COLUMBUS (AP) — Lawmakers in the Ohio House are preparing for the first committee hearing Thursday on efforts to repeal and replace a controversial bailout law that brought down their former speaker in the aftermath of a $60 million federal bribery probe.
The newly formed House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight will convene to hear a Republican-backed proposal on how to repeal House Bill 6 and revive the law it replaced.
House Speaker Bob Cupp created the committee earlier this month after his predecessor, fellow GOP Rep. Larry Householder, and four others were accused of shepherding energy company money for personal and political use as part of an effort to pass the legislation, then kill any attempt to repeal it at the ballot.
Householder, who was removed from his leadership post in a unanimous vote following his arrest, was one of the driving forces behind the disputed legislation, which added a fee to every electricity bill in the state and directed over $150 million a year, through 2026, to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.
The initial hearing will include sponsor testimony for House Bill 746, which was introduced by GOP Reps. Laura Lanese and Mark Romanchuk on July 23 — two days after the federal affidavit was released.
While introducing the bill, Lanese told reporters the bailout law must be repealed not only because it “was bad policy from the start, but because we need to reassure Ohioans that their representatives, Democrat or Republican, are truly working in their interest.”
The committee, led by GOP Rep. Jim Hoops, will comprise of nine Republicans and six Democrats.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.