The Ohio House is in turmoil — Republican Cliff Rosenberger is resigning as speaker, other lawmakers are fighting over who will replace him, a hot primary is weeks away, and there are big issues facing the state.
Casting a cloud over all of it a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into Rosenberger, who led the Ohio House since January 2015.
So, what happens next and who is in charge of the 99-member chamber?
House Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, will take over the duties of the speaker, including presiding over legislative sessions, playing a large role in determining what bills go to the floor for votes and running administrative matters. Schuring has the ability to call for an election of a new speaker.
Schuring, 65, is a veteran lawmaker, having served in the Ohio General Assembly since 1993 — shifting between the House and Senate. He is known for taking on tough issues, such as public pension reform, fixing the unemployment compensation system and crafting a deal for congressional redistricting.
“Serving in this transition period, I’m committed to moving Ohio forward with good public policy in the Ohio House,” Schuring said, shortly after Rosenberger announced his resignation.
Schuring said there is no set schedule on when a new speaker would be selected or definite answers on whether the new leader would be a caretaker to finish the legislative session or one of the men who have been running to be speaker starting in January 2019: Ryan Smith of Bidwell and former speaker Larry Householder of Glenford.
The speaker is one of the three most powerful political positions in state government. He or she has the ability to halt legislation from getting floor votes and hold enormous sway in how the state spends billions of dollars and regulates multi-million dollar industries.