This morning, I called the office of Chairman of the House State Government Committee to ask what I needed to do so that I could offer opponent testimony to House Bill 1, Governor Kasich’s JobsOhio initiative.
The gentleman I talked to was very polite, professional, and respectful, but this is what I was told:
I needed to have 50 copies of my prepared testimony and be there today as the committee is scheduled to begin its second day of testimony at 11:00 this morning. I asked that since I just saw a draft of the bill last night and didn’t have time to prepare my written remarks if there would be another day of testimony in which I could testify. Say, tomorrow, perhaps?
I was told that they are not likely to hear any testimony after today and that the committee may vote it out of committee either today or tomorrow.
In short, I have been effectively denied any opportunity to seek redress to my elected legislature and be heard on matters of important public policy because the House Republicans have set this thing on such an aggressive timetable, they cannot possibly claim they fully appreciate what they are passing.
In 2010, Republicans both at the state level in Ohio and nationally claimed that the health care reform bill was “railroaded” through the Congress, even though the debate last a year and featured multiple hearing in multiple legislative committees.
The House is set to privatize the distribution of $1 billion in state taxpayer economic development funds after the actual language of the legislation was only revealed this week.
This bill sets sorts all kinds of unintended consequences with serious transparency and ethical considerations. I guarantee you that my four-part series last night only scratched the surface.
And what do we hear from the media in response to the most radical rolling back of ethics and transparency laws in Ohio history? From the Columbus Dispatch today, we hear thunderous applause.
“The people have the right . . . to instruct their representatives; and to petition the general assembly for the redress of grievances.”—Article I, Sec. 3 of the Ohio Constitution.
I will not sit idly by and have my Government decide that it knows best if it could just work in private with the rich and politically powerful in dividing up the corporate welfare pie. When government has worked in private with the wealthiest and most powerful among us, it has never turned out well… except for the rich and the powerful.
If the House cannot find the time to hear my concerns, even my constructive criticisms on how to make JobsOhio better, then I guess I must wait for Senate.