Inappropriately buried on page 1,497 of Ohio’s current 5,599-page “budget” bill monstrosity you’ll find the insider republicans’ latest effort to bitch slap the people they were elected to represent.
The hidden provision in HB33, if passed by the Ohio Senate—it’s already been approved by the House of “Representatives”—would provide a vehicle for the party establishment to hijack citizens’ representation at the precinct level of county party governance. Basically, the scheme would allow political insiders to assign flunkies from outside a voting precinct to represent republicans in that precinct on their county GOP Central Committees.
(What’s a Central Committee. Find out here.)
Under current Ohio law, and under the Cuyahoga County GOP bylaws, Central Committee vacancies within a voting precinct must be filled by somebody from that precinct. Section 3517.02 of HB33 would allow county central committees to adopt a bylaw to instead allow them to appoint anybody from the city in which the precinct is located to fill the vacancy.
For example, the GOP committee representative position for Strongsville Precinct 3B is currently vacant. Under the current law, that vacancy must be filled with a resident of Precinct 3B. Under the proposed bylaw change, the GOP party leadership could instead appoint anybody from anywhere in Strongsville to fill that vacancy. That way, republicans in Precinct 3B could be represented on the Central Committee by somebody who lives in Precinct 2A. In fact, insiders could recruit nine people, all from Precinct 2A, to fill the rest of the city’s vacancies.
Cuyahoga County contains about 975 precincts. Almost 60% have vacancies on the GOP Central Committee—44% if you exclude Cleveland, which has 86% vacancies. That means political insiders could dominate the Central Committee by appointing 560 representatives who don’t represent the people in the jurisdiction to which they are appointed.
Not coincidentally, the change is being proposed at a time when more citizens are beginning to learn about party central committees and how they can get involved in taking back control from the privileged insider politicians. The fact that this provision is irrelevantly buried in a massive bill that nobody—including the people voting on it—is likely to read indicates the insiders’ desire to sneak it into law.
HB33 is now under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee, and is scheduled for a hearing for public testimony Tuesday, May 30, at 2:00 p.m., at the Ohio State House, 1 Capitol Square, in Columbus, Ohio. As it turns out, State Sen. Matt Dolan, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, is the chairman of the Finance Committee. I am guessing that he would benefit from the opportunity to have the Cuyahoga County GOP Central Committee stacked with establishment insiders who will hand him the party’s endorsement he was denied in the 2022 senate race.
Even if HB33 passes into law with the backhanded central committee provision, it will be up to the Cuyahoga County GOP Central Committee to pass the insidious bylaw change. As representative of Strongsville Precinct 3C, I would be a “no” vote.
You can contact members of the Senate Finance Committee by phone or email and let them know that you oppose their latest effort to bitch slap us deplorables:
Matt Dolan (R), chair 614-466-8056
Jerry Cirino (R), Vice-chair 614-644-7718
Louis Blessing (R) 614-466-8068
Theresa Gavarone (R) 614-466-8060
George Lang (R) 614-466-8072
Nathan Manning (R) 614-644-7613
Bill Reineke (R) 614-466-8049
Mark Romanchuk (R) 614-466-7505
Kirk Schuring (R) 614-466-0626
Vernon Sykes (D), Ranking Minority Member 614-466-7041
Hearcel Craig (D) 614-466-5131
Paula Hicks-Hudson (D) 614-466-5204
Andrew Brenner (R) 614-466-8086
In the meantime, if your precinct is not represented on the Cuyahoga County GOP Central Committee, consider seeking an appointment to fill the vacancy. You can email me to find out whether your precinct is vacant.
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