Governor Kasich signed House Bill 133, the State Lands Leasing Bill, into law back in 2011. The Governor did not have to sign the bill into law, he could have waited ten days (excluding Sundays), not signed the bill and it would still have become effective law. Or, at the time, the Governor could have vetoed the bill, which would have killed it. However, Governor Kasich chose to place his signature onto House Bill 133 to make it effective Ohio law. He, in turn, agreed to the bill and all of its tenants of law.
As a part of that bill, appointments to the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission were to be made. These appointments were required by law to be done by the end of October, 2011. October came and went and nothing happened. State legislators inquired to both the Governor and other members of the administration as to when to expect these appointments. Again, nothing happened and they were continued to be greeted with silence.
Governor Kasich has failed to perform his duties as required under Ohio law. So, after acting within the proper channels, the state legislature took action, removing the appointment authority from the Governor and providing this authority to the leaders of both the Ohio House and Senate. They did so by including it in the state budget bill. Again, even six years later, nothing prevented Governor Kasich from appointing members to the leasing commission. But the Governor continued to remain silent.
Since this language was included in the state budget bill, Governor Kasich utilized his authority to line-item veto the measure which he clearly has the right to do. However, per Article II, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio House also had the right to start the process of overriding the Governor’s veto. To do so, a super majority of three-fifths of members are needed to override.
Why should the will of 67 members of the Ohio House and their associated constituents be silenced due to the opinion of one person? Those members utilized their constitutional authority to assert their will and require that these appointments take place. They represent landowners – constituents - whose adjoining properties next to state lands could have been leased and who would have received the associated benefits of mineral production for the past six years. We agree with the Ohio House that six years of inaction is long enough.
Finally, in a recent opinion piece by Thomas Suddes that ran in the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he points out that the first version of the Ohio Constitution initially provided the state legislature with the authority to make appointments. As he states, that power was taken away because it was abused. Is this not what is currently happening with this Governor? With no repercussions for the failure to appoint, the Governor has ultimately chosen this path and, in turn, has forced onto the legislature the associated response to override his veto.
For the statutorily required process of state-lands leasing to begin, these appointments are required. Since Governor Kasich has neglected this duty, the Ohio House through their actions has stated enough is enough. The process to start the conversation for utilizing state-owned oil and gas resources for the benefit of the state, adjoining landowners, and its citizens must begin. Ohio law demands it. We urge the Ohio Senate to act to override the Governor’s line item veto.
The OOGA encourages anyone in the industry to call/email Senate President Obhof to override the veto on oil and gas lease appointments!
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