House Speaker, Senate President: WE HAVE THE VOTES TO OVERRIDE
By Chad D. Baus
Ohio news reports today indicate that the reforms contained in HB347, including statewide preemption of local gun laws, is likely to become law soon with or without Bob Taft's support.
The first option to prevent Taft from thwarting the will of the people will be for the General Assembly to override a veto, if it comes.
The second option begins in January - that's because voters have finally chosen a truly pro-gun governor in Democrat Ted Strickland, and because voters have returned an even larger pro-gun majority in the General Assembly than we already now enjoy.
From the Toledo Blade, regarding Option 1, veto-override:
Sen. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) wants to force the issue, getting the bill to the governor as soon as possible to start a 10-day clock ticking for his action.
That would give lawmakers time to consider a veto override before the current two-year session draws to an end.
Legislative leaders have tentatively set Dec. 19 as the date by which they hope to wrap up business, but they could stick around until the end of the year.
"It's good policy," he said. "Let the process work. If he wants to veto it, then our options are to override or go home, and I think we should override. ...All I know is, the emphasis was always on law enforcement being comfortable. Law enforcement was comfortable ...and then suddenly it becomes the pre-emption focus."
The bill passed the Senate 19-10 (two pro-HB347 Senators were absent), and then the House voted 74-14 to concur with changes the Senate made the the bill it originally passed last spring.
A veto override takes Senate (one less than the number of supporters it now has), and the House would have to hold onto 60 of its 74 "yes" votes.
Past legislatures, which are controlled by a Republican majority, have proven to be reluctant to override a governor of their own party. But this year, in the wake of Taft's political scandals that led to set-backs for the GOP in the November elections, there is reason to hope that Republicans will have a strong desire to distance themselves from the Taft legacy.
Again, from the Blade:
"Until [Taft] exercises an option that's different than getting a bill approved one way or the other, we're going to be patient and wait," Senate President Bill Harris (R., Ashland) said.
"We did our best to keep the governor's office informed about what we were doing throughout the summer, working with the highway patrol."
Legislators did their best to communicate with and appease Taft, but Taft, on the other hand, appears to have misled legislators just a matter of hours before he announced his intent to veto HB347.
"I don't ever recall him saying, 'I will veto it'," Mr. Harris told the newspaper. "If that was said, I don't recall it."
Indeed, the last time Taft expressed a public opinion on the bill, in the weeks before passage of the bill in the House last Spring, he made no mention of preemption among his concerns, which were all addressed by the House and Senate before sending him the bill.
There is further analysis on the likelihood of a veto-override in the Plain Dealer in this story:
After the Senate approved the measure 19-10 (with four members absent), Harris said he had the votes to override a veto.
Husted wants to see if Taft is bluffing. "We are waiting to see what the governor does," said Husted spokeswoman, Karen Tabor.
"But clearly the vote was 74-14, if you want to read anything into that."
If Taft does veto the bill, and if Option 1 does not come to pass for some reason, HB347 proponents have every reason to expect early passage of the bill next year, thanks to having a Democrat in the Governor's mansion for the first time in more than a decade.
The Blade story also addresses Option 2:
Ted Strickland, the Democrat who takes office shortly after midnight on Jan. 8, generally supports the bill that moved through the Senate and House Wednesday after months of talks in a Senate committee.
..."I've talked to most of the major big-city mayors on that issue and I do support home rule, but I have said to them that this is an issue that gets into a constitutional right," Mr. Strickland said this week.
"That makes it a different kind of issue from other home-rule considerations."
The will of the people has been clearly expressed at the ballot box. Strong pro-gun majorities have been elected to both the 125th, 126th and 127th General Assemblies, and a strong pro-gun governor has now been elected as well.
Unless Bob Taft wants his lasting legacy to be having been overidden on a veto days before leaving office, or having left a final, lasting reminder of how he shafted his constituents, he should allow this bill to become law, with or without his signature.
Chad D. Baus is the Northwest Ohio Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association.
Please contact Governor Taft today by phone at (614) 466-3555 and (614) 644-HELP or via email by visiting http://governor.ohio.gov/contactinfopage.asp and respectfully urge him to sign this important bill and to defend your Right to Keep and Bear arms.