Despite new legislation HB 6 still needs to go
We were pleased to see House Bill 128’s passage in Columbus, a bill that includes language to repeal parts of the controversial nuclear bailout bill that added fees to all Ohioans’ electric bills.
HB 128 passed the Ohio House last Thursday by a vote of 89-0. It passed the Ohio Senate Wednesday by a vote of 33-0. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
The legislation is similar to two bills previously approved by the Ohio Senate–Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Senator Mark Romachuk (R-Ontario), and Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Senators Michael Rulli (R-Salem) and Jerry C. Cirino (R-Kirtland).
The bill removes the nuclear subsidy enacted in House Bill 6, lowering utility rates and saving $1 billion for Ohioans over the next seven years, while protecting the thousands of people employed by the zero emission nuclear facilities in Ohio.
“Last General Assembly, I, and my constituents, had serious concerns about the provisions included in House Bill 6, which is why I voted no on that legislation,” said Rulli. “I am proud to once again join my colleagues in voting to save money for ratepayers, protect Ohio jobs, and provide a clear path forward.”
Indeed, the bill saves money for ratepayers, and that’s good news. But we believe more still needs to be done.
As you will recall, the nuclear bailout bill, or HB 6, that passed last year was at the center of, if proven, the largest public racketeering and bribery scheme in Ohio history.
In July 2020, federal authorities arrested former state House Speaker Larry Householder and four of his associates. They were accused of being involved in a $60 million bribery scheme allegedly utilized to ensure passage of a bill to bail out two nuclear plants near Cleveland and Toledo.
The bill called for Ohio consumers to pay surcharges totaling $150 million each year through 2026 to keep the nuclear plants afloat.
HB 128 stops short of complete repeal of HB 6. That’s something we have been calling for since the criminal allegations came to light. In fact, we were opposed to HB 6 before it even passed and became law.
We believe the repeal still needs to happen. Such action, of course, would not preclude Ohio’s lawmakers from heading back to the drawing board to debate whether bailouts of Ohio’s nuclear plants should occur.
But for now, we know HB 6 passed with manipulation and, if proven, improper influence through illegal acts. The only way to correct this is to repeal it in its entirety.