Members of the House Democratic Caucus said there is a critical need for transparency and accountability in state government in a press conference.
Reps. Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) and Nick Barborak (D-Lisbon) announced the introduction of new legislation, while Reps. John Carney (D-Columbus) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) bemoaned the fact that their legislation related to transparency has yet to receive a committee hearing.
Regarding the JobsOhio Accountability Act, Carney said, “We have never even received a response from the Republicans in the Legislature or Gov. Kasich. Economic growth and stability can’t happen with a dysfunctional and unaccountable state government. This must change.”
Rep. Barborak said he will introduce the Corporate Tax Credit Disclosure Act, which will require the state to show the value of tax incentives awarded to private companies.
“No one in Columbus should be able to arbitrarily decide to hide the amount or the value of tax dollars given away to corporations or anyone else,” he said.
Rep. Pillich will introduce the Watchdog Independence Initiative, which will change the appointing process for the Ohio Ethics Commission (OEC) and the inspector general (IG). Those members would no longer be chosen by the governor, but would be selected by the four legislative leaders. The bill also prohibits participation in partisan political activity for anyone interested in these positions for two years leading up to and during their tenure. It also increases the term of the IG to six years.
Rep. Pillich said three out of the five members of the OEC, as well as IG Randy Meyer, have been involved in raising money for Gov. Kasich.
Rep. Ramos said his HB262, which would allow the Ohio Government Telecommunications service to broadcast and archive online all committee hearings in the House, “is one of the easiest ways to support transparency in state government.”