Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) sent a letter to Speaker Batchelder today raising concerns over Ohio Housing Study Committee appointments. House Bill 153, enacted last summer, included the formation of a task force to review the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The task force is to include two members from each chamber appointed by the Speaker and Senate President, and tradition in similar situations has been to appoint one member from each party. Speaker Batchelder appointed Reps. Cheryl Grossman and Peter Beck, both Republicans. While Senate President Niehaus appointed one Democrat Sen. Mike Skindell, and one Republican Sen. Tim Schaffer.
“I am deeply disappointed in the Speaker’s decision to insert partisan politics into the review of a well respected non-partisan and non-political agency,” said Leader Budish. “I hope this is an unintentional oversight that we can remedy quickly.”
A copy of Leader Budish’s letter to Speaker Batchelder can be seen below.
Dear Speaker Batchelder,
With the Ohio Housing Study Committee set to begin its work this week to review the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, it has come to my attention that there is no Democratic representation on the Committee from the House. As required in HB 153 enacted last summer, the Committee must include two members from each chamber of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Speaker and Senate President. It was expected, both in the tradition of this institution and in the spirit of bi-partisanship, that one member from each party would be appointed to the Committee from both the House and Senate.
While President Niehaus has recognized the importance of providing bi-partisan balance on the Committee, I am disappointed to learn that you have instead chosen to appoint two members of your own caucus to the Committee, making the partisan legislative membership of the Committee 3 to 1 in favor of Republicans. Given that the Committee is set to review an agency that has a board consisting of members appointed from both political parties, and the agency is widely viewed as a non-partisan and non-political entity, I am deeply concerned by your decision to tilt the legislative membership of the Committee toward a single political party. It is my hope that this is simply an unintentional oversight on your part and not an indication of an attempt to bias the Committee’s work and findings.
Therefore, I ask that you reconsider your selection of House members and choose instead to appoint a member of the House Democratic Caucus. I am happy to provide you with the name of a Democratic member who is willing and eager to serve on this important task force, and I look forward to working with you to remedy this oversight before the Committee begins its work tomorrow.
8th House District