Kasich, Statehouse Leaders Reflect On Busy Session

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Gov. John Kasich, flanked by Senate President Tom Niehaus (left) and House Speaker Bill Batchelder, addressed reporters and supporters Thursday about the end of the legislative session.(Photo: Jo Ingles, Ohio Public Radio)
Gov. John Kasich, flanked by Senate President Tom Niehaus (left) and House Speaker Bill Batchelder, addressed reporters and supporters Thursday about the end of the legislative session.(Photo: Jo Ingles, Ohio Public Radio)

Ohio Governor John Kasich says a lot of good things have been accomplished by the Republican dominated Ohio legislature during the past few months.

Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder has one word to describe the work that’s been accomplished by the GOP dominated house and senate during this session: incredible.

“I’ve been here, let me see now, for 19 sessions and this is without question the most meaningful, the most reform minded, the most enthused that I have seen the legislature in the legislative process,” Batchelder says.

“I think it has something to do with the man that is our Governor.”

Senate President Tom Niehaus added to the praise.

“It’s been a remarkable run the last 18 months.

“I am a little concerned when I hear the Governor say ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’ I’m not sure where we are going to go the last six weeks of the year.”

It’s clear the legislature and Governor Kasich have been successful in passing a lot of legislation into law. And some of it has been bipartisan.

Take, for example, the law that cracks down on human trafficking or the bill to reform the Cleveland schools….or the bill that makes it easier for former criminals to get a job.

Kasich says he’s exhilarated by the passage of those bills on a bipartisan basis.

“Public will never quite get it. You see it. It’s amazing. I mean to put the politics in last place and put the public in first place, it’s astounding.”

Kasich says the power of the ideas is so strong that the Democrats are supporting these bills. Indeed, some Democrats have been trying for years to get some bills similar to these passed in the legislature.

But there have been other bills, like the election reform bill repeal, the mid term budget and other legislation that hasn’t received bipartisan support.

When asked why Kasich only included Republican majority leaders at his news conference to talk about the last six months, the Governor admitted minority leaders had not been invited.

“You invite normally the speaker and the president of the senate and if that should happen to change, that will be who is at the next press conference.”

There has been at least one point on which Kasich and other GOP leaders have disagreed……a severance tax on oil companies that will be doing fracking in Ohio. Kasich wants it but many GOP lawmakers don’t because they view it as a tax increase.

Kasich says he’s not too disappointed about that.

“It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when and what it’s going to look like. I’ve had a number of offline conversations with industry. They understand this has to happen. The speaker and the president have said look, we have to take a good hard look at this.

“I think with the Ernst and Young report which still puts us at the bottom of the heap in tax policy, I think is good. Sometimes you have to give them space. I do push hard….but once in a while, they will call me up and say ‘…could you just give us some time on this?”

Members of the legislature are poised for time off…..they are wrapping up business and won’t be back until after the November election.

And many people who watch the Statehouse with interest think that lame duck session in November and December will be a time when a lot of controversial legislation will be passed into law.

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