State Representative Larry Householder, the former powerful house speaker, was voted out of office by his colleagues nearly a year since he was charged in a federal bribery investigation into the passage of House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout bill that touches on all kind of other energy policy in the state.
The Ohio House last expelled one of its own back in 1857-when Democrat John Slough punched Republican Darius Caldwell on the floor of the chamber. House members in that century decided that the incident met the definition of disorderly conduct needed for removal. Present day lawmakers debated whether the federal indictment Householder faces met that "disorderly conduct" definition.
Householder said he was hired by voters in his district, not his colleagues. Those voters re-elected him in November, after his indictment. He ran unopposed.
The bi-partisan expulsion vote, 75 to 21, met the two-thirds threshold to dispatch Householder, who warned that enemies who didn't like public official Householder will like private citizen Householder even less.
With Frank Jackson leaving after 16 years as Cleveland mayor, the field of candidates to replace him is now set. Eight candidates filed petitions with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections this week. They include former mayor, U.S. representative, presidential and gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, State Senator Sandra Williams and former Cleveland Council member Zach Reed. There were relative newcomers as well: Councilman Basheer Jones, Justin Bibb and Attorney Ross DiBello. In addition, the sole Republican seeking the office: Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Deputy Landry Simmons. Jr.
Lawmakers have about two weeks to hammer out a compromise budget after the house and senate passed their own versions.
We are finding many items in the budget proposals, some offered in the form of amendments that normally would be independent bills that would get public scrutiny and debate. Instead, they are just quietly folded in to the huge two-year budget bill. One amendment in the senate's bill would require an "asset test" for those who get supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, commonly referred to as food stamps. The "test" would evaluate a recipient's net worth to determine whether they are eligible for help. Among the assets, a vehicle worth more than $4650.
The Senate budget proposal also contains a measure that seeks to ban municipal broadband programs. If passed, opponents warn that all municipal broadband programs would close and others would be prevented from starting up. They see it as protecting monopolies by current providers. The Senate proposal would prohibit municipal programs from operating if a private sector company is also in the area---which opponents say is usually the case.
Nick Castele, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Gabriel Kramer, Multiple Media Journalist, Ideastream Public Media
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV