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Future Of HB6 Could Depend On Ohio Supreme Court

Ohio Supreme Court
Dan Konik
Ohio Supreme Court

The window has closed for parties to file in the Ohio Supreme Court case over whether the new energy law, HB6, can be subject to a citizen referendum.

The energy law bails out nuclear and subsidizes coal plants through rate increases. Attorneys for FirstEnergy Solutions argue that those rate increases should be considered tax increases. State law says taxes are protected against referenda.

Three of the seven justices have already recused themselves. Most of the justices on the court have received campaign contributions from FirstEnergy Solutions which stands to gain about $1 billion in subsidies through the new law.

Meanwhile, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts want more time to collect signatures for that referendum, after a federal judge referred their case back to the state Supreme Court.

The group attempted to put a referendum on the 2020 November ballot by collecting signatures around the state. But they fell short of the required 265,774 signatures. The referendum process calls for citizens to have 90 days to circulate a petition, from when the bill is signed into law to the time it goes into effect.

However, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts argues that it only had 52 days to collect signatures since it took 38 days to get its petition language approved.

No word on whether the court will hear that case.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.