Senate R’s breath some life back into Consumers’ Council


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In the avalanche of Senate amendments released today there was a token of good news. It looks like Senate Republicans decided the House had gone way to far in handcuffing the Consumers’ Council and clawed back some of the extreme changes the House had made.

The Senate amendments removed the ‘gag order’ amendment that the House included which would have prevented the Consumers’ Council from weighing in on any oil and gas issues that would impact consumers. The Senate amendments also allow the Council to continue to put their contact info on bills customers receive. The House had included language that would have prevented them from continuing to do so.

Most importantly though, the Consumers’ Council will be getting an extra $1.5 million in FY 2012 under the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill. This is good news for consumers all over the state who rely upon the Council to act as a representative for consumes in all utility issues that have an impact on users. It has been common knowledge that the Council has had a severe backlog of cases and hopefully these additional dollars will give the Council the ability to put somewhat of a dent in those cases. Remember, when the Consumers’ Council win, consumers win.

This issue, together with the charter school amendments the Senate removed, are two issues where the Senate clearly disagrees with the radical changes the House made. In my time working at the Statehouse people would look at the Senate as a the more radical of the two chambers and at the House as the more centrists of the pair. It looks like after the additions to the House Republican Caucus that were made last year this idea has flipped. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping on the Senate Republican bandwagon but when having to decide between the lesser of two evils it is good to know who is the lesser.

 

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  1. Senate Budget Amendments, Round 1, Part 1 | Ohio Budget Watch

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