Bill Seitz

photo of Ohio Statehouse
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

The House has voted on a plan to move the start of the EdChoice application process ahead to April 1, just hours before the private school voucher program is supposed to start accepting applications on Saturday. Now, it goes to the Senate Friday morning.

Photo of Joe Biden
MATT RICHMOND / WCPN

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, June 3:

Ohio Statehouse
Statehouse News Bureau

In between campaigning and legislating, state lawmakers also found themselves in the middle of some high profile drama and scandal in 2018.  

News that the Speaker of the Ohio House might be under investigation by the FBI for international travel with payday lenders broke in early April. Within a week, Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) resigned, though he said in a statement his actions have been both ethical and lawful. Speaker Pro Tem Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) said Rosenberger put the state and the chamber ahead of himself.

Ohio House

A veteran conservative lawmaker wants a raise – and wants his elected colleagues at the local, county and state levels to get one too.  He says it’s urgent that the idea moves forward right away.

Republican Rep. Bill Seitz says statewide, county and local elected officials and state lawmakers haven’t had a raise in 11 years. His idea is to give them a 75 percent cost of living adjustment – or COLA.

“So it’s not even cost of living. It’s ‘diet COLA’.”

photo of Bill Seitz
OGT

Two Democratic women state representatives have asked Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine to reopen an investigation into comments made by the Majority Floor Leader at a going-away party in January.

They’re concerned not only about the alleged conduct of Rep. Bill Seitz, but with a previous investigation that cleared him of wrongdoing.

photo of Ohio Legislature
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House has passed a controversial payday-loan bill meant to close loopholes those lenders use to charge high interest rates. The vote occured as a reported probe into activities involving the former Speaker and payday lending lobbyists continues.

Republican Kyle Koehler says passage of the bill will help many Ohioans who tell him the interest they pay on their payday loans is so high that they can’t afford basics like groceries.

Photo of Perales
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Another state representative is being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.

Republican Rep. Rick Perales is being accused of an inappropriate relationship with constituent Jocelyn Smith, who says Perales choked and kissed her against her will three years ago. Smith is now running against Perales in the primary.

photo of Kathleen Clyde, Michelle Lapor-Hagan, Teresa Fedor and Nickie Antonio
SHANE WALKER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Four Democratic women in the Ohio Legislature are calling on the head of the Ohio House to take action against a key Republican lawmaker for derogatory comments he recently made at a going away party for a former staffer.

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger says Rep. Bill Seitz has admitted he shouldn’t have mocked some women lawmakers.

“He’s apologized for it.”

Rosenberger wants a bipartisan focus group to take on the broader subject of sexual harassment “to make sure we are listening and hearing it out.”

A longtime state representative is formally apologizing for comments he made at a going away party earlier this week – comments that had other lawmakers fuming and calling for an investigation. 

Republican Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati says in a letter to House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and members of the Ohio House that he has “deep regret and remorse” for comments made at the going-away party and roast for the Republican caucus’ chief of staff.

Nickie Antonio
ANDY CHOW / STATE OF OHIO

Two Republican state lawmakers have issued apologies for disparaging remarks they made earlier this week at a roast for a departing employee. But some lawmakers are demanding more than apologies. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports they want a change in the culture they say is prevalent in Ohio's statehouse.

Statehouse News Bureau

Lawmakers in the Statehouse are landing on different sides of a debate over the criminal records of human trafficking victims. The argument is over what measures the state should take to conceal and even wipe out those records.

How the bill will help
Niki Clum is with the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. She’s arguing in front of a House committee for a bill that would burn the criminal pasts of people who committed those offenses while they were victims of human trafficking.

photo of American Fireworks
AMERICAN FIREWORKS

An Ohio House bill with bi-partisan support could make igniting some fireworks at home legal by the year 2020, and lift the moratorium on licenses for manufacturers.

Since the summer of 2001, Ohio has had a moratorium on new licenses to make or wholesale fireworks. Cincinnati-area Republican Rep. Bill Seitz wants the moratorium lifted, saying it’s insulated the existing fireworks companies in the state.

Bill Seitz
OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Ohio lawmakers have tabled a plan to add a fee to the electric bills of FirstEnergy customers to help pay for the utility’s unprofitable nuclear plants.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports that a key legislator is floating an alternative solution.

FirstEnergy says it needs the $300 million per year generated by a customer fee it's proposing to keep its two Ohio nuclear plants operating, Davis-Besse near Toledo and Perry east of Cleveland. 

photo of Bill Seitz
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Senate is now considering a proposal that would ban undocumented workers from receiving workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job.

The measure passed the House but not without a heated debate between two fiery lawmakers.

Democratic Repr. Dan Ramos of Lorain argued that stripping workers’ comp benefits from undocumented workers would encourage bad-employer practices.

wind turbines
WKSU

A bill to change the state’s green energy benchmarks on electric utilities from requirements to goals is halfway through the Statehouse. But as in spite of the overwhelming vote in the House, the bill faces an uncertain future.

photo of wind turbine
IBERDROLA RENEWABLES

House Republicans are sending a message to Gov. John Kasich by moving a bill that would effectively kill green-energy standards in Ohio. This is similar to a bill Kasich vetoed last year and he isn’t afraid to use that veto pen again.

photo of Bill Seitz
OHIO SENATE

Ohio’s new medical marijuana law is set to go into effect in September but questions are being raised about its constitutionality.

Republican state Senator Bill Seitz says part of the new law specifies minorities fill a certain number of slots in growing and processing marijuana that would be used for medicinal use.

He questions the constitutionality of that practice.

“We don’t have strict quotas on doctor licenses, lawyer licenses or engineer licenses so I guess some would question why are we having that as applied to marijuana licenses?” he said.

KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a bill that would have required voters to post a cash bond if they want a court to order polling places to stay open late on Election Day. 

Earlier in the week, Kasich said he was considering S.B. 296. He said he agreed it was important to make sure a judge’s decision to keep polls open late was based on a real problem.

photo of voters
OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

During the Ohio primary in March, a federal judge ordered some Hamilton County precincts to stay open late. In recent years, there have been several situations like that throughout the state. But a new bill at the Statehouse would make it harder to do that. 

Republican Sen. Bill Seitz’s bill would demand anyone trying to keep the polls open late to go to court and put up a cash bond. And if the precinct is ordered to stay open, only those who have filed the legal action would be able to vote.

photo of Blue Creek Wind Farm turbine
IBERDOLA RENWABLES

State lawmakers are coming up on a deadline on whether to change the law on green energy and renewable standards for utilities, or to leave it alone and let those standards go back into effect. 

A law passed in 2014 froze those renewable energy requirements for power companies for a two year period, expiring this year.  A bill from Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati would stop what he calls those “mandates” from taking effect another three years.