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Darrel Rowland The Columbus Dispatch
Republican leadership is blocking our numerous attempts to repeal HB 6. There are 58 cosponsors of two repeal bills, more than enough for passage.” Leland said.”Republican leadership should stop protecting HB 6 — we need to show that Ohio is not for sale.”David Leland
With Ohioans confronted by the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and the continuing presence of House Bill 6, Democratic House members expressed their frustration Tuesday in what they view as inaction by their GOP counterparts who control state government.
“To stand by and do nothing when so many are suffering is dereliction of duty. To call us back into session for the first time in over a month and not put a single bill on the agenda that helps everyday Ohioans is disgraceful,” said Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, D-Akron.
Sykes was referring to the abrupt end to a House session this month ordered by new Speaker Bob Cupp after Democrats kept pushing measures to repeal HB 6, the $1.3 billion bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants now at the center of what fedeal authorities say is a $60 million racketeering scheme.
“Republicans in charge are failing us when our state needs us the most,” Sykes said.
A request for a response from a GOP House spokeswoman went unanswered.
The Zoom press conference was held on a day when the House had scheduled a possible session, but it was canceled.
“I am very concerned about the direction of our state, and I am frustrated by the inaction of the Ohio General Assembly,” said Upper Arlington Rep. Allison Russo.
She said instead of concentrating of measures to help hurting Ohioans, the GOP majority seems more concerned about stripping the power of the state health director in an emergency. Russo said the Republicans’ pressure, as well as constant pushing by President Donald Trump, persuaded Gov. Mike DeWine to abandon the advice from former Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.
“We saw a push to reopen before the experts said that it was safe,” Russo said. “Republican politicians thought they knew more than the public health experts.”
The result was a return of coronavirus cases in Ohio and many places across the nation.
“We are seeing this pandemic politicized and weaponized,” Russo said. “Politics should never outweigh our public health.”
She said the difference is evident by simply watching a House session. Virtually all House Democratic members wear masks. Most Republicans do not.
“You cannot claim to be pro-life but tolerate COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations. Wearing a face co an respect a six-foot distance is the least we can do for our fellow Ohioans,” Russo said.
Rep. David Leland of Columbus wondered whether GOP lawmakers really want the nuclear bailout to stand despite statements otherwise.
“Republican leadership is blocking our numerous attempts to repeal HB 6. There are 58 cosponsors of two repeal bills, more than enough for passage.” Leland said.
“Republican leadership should stop protecting HB 6 — we need to show that Ohio is not for sale.”