State Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) may well have promised everything under the sun, plus some, to Ohio House members this spring. Those promises were made in conjunction with Smith’s efforts to cobble together enough votes to finish the term of Cliff Rosenberger as Speaker. Smith was elected with 44 votes after a history-making 11 voice votes on the floor of the Ohio House.
Multiple statehouse sources told The Ohio Star then that a handful of house conservatives demanded and received assurances from Smith that he would schedule full floor votes on long-stalled conservative initiatives during the lame duck session in exchange for their support. But now Smith is backing off on those promises after the election of Mike DeWine as governor.
Smith, along with these handful of House conservatives, didn’t think that DeWine would ever be elected governor. They calculated that Democrat Richard Cordray would be elected and they would utilize the lame duck session to push conservative causes without any political harm. These bills wouldn’t likely pass the Ohio Senate or escape Governor Kasich’s veto but would serve to place more moderate house members on the record for use in future primaries.
According to The Ohio Star‘s statehouse sources, Smith is now backing off on those promises because DeWine, not Cordray, was elected. Smith believes that these votes may anger or embarrass the governor-elect right before he takes office. At the same time, Smith still wants those conservative members of the Ohio House to support him for Speaker even though he now has nothing to offer in return.
During the lame duck session, some conservatives wanted to see long wished for votes on Right to Work legislation. This same group also wants votes on reforming prevailing wages and project labor agreements. Additionally, conservatives want votes on the Heartbeat Bill, which was previously vetoed by Governor Kasich in 2016.
The Ohio Star will continue to follow this story.
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