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AG Says House Needs Law To Remove Speaker, Not Just Majority Vote

Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) is congratulated after his election as Speaker of the Ohio House in January 2019.
Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) is congratulated after his election as Speaker of the Ohio House in January 2019.

With a vote set to remove House Speaker Larry Householder tomorrow morning and just two candidates in the race to replace him, there’s apparently a disagreement among Republicans on how that can happen.

Late Wednesday, three of the Republican representatives who had said they would like to succeed Householder - Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and Tim Ginter (R-Salem) - announced they were dropping their bids and throwing their support behind Bob Cupp (R-Lima). That leaves just Cupp and Jim Butler (R-Oakwood), the speaker pro tem.

House Republicans say their rules indicate a simple majority of 50 votes can remove Householder as speaker, though the motion to remove Householder will be one that all members can speak to and vote on.

But in a memo obtained by the Statehouse News Bureau, Attorney General Dave Yost said while the federal allegations against Householder have him – using his word – 'aghast', he says the constitution requires a speaker’s removal with a law the House and Senate must pass and the governor must sign.

And Yost said it’s unclear whether the House can be called into session unless the speaker does it, which he tweeted about a few days ago.  Yost said Gov. Mike DeWine has the authority to do that, which he has said he will do if necessary.

Yost and DeWine both called on Householder to resign soon after his arrest. 

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.