FILE - Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

(The Center Square) – Republicans are working to remove House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, following his arrest as part of a federal probe into allegations of corruption.

The state House will meet on Thursday to consider a resolution to remove Householder, House Republicans said following a closed-door meeting. The resolution requires 50 votes to pass and would take effect immediately.

Federal authorities allege Householder was involved in an “enterprise” that received $60 million “from an energy company and its affiliates” – reported to be Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. – to help pass House Bill 6, a ratepayer-funded bailout of two Ohio nuclear power plants, and defeat a ballot initiative to overturn the legislation.

“The decision by House Republicans … to proceed with removing Larry Householder as Speaker reflects the reality that while he is entitled to his day in court and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, it has become abundantly clear that he has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public, and is unable to effectively lead this chamber,” Republican leaders said in a joint statement.

Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Butler, R-Oakwood; Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati; Majority Floor Leader Anthony DeVitis, R-Green; Majority Whip Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville; and Assistant Majority Whip Laura Lanese, R-Grove City, signed onto the statement.

“Today begins a new chapter for the Ohio House of Representatives. Our first priority is restoring trust and confidence in the institution,” they added. “We and our colleagues look forward to working with Governor [Mike] DeWine and our colleagues in the Ohio Senate on real solutions to lay the foundation for economic renewal and a brighter future for all Ohioans.”

If approved, DeVitis will decide when to schedule a vote on a new speaker.

House Democrats responded to the news by saying they “refuse to let the latest GOP scandal derail the Ohio House of Representatives from the pressing work that needs to be done.”

“Ohioans deserve better than this continued, deep-seated Republican culture of corruption that puts special interests and self-enrichment before the needs of everyday Ohioans,” Democrat leaders said in a joint statement.

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron; Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs, D-Columbus; Minority Whip Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo; and Assistant Minority Whip Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, signed onto the statement.

“Removing Householder from the dais was a necessary decision and one that should not have required so much debate and hand-wringing,” Democrats added.