Editorial: HB 6 came from corruption; repeal should be simple
It is frustrating but not surprising that nearly a month after multiple bills to repeal House Bill 6 were introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, little progress has been made.
At first, after spectacular allegations about the bill’s origin were revealed by the U.S. District Attorney on July 21, the Statehouse was seemingly full of people eager to claw back the tainted bill. The charges are that former House Speaker Larry Householder conspired with political associates and an electric utility to illegally funnel massive secret contributions from the utility through a PAC, using the money to ensure Householder would be elected speaker and that HB 6 would pass.
The arrest of Householder and three others on federal racketeering counts led Republicans in the House to remove him as speaker and for several to urge him to resign.
Yet multiple repeal bills are moving slowly if at all. When House Democrats planned to force the issue by attaching repeal amendments to several unrelated bills, House Speaker Bob Cupp on Tuesday abruptly adjourned the session so that Republicans wouldn’t be forced to go on record as voting against repeal.
Cupp called the Democrat-offered amendments “reckless and hasty,” but the Republican response feels a lot like stalling. Sen. Steve Wilson, R-Maineville, chairman of the Energy & Public Utilities Committee, said Tuesday he plans a full slate of hearings on the bipartisan repeal bill in that chamber.
It needn’t be this complicated. The reason repeal is even being considered — the bill’s corrupt origins — is simple and won't change. Lawmakers needn’t re-debate the merits of HB 6; that can be done when they revisit the issue after repeal — this time without the disinformation and political pressure that $60 million paid for the last time around.
Our view remains that the bill was supremely bad policy: a dubious bailout of two nuclear power plants and the unconscionable sabotage of Ohio’s already-weak support and incentives for clean alternative energy. It would have been a bad bill without the corruption.
As it is, lawmakers should erase it from the books. With any luck, better energy policy for Ohio might follow.