Party Switching Was Popular In The Primary, And The Clock Is Ticking On Green Energy Standards Freeze

Lawmakers are speeding toward summer break with several rounds of committee hearings and lots of legislation. The House passed nearly than two dozen bills, and the Senate passed a handful of bills as well. But the medical marijuana bill that the House passed last week is still in a Senate committee.  John Kasich hasn’t done any public appearances as governor since leaving the presidential campaign trail and returning to his job on Capitol Square. But he did do his first post-campaign interview with CNN this week. Democrats say Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Ohio this week was about the economy, but Republicans suggest the stop was political.

The Ohio primary was Gov. John Kasich’s lone presidential primary win, and new numbers show a lot more Democrats voted Republican than vice versa.  Secretary of State Jon Husted said this week that three times as many Democrats switched parties as Republicans did. Husted talks about the numbers and what they might mean looking ahead to the fall.

State lawmakers are coming up on a deadline on whether to change the law on green energy and renewable standards for utilities, or to leave it alone and let those standards go back into effect. A law passed in 2014 froze those renewable energy requirements for power companies for a two year period, expiring this year.  There are four bills at the Statehouse that would deal with those standards, including one from Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, which would push the freeze out another three years, to 2019. Seitz talks about his bill and the larger issue of these green energy standards, which he and other opponents call “mandates”.

But of course there are those who would disagree with Seitz and others who oppose the green energy benchmarks, guideposts, or mandates. Trish Demeter is with the Ohio Environmental Council. She calls them “standards”, saying that utilities are regulated entities that, in exchange for having monopolies over their customer bases depending on where they live, they get some minimum requirements for what they should be doing in terms of investing in renewable energy. And Demeter says green energy policies are proven to provide what she calls tremendous benefit for customer bills and cleaner air.

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