FirstEnergy Solutions which stands to gain about $1 billion in subsidies through the new law.

Meanwhile, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts want more time to collect signatures for that referendum, after a federal judge referred their case back to the state Supreme Court.

The group attempted to put a referendum on the 2020 November ballot by collecting signatures around the state. However they fell short of the required 265,774 signatures. The referendum process calls for citizens to have 90 days to circulate a petition, from when the bill is signed into law to the time it goes into effect.

However, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts argues that it only had 52 days to collect signatures since it took 38 days to get its petition language approved.

No word on whether the court will hear that case.

Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.