Thursday, March 16th, 2023
Angie King introduces bills
From staff reports
NEW KNOXVILLE - State Rep. Angie King, R-Celina, insists that a majority of her Republican colleagues in the Ohio House are focused on delivering impactful legislation as a battle for political control plays out in the background.
King in January began her first term representing the 84th House District, which covers all of Mercer County, northern Darke County and southern Auglaize County.
She gave an overview of her experiences and work at the House during Wednesday morning's State of the Villages held at First Church of New Knoxville.
"If you've been following the state House news you know there has been a rift in the Ohio House. Yes, we've had a rocky start but you can be assured that the majority of the caucus is committed to sound conservative public policy," King said.
The saga of infighting among the legislative chamber's Republican supermajority is calling into question how lawmakers will function in the two-year session that began in January, which will include shaping Ohio's next state operating budget.
The feud broke out after Republican Jason Stephens snagged a surprising victory to become speaker of the House with mostly Democratic support and less than half of the Republican supermajority votes. The outcome shocked GOP Rep. Derek Merrin, a Lucas County Republican who believed he had already clinched the job in an informal vote before the holidays.
The fight has included a declared takeover of the GOP caucus by Merrin's camp, a call for Stephens' resignation, censure of Stephens and his GOP supporters by the Ohio Republican Party's central committee and attack ads by one of several same-party PACs that are starting now to fight their reelections.
Nevertheless, freshman lawmaker King has her sights set on advancing legislation. She along with fellow first-time State Rep. Roy Klopfenstein, R-Haviland, jointly introduced their first piece of legislation, House Bill 34, which would excuse nursing mothers from jury duty.
Under current law, there are only a few exemptions for mothers and for jurors that are suffering from a disease or illness. This legislation would create a new exemption for breastfeeding mothers to be excused from jury duty, according to a news release.
"This will provide critical time for mothers to bond with their newborn babies by excusing them from jury duty. Currently this is not an excusable exemption," King said.
She and State Rep. Tom Young, R-Washington Township, introduced House Bill 4 which is among the so-called "Ohio is Our Home" priority bills. It would ensure an open market with diversified investment portfolios.
It's directed against Environmental Social Governance policies adopted by companies and financial institutions, King said.
"When ESG policies and decisions are utilized instead of traditional fiduciary responsibilities, Ohioans lose," King said.
Ohio's retirees are threatened and energy, agricultural and manufacturing industries are put at risk by ESG policies, King claimed.
House Bill 4 would pertain to state contracts between government entities and financial institutions and companies, state pensions, retirement systems, boards of trustees, for state universities and colleges and the Bureau of Worker's Compensation.
It would also apply to capital for numerous groups, industries and consumers. Texas passed similar legislation that bars the state from doing business with banks that have ESG policies.
King said she's also preparing to introduce a bill that would limit land purchases in Ohio by foreign adversaries China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.
Ohio land is "our greatest asset," King said, asserting that land acquisitions by U.S. adversaries jeopardize national security and food security.
Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, in a prerecorded video made brief remarks to attendees.
"You know how to market this great part of our state that we call home," he said, calling West Central Ohioans go-getters and self starters.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, made a similar statement.
"If the whole world were like West Central Ohio we would be fine," he said.
Jordan quoted Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders' response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address that the current divide in America is "normal versus crazy."
"This idea that boys can be in girls sports, that's just crazy, right?" Jordan asked.
He also cited other examples of "crazy" such as the notion a man can get pregnant, the country should not have borders and police departments need defunded.
Jordan said he plans to use the appropriations process to limit funding to agencies which he believes are hurting Americans, including the FBI.
"We actually think these federal agencies are actually targeting the people they are supposed to serve," Jordan said. "The Richmond field office of the FBI said if you are a traditional Catholic you are a domestic extremist … It's crazy what we've seen from the FBI."
- The Associated Press contributed to the story.