Jerry Springer dies, Ohio House passes budget
Divisions in the Ohio House bubbled back to the surface as the chamber passed the budget this week. The state’s former governors united in opposition to an August special election, and Jerry Springer, an Ohio politician turned television icon, died.
We break down what it all means In this week’s episode of Ohio Politics Explained. A podcast created by the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau to catch you up on the state’s political news in 15 minutes or less.
This week, host Anna Staver was joined by statehouse bureau chief Anthony Shoemaker.
1) House passes a budget
Income tax cuts, a ban on TikTok for government devices, more school vouchers, and more school funding were all part of the two-year budget passed by the Ohio House 78 to 19 on Wednesday.
The bipartisan plan to spend $88 billion in state dollars over the next two years also included a change in how children are taught to read, a study on moving the Ohio State Fairgrounds out of Columbus and a commission tasked with investigating the future of gambling as more play moves online.
But the day wasn’t without drama. Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, ignored several conservative lawmakers, as they tried and failed to add last-minute amendments to the budget.
“The question here isn’t if you support the backpack bill. The question is a member going to be allowed to speak to the budget,” Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Township, said. “What are we afraid of? Don’t we want to have debate?”
2) Death of Jerry Springer
Jerry Springer, the former mayor of Cincinnati who launched one of the best political comeback campaigns in state history, died this week at age 79.
Springer, who is most well known for his controversial daytime television talk show, had a promising political career in Ohio before he admitted to sleeping with a prostitute. Springer resigned from office in 1974 but won his seat back in 1975. Then, he became Cincinnati’s mayor in 1977 and made an unsuccessful run at the governor’s mansion in 1982.
3) In a rush
A USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau analysis of state lawmaker driving records found that lawmakers don’t always follow the rules.
Three Ohio lawmakers racked up more than 10 traffic tickets over the past decade, and the worst offender in both chambers was Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg. He’s had 14 traffic convictions since 2013.
When asked about his record, Antani sent a written statement: “I’ve been told I’m a young man in a hurry. With the issues we face, we need someone who’s in a hurry to fix them. However, I do regret and apologize for speeding and will do better in the future.”
4) Former Ohio governors unite against August election
Former governors Ted Strickland, John Kasich, Richard Celeste and Bob Taft all think calling a statewide special election in August is a bad idea.
Republicans in Ohio’s House and Senate are pushing to ask voters whether they want to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution in August. If passed, it would raise the bar from 50% plus one vote to 60% voter approval for all future changes.
Opponents say August elections are low turnout and high cost, so the state eliminated them less than a year ago. They suspect the only reason Republicans want to call this election in August is because it looks like an abortion amendment will be on the ballot in November.
Listen to “Ohio Politics Explained” on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio. The episode is also available by clicking the link in this article.
The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau serves The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.