One Ohio Republican takes another chance on finding gun reforms his party will accept. President Joe Biden announced a visit and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted reacted to text messages about his efforts to pass a nuclear bailout.
We break down what it all means on this week’s episode of Ohio Politics Explained.
It’s a podcast from the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau where we catch you up on the state’s political news in 15 minutes or less. This week, host Anna Staver was joined by reporter Jessie Balmert.
1) The hottest ticket in town
Everyone who is anyone is planning to attend a ceremonial groundbreaking for Intel’s $20 billion factories in New Albany.
President Joe Biden announced his travel plans this week even though an official date hasn’t been set. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also plan on attending.
Intel chose central Ohio for its computer chip manufacturing facilities earlier this year. The company says the two factories will employ 3,000 people who can earn $135,000 per year.
2) Try, try again
Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, introduced a bill this week that would give judges the authority to remove firearms from people under court orders for mental illness.
“We have to change the conversation as it relates to public safety,” Dolan said. “This bill protects Second Amendment rights, but we have people who are unfit to own a gun and have expressed violence.”
It’s the second time the Northeast Ohio Republican has tried to pass a gun reform measure. Dolan carried DeWine’s STRONG Ohio legislation after the mass shooting in Dayton in 2019. That package of reforms received three committee hearings and zero votes.
Dolan said he’s optimistic this new piece of legislation will be more successful.
3) Support for the bailouts
DeWine and Husted responded to questions this week about how involved they were in lobbying for two nuclear power plants after text messages appeared to show them advocating for specific details in the legislation.
“There were a lot of people of goodwill” trying to save those nuclear plants, Husted said. “That’s separate from what FirstEnergy and Larry Householder are alleged to do.”
Federal prosecutors allege that Householder and four other men accepted $60 million in bribes from FirstEnergy in exchange for passing a bailout for those nuclear plants. FirstEnergy has admitted that the money was a bribe as well as a $4.3 million payment Ohio’s top utility regulator .
Householder maintains his innocence and is scheduled to go on trial in January.
4) Appealing to a higher power
Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, wants to ask the U.S. Supreme Court whether the justices here in Ohio overstepped when they rejected two sets of Congressional maps.
“Can they order the Legislature to meet and pass bills with certain requirements and all of that? Can they order the Redistricting Commission to meet and make a decision, pass legislation in effect based on what they say needs to be in it?” Huffman said. “Clearly, the answer to that is no.”
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