Columbus—Today, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus sent the following letter to Governor John R. Kasich, calling on him to veto the five bills the caucus views as the most inconsistent with the needs of Ohioans.
Dear Governor Kasich:
We, the Senate Democratic Caucus, write to strongly urge you to veto several pieces of misguided legislation passed during lame duck session. These are not the only bills our caucus opposed; they are the ones we find to be the most inconsistent with the needs of a diverse state with a complex economy. Each of these bills takes an extreme view on a critical issue facing Ohioans and seeks to codify a minority opinion into state law. Several of them are so severe that Republican legislators in both chambers broke from their caucuses to vote in opposition.
Senate Bill 329
S.B. 329 represents an unprecedented power grab by a single branch of state government. It undermines basic checks and balances that are fundamental to our governing system. Under this legislation, a small group of legislators could use entire state agencies as bargaining chips, throwing the business community and everyday government functions into a constant state of uncertainty.
This law would place crucial departments at risk of death through inaction. Heated debates over the need for each department and their respective services would result in gridlock similar to that which has immobilized Congress. There is legitimate concern that legislators will fail to renew vital agencies each time they are up for review. Please veto this dangerous legislation.
House Bill 493 and Senate Bill 127
S.B. 127 and the 6-week abortion ban provisions within H.B. 493 have repeatedly been found to be unconstitutional violations of personal privacy. The provisions within these bills are so radical that they punish rape survivors and threaten the lives of pregnant women with incredibly restrictive exceptions to save the life of the mother. Senate President Keith Faber himself has acknowledged that “not a single court in the land” has upheld the 6-week ban due to its blatant conflict with long held Supreme Court precedent.
In addition, you recently warned that Ohio is on the verge of recession. Our state simply cannot afford to squander hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in legal fees to defend these unconstitutional laws all the way to the US Supreme Court. We request a line item veto of the abortion provisions in H.B. 493 and a veto of S.B. 127 in its entirety.
Senate Bill 331
In a stunning demonstration of legislative overreach, portions of S.B. 331 would take basic rights and freedoms away from Ohio municipalities and harm workers around the state. Local governments and voters know best what their communities require for success. Further, the needs of employers and employees differ substantially from Cleveland to Chillicothe to Carrollton.
Ohioans of all political persuasions support efficient government and greater local control. S.B. 331, however, represents a significant power grab by state government and specifically the legislative branch. All provisions removing local control from Ohio communities should be removed from S.B. 331 through a line item veto.
House Bill 554
If the freeze on energy mandates remains in place, Ohio will fall even further behind other states in economic growth. Every year, thousands of good paying jobs and dozens of innovative companies choose to settle in states that have embraced a diverse energy portfolio. Ohio cannot afford to miss these opportunities any longer. Continuing the freeze tells the business community that we are unwilling to foster opportunities for growth or innovation. This is the wrong message to send, and the results will be harmful to our economy. Ohio needs an energy solution that allows us to compete for quality, high-paying jobs for our citizens. We strongly urge a veto of the misguided H.B. 554.
Each of these bills would have long-term, negative consequences on the health and economic wellbeing of our state. They contain troubling policies that frighten entrepreneurs and the business community and raise serious concerns about government intrusion into the lives of everyday Americans. We ask that you stand with the majority of Ohioans in rejecting the extreme views exemplified by this legislation.
As you recently stated on the Senate floor, “the strength of our country is bottom up,” and “in our jobs, we have an ability to help lift people.” You have a chance now to rise above politics and lift Ohioans up. Please veto these bills to protect personal freedoms, protect the separation of powers and local control, and bring good paying jobs to our state.
We appreciate your consideration as we work together to build the strongest living and working environment possible for the people of the great state of Ohio.