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GOP Proposal Seeks Ban on Certain Foreign Investments

Republican Jamie Callender acceptins signatures for a petition.
Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) accepts more than 800,000 signatures for an informal petition calling for Ohio to ban foreign investments in energy generation. The petition was not official.

The controversial campaign to put the state’s nuclear bailout law before voters next year is over for now. But Republican lawmakers are bringing back an element of that battle by proposing a plan to ban foreign companies from investing in certain areas of Ohio's infrastructure. 

The House resolution would call for a constitutional amendment that prohibits foreign businesses from having a majority ownership in things like power plants, pipelines, and water.

The idea stems from an informal petition that bailout supporters circulated to counter the failed petition drive to put the nuclear bailout law on the ballot.

Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) says he thinks foreign investment in critical infrastructure could be a threat to the state.

"Our grid is so critical that anytime a large outside interest, a foreign country, begins to get enough of an interest to make an impact, I believe that is a threat, yes," Callender explains.

Gov. Mike DeWine was asked if he thought Ohio should ban foreign companies from investing in energy generation. He said, "no."

DeWine says, "We always want to be careful. We always want to be aware of what's going on and keep our eyes open. But we encourage foreign investment."

DeWine recently went on a trade trip to Japan, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to London.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.