Senator White announces conceptual agreement with Speaker on Taft's latest ploy
On October 23, just two days after 'Defense' Walkers paid a visit to his hometown of Manchester, Senate President Doug White reversed four months of refusals and appointed conferees to a House Bill 12 conference committee. White explained the months of obstruction to the Dayton Daily News at the time, saying he "delayed appointing conferees because he didn't want his Senate members harassed and pressured by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates for months while behind-the-scenes negotiations continued."
Thankfully, Senator White now seems to be much more willing to hear from individuals and groups of citizens on the public records issue, although he believes the debate "slows [HB12] down" and prevents the legislature "from being able to put this to bed very quickly" (which of course is what Gov. Taft has wanted all along).
On Wednesday, White told the Associated Press he agrees with Speaker Householder's initial concerns about Taft's latest demand. "Initially I’m very much opposed" to Gov. Bob Taft’s request that this legislation turn personal information about permit-holders into public records.
White also seemed to mirror Householder's willingness to compromise on this issue for the good of getting a law.
According to the Dayton Daily News, White is not categorically rejecting Taft’s request, but said that he "wants to discuss it with hunters, sportsmen and others interested in concealed-carry legislation." White said if he can be assured 'my friends out there are OK with it' then he might go along with it, 'even though I don’t like it.'"
White also told the DDN he does not carry a handgun and is not likely to if the bill passes. But, he said, "I don’t want people to know I don’t carry." Since no citizen in Ohio can carry a concealed handgun legally, or openly, without fear of arrest, one wonders why this admission is newsworthy, or why White bothered to comment on it in the first place.
Nevertheless, President White and Speaker Householder are now in agreement on Taft's latest demand - they both oppose the concept, and are both willing to compromise to get a law. But since they agree, further compromise should not be necessary.
Now that Senator White has expressed willingness to publicly oppose the Governor, he should immediately notify HB12 Conference Committee Chairman Aslanides that he is ready for the committee to meet, and hammer out a final compromise report on HB12 - one that can win the most votes from both chambers, and committments to a potential override scenario.
Contrary to media reports and the hopes of some, Senator White's latest comments confirm there should be no reason for further delays in sending a bill to Bob Taft.