A Republican state lawmaker, in his final term in the Ohio House, tried one last time this week to convince his fellow legislators to end lame duck sessions.
Rep. Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), who could not run for reelection because of term limits, urged the Ohio House’s State Government Committee to move HB 577, which would prohibit the general assembly from holding session after even-year general elections.
“In my time serving in the House, I have come to respect our committee process,” Boose said in testimony. “I feel that during the lame duck session, legislation is often rushed and does not promptly go through the committee process. Also, as elected officials, we need to be held accountable for our actions, so we should be voting on legislation before the election, not after.”
Boose has spoken out against lame duck sessions and hastily moved bills from the floor of the House in the past. His new bill would prohibit future even-year lame duck sessions “except under extraordinary circumstances to protect the public’s health and safety,” according to an analysis by the state’s Legislative Service Commission.
Three other conservative members of the chamber signed onto the legislation as co-sponsors.
In testimony, Boose said he found only seven other states that have lame duck sessions.
“Also, in the past, some general assemblies’ sessions ended in June before the elections; they did not meet again until the beginning of the new general assembly,” he said.
The first (and likely final) hearing on HB 577 came during this session’s lame duck period, with dozens of bills being considered and likely moved before lawmakers end their work for the year. This list includes a number of hot-button topics — concealed carry firearms law changes, unemployment compensation reform, much-debated energy standards and abortion restrictions among them.
“I wish I was going to be here in January to reintroduce [this legislation],” Boose said. “I think now is the time for people to truly think about lame duck and what it is doing and how it affects the process.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.