Lawmakers skip expulsion vote; Householder remains in office

Larry Householder appears in Ohio Statehouse
Larry Householder appears in Ohio Statehouse

After private discussions, House Republicans decided not to hold an expulsion vote Wednesday to remove state Rep. Larry Householder, who is named by prosecutors as a central player in a $61 million bribery case.

House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, who has urged Householder to resign, declined to detail the discussions or a timetable for when the House might vote on expulsion. “No news to report. No updates,” he said following the House session held Wednesday.

Householder, who has pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges, said he has no plans to step down.

“My point in all of this is I’m qualified to serve, I was elected to serve and I intend to serve the people of the 72nd House district and the state of Ohio to the best of my ability. Nothing more to say,” Householder said.

The Ohio Constitution requires a two-thirds vote — 66 in the House — to expel a member.

In July, FBI agents arrested Householder and searched his Perry County farm and the House voted to strip him of his speaker post. Cupp said last summer that the Ohio Constitution allows for expulsion only once for the same conduct and since Householder was running unopposed for reelection, it’d be better to save that move for 2021.

“We are asking for the (expulsion) vote and pushing very hard for the vote,” said state Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin. Lipps said the 64-member Republican caucus is divided over the matter.

ExploreOhio high schoolers likely to get flexibility on graduation rules

Also on Wednesday, the House and Senate gave final approval to House Bill 67, which will allow high school students to use final course grades instead of end-of-course exam scores for graduation purposes, give principals flexibility in determining if a student is on track to graduate and exempt schools from administering the American History end-of-course exam.

An emergency clause was added to the bill so that it’ll take effect when Gov. Mike DeWine signs it.