Restore Public Utility Commission of Ohio’s multiparty composition: editorial

By Editorial Board   |
on May 05, 2015

A pending Ohio House bill would a close a loophole that undermines what should be a balance in political affiliations among the five Public Utilities Commission of Ohio members. It deserves a fair hearing – and passage.

House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. David J. Leland, a Columbus Democrat, would require, in effect, that at least one PUCO member be a Democrat and at least one a Republican.

A 1982 law forbids more than three commissioners from the same party but says nothing about making sure that each major party is represented. That was not an issue until this year, when the PUCO’s last Democratic member was replaced by a Republican, leaving the commission with three Republicans and two independents. It’s impossible that was the intent of the legislature in 1982; a Democratic-run House passed the bill 90-3; a GOP-run Senate, 23-4; and Republican Gov. James A. Rhodes signed it.

HB 122 would require that at least one PUCO commissioner be a member of each of Ohio’s major political parties. A major party is one whose gubernatorial or presidential candidate drew at least 20 percent of the vote at the most recent election.

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Republicans change their minds about pushing fracking in state parks

By Darrel Rowland   The Columbus Dispatch  •  Tuesday March 17, 2015

Ohio’s state parks are safe from fracking after a legislative panel pulled the controversial provision on Tuesday.

Almost as significant: The rare defeat of the oil and gas industry came after genuine cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly.

“It’s a big win for the people of the state of Ohio,” said Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus.

The measure is set for a vote by the full House on Wednesday, where approval is expected.

But the whole thing almost didn’t happen.

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Infamous Night Club Compels Lawmaker to Address Public Nuisance Issue
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 | Csaba Sukosd


COLUMBUS – A crime-ridden night club on the north end could wind up changing state law in Ohio.
Rep. David Leland (D) drafted a new bill this month when it comes to determining if a property is a public nuisance.

He said police contacted him for help last month when the city was trying to shut down the La Rue nightclub off Karl Road.

Officers responded to four shootings at the club in a four-month time frame but say they could not board it up until they spotted illegal alcohol sales inside.

Current law states the courts can declare any property a nuisance if there is a pattern of prostitution and/or illegal alcohol sales but does not include a “pattern of violence.”

Rep. Leland included the latter language in his proposed law change.

Rep. Stephanie Kunze (R) signed up to joint sponsor the bill.

They hope to introduce it within the month and hope it will help shut down more safety concerns like bad bars and drug houses.

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Changes sought in nuisance law, motel licensing

By KEVIN PARKS  Tuesday January 27, 2015 8:08 PM

Police officers tend to focus on enforcing laws, not changing or enacting them.

But at a meeting last week, Columbus officers Larry Geis and Scott Clinger, with help from Assistant City Attorney William D. Sperlazza, promoted campaigns to do both. The gathering for Block Watch coordinators from the Northland area was more about rallying the troops than relaying information.


Proposed changes

What Clinger and Geis are hoping to see is an amendment to state law making violent crime a component in declaring bars, restaurants, after-hours clubs, motels and other venues to be public nuisances.

They also are seeking support for passage of an ordinance granting city officials some say in licensing hotels and motels, currently a function solely of state government.

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