Sen. White's latest survey reveals ''ability to override a veto'' on HB12

Can it be that Sen. Pres. White only made these statements to this one newspaper, or is it perhaps much more likely that the larger Ohio dailies, in collusion with Taft on opposing concealed carry, simply refused to print this major news?

He's no straight shooter
How the guv makes lawmakers crazy

by Dan Williamson
The Other Paper, Nov. 27 - Dec. 3, 2003

The governor clearly and unmistakably stated his opposition to the state legislature's concealed-weapons bill last week.

"Under this bill, hunting and fishing licenses would be public information, but permits to carry lethal weapons into shopping malls would be kept secret," he said.

"And it's even more absurd that the bill limits access to information by the police. Before approaching a car on a routine traffic stop, officers will have access to a person's driving record, but not whether that person has a concealed weapon. It's just wrong to put our officers in danger like that."

That wasn't our governor, of course. That was Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, explaining his veto of that state's conealed-carry legislation.

You might disagree with Doyle's position, but it's been consistent. Wisconsin lawmakers weren't happy that he vetoed their bill. They weren't surprised, either.

But here in Ohio, we've got Bob Taft.

Nobody truly knows Gov. Taft's position on this divisive issue, perhaps including Taft himself.

Senate President Doug White said Monday his best guess is that Taft just doesn't want to sign a concealed-carry bill.

But for whatever reason, Taft won't come out and say that. Instead, he's spent the past six years sending mixed signals.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Gun-rights organizations insist that as a candidate for governor in 1998, Taft initially said he'd sign a concealed-carry bill. But Taft amended his position to say he'd only sign a concealed-carry law that had the support of the law-enforcement community. Then last week, Taft declared he would veto a bill that didn't publicize information about gun permit holders.

This, of course, was after White had gone to the trouble of getting a majority of Ohio police groups to support the Senate's concealed-carry bill.

"There was a lot of discussion and hard work - many hours on the Senate side - because we thought there was a parameter of: If you do X, then I'll do Y."

Then Taft kind of moved the goal posts.

"No, he didn't kind of move them. He did move them," White said. "His statement to us was: 'I'll sign that bill.' Now he's saying he won't sign the bill. I'm sorry if his people didn't read the bill."

White isn't mad at the governor because he disagrees with him. He's mad because Taft isn't straight with him.

Before, the governor had said law enforcement would decide his concealed-carry position for him. Now it's being decided by the newspapers, which have editorialized that the public has the right to know who's applying for concealed weapons permits.

This is a man twice elected by the people to govern their state, and he refuses to think for himself.

The end result of Taft's poor leadership could be that legislators wil quit asking Taft what he thinks.

After all, guns aren't the only issue on which Taft has sent mixed messages. He raised taxes immediately after running an anti-tax re-election campaign.

Realizing they'd been duped, voters repaid him Nov. 4 by sinking Issue 1 - a bipartisan economic development program - whose campaign commercials starred Taft. Meanwhile, the governor's duplicity also has helped fuel Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's tax-repeal effort.

Now, Taft's clumsy maneuvering on guns could inspire the legislature to pass a concealed-carry bill just for spite.

House Speaker Larry Householder would be more than happy to override a gubernatorial veto on concealed weapons. The House has twice passed a concealed-carry bill far less restrictive than anything Taft ever would sign.

White, by contrast, has tried to coordinate the Senate's efforts with Taft's wishes. He said his most recent survey of senators revealed "a very, very thin ability to override a veto on the bill." And it sounds like he's willing to give it a whirl.

Had Taft been upfront, "I probably would have not" attempted an override, White said.

Prior to last week, it would have been difficult for a number of Republican senators to openly defy a governor of their own party. Now, it will be difficult not to.

Related Stories:
Legislature finally ready to override Taft veto - but on HB12?

Governor's Mansion Defense Walk: ''No Wonder He Doesn't Care''

Senator White announces conceptual agreement with Speaker on Taft's latest ploy

Op-Ed: Events erode the willingness of legislators to work with governor

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