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Government & Politics

After Weeks of Delays, the Ohio House Takes a Breather

photo of Speaker Ryan Smith
Newly-elected Speaker Ryan Smith says the House needs to take a "deep breath" before getting back to work.

After seven weeks of not voting, the Ohio House passed 17 bills and agreed with the Senate on 11 more in a single afternoon this week. It was the first session since former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger stepped down in mid April amid an FBI investigation. The House won’t be holding voting sessions next week.

When newly elected Speaker Ryan Smith talked to reporters after the House’s first voting session since mid April, he was all smiles.

“It’s good to be back to work,” he said.

So why, then, is the House taking a week off again now?

“I think we are just trying to take a deep breath and get some inventory on where we are at. Give us a little bit of runway from here to the end of the month so we can get some things done that are in the hopper,” Smith said.

In its first day back, lawmakers passed a bill that was expected to be contentious – the payday lending crackdown. But it was approved overwhelmingly.

However, there are more than a hundred other bills waiting for a vote. Smith says he wants lawmakers to focus on the legislation to figure out which bills should move forward.

Take broadband for example. There are two bills to expand it.

“I’m going to have some discussions with the Senate president and those are on the list. Certainly, we’d like to see some progress made," he said.

Smith is also taking a look at a Senate-passed bill that would give the state auditor more of a role in audits of the state’s publicly funded by privately run development non-profit, Jobs Ohio.