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House committee to hear first effort to repeal House Bill 6

Tyler Buchanan, Ohio Capital Journal

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In early 2019, then-Speaker of the House Larry Householder created a new legislative committee for the purpose of crafting a nuclear bailout bill.

In the wake of a bribery scandal involving that bill, the new Speaker of the House Bob Cupp has announced a new committee intent on getting it repealed.

The Lima Republican announced plans for a new “House Select Committee on Energy Policy and Oversight” to host its first meeting on Sept. 10.

The only item of business: A first hearing for House Bill 746, which seeks to repeal House Bill 6 “and revive prior law.”

HB 6 is at the center of an alleged criminal enterprise which has led to the arrest of Householder and four other political operatives on racketeering charges. Investigators allege Householder was involved in a $61 million bribery scheme to get the bailout bill passed and enacted into law for the purpose of benefiting the former FirstEnergy Solutions of Akron.

Lawmakers have called for a variety of legislative solutions ranging from repealing HB 6 entirely; repealing and replacing it through a more ethical and transparent process; or leaving the bill to stand as enacted.

In announcing the new select committee, Cupp said its members “will lead efforts to repeal and replace House Bill 6.”

He named 15 lawmakers to the committee: nine Republicans and six Democrats.

Five Republicans, including Chairman James Hoops of Napoleon, voted for HB 6 last year. Another committee member, Rep. Dick Stein of Norwalk, was a cosponsor on the legislation.

None of the Democrats on the committee voted for it.

Nearly all the committee members — 12 out of 15 in all — have received contributions from FirstEnergy at some point in their political careers, campaign finance data shows. Hoops’ campaign committee has received $5,000. The donations to committee members total more than $40,000.

The committee also includes two representatives which received campaign contributions from Householder in 2018: Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, whose committee received $10,000, and Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, whose committee received more than $25,000.

The Thursday meeting is scheduled to gavel in at 1 p.m. at the Ohio Statehouse.

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