Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) vetoed a bill Friday that would expand benefits for widows and children of deceased first responders because it also included legislative pay raises.
According to The Dayton Daily News, Senate Bill 296 included a provision that would increase pay for lawmakers by 4 percent in 2020, 3 percent in 2021, and then 1.75 percent each subsequent year until 2028. That provision, however, was tacked on at the list minute, and provided Kasich with reason to veto the legislation.
The main intention of the bill was to increase benefits for families of first responders killed while on duty, which could be passed again next session and signed into law by Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-OH).
“I would have signed such a bill into law,” Kasich told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Unfortunately, I cannot support or condone the last-minute rush to include a controversial pay raise for elected officials into what was an otherwise commendable bill.”
State Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) believes Kasich vetoed the bill out of frustration with the General Assembly for failing to pass a “red flag” law.
“What I find ironic is there have been a heck of a lot of lawmakers doing work while he has been gallivanting around the country and missing in action,” Hottinger told The Enquirer.
Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) pointed out that state legislators haven’t received a pay raise in nearly ten years, and recalled that Kasich supported raises in 2011.
“It has been nearly a generation since the General Assembly last voted on compensation increases for legislators and non-judicial statewide officials—many of whom, unlike the governor, are not independently wealthy and are not in anticipation, as he is, of landing a seven figure salary as a TV talk show commentator,” Seitz told The Enquirer.
Jay McDonald, former president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, told The Dayton Daily News that it’s “unfortunate that [Kasich] couldn’t allow this bill to become law.”
“We’re going to work hard to get it overridden,” he said. “The fallen officers and their families deserve better than this and we need to remember them, especially this time of year.”
Ohio lawmakers are expected to return to Columbus on December 27 to consider a number of Kasich’s vetoes.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “John Kasich” by Michael Vadon. CC BY-SA 2.0.