© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

House Republican's priorities unveiled

The Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus on March 26, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock

The Ohio House is making up for lost time. After a leadership squabble, lawmakers have introduced dozens of bills, including income tax cuts and a ban on transgender girls playing high school and college sports.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss Speaker Stephen's legislative agenda.

Bills, Bills, Bills

We have a House Bill 1! In fact, we have also House bill 2, 3, 4 — all they way up to House Bill 30.

First, House Speaker Jason Stephens outlined his legislative agenda with his Republican supporters. House Bill 1 would cut income taxes and create a flat tax where everyone pays 2.75% after the first $26,000 in earnings. Right now the richest Ohioans pay nearly 4% of their income in state taxes. To pay for that, the state would use money now going to local schools and local governments.

Other bills would help pay for economic development, increase affordable housing, try to make adoption more accessible and ban the handful of transgender girls and women who want to play on female high school and college teams from doing so.

On the surface, Stephens' agenda is in line with what his Republican rival Derrick Merrin supports. But Merrin said there are gaps in Stephens' plan, such as a proposal to increase the percentage of votes needed to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60%.

Merrin said his caucus will soon present its own agenda.

Star Witness

Householder and four others were charged with orchestrating a more than $60 million bribery scheme to get him elected a House Speaker, pass a law to bailout out two nuclear plants and kill a repeal effort.

One of Householder’s co-defendants—lobbyist Matt Borges—is on trial with him. Another lobbyist, Neil Clark, died by suicide. But Jeff Longstreth and Juan Cespedes pleaded guilty. This week, Cespedes testified against Householder and Borges.

Cespedes described a meeting in which a First Energy lobbyist slid a $400,000 check across a table to Larry Householder.

Cespedes said another $100,000 check was given to Householder at another meeting. Cespedes testified that the money went to the political action committee Generation Now, which is not allowed to coordinate with Householder.

We also learned, according to Cespedes' testimony, that First Energy Solutions planned to sell the nuclear plants after the bailout and an executive stood to personally make $100 million from the sale of the plants.

Wednesday, jurors heard secret recordings made by undercover FBI agents. They heard the late lobbyist Clark and Householder plotting to pass legislation and about how to thwart a repeal.

It was a look at the dark side of politics. Whether or not it was illegal will be for jurors to decide.

Snollygoster of the week

Officials from Norfolk Southern Railroad who were expected to attend a public meeting this week to discuss the derailment in East Palestine did not appear at the meeting. The reason: They feared for their safety. Ironic considering the residents of East Palestine are fearing for their safety.

Norfolk Southern said it's cleaning up the site of the derailment. It’s reimbursing residents for costs associated with the evacuation and it has established a $1 million fund to help with the remediation.

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.