More than two weeks after Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, was arrested on drunken driving and weapons charges in Butler County, he’s back at the Statehouse.
Retherford, 33, was arrested in the early morning hours of March 12 after being found allegedly passed out drunk in a Liberty Twp. McDonald’s drive-thru.
Retherford returned to work Tuesday after a two-week absence, but Wednesday was his first legislative session since his arrest and subsequent court appearances.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger excused Retherford’s absence from the Ohio House session the week of his arrest, which means the third-term lawmaker still collected his full salary for the week — about $1,165.
Ohio’s state representatives are paid $60,584 annually.
Retherford was denied a request for an excused absence on March 22, the same day he appeared in a Butler County courtroom and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
His salary will be docked $20 for missing that session, according to state law.
Retherford is currently the primary sponsor of five bills in the Ohio House and is a member of three committees: Federalism and Interstate Relations, Insurance, and Ways and Means.
He is charged with operating a vehicle while impaired, a first-degree misdemeanor, and improperly handling a firearm, a fourth-degree felony.
Both of the major political parties in Butler County and the Ohio GOP have called for Retherford to resign.
Retherford has not made any public comments since his arrest, except for a prepared statement requesting privacy.
A Butler County sheriff’s deputy wrote in the report that Retherford had a difficult time standing and smelled of alcohol at the time of his arrest. He refused to take a breathalyzer test at the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Retherford faces possible expulsion from the Statehouse if he’s convicted of the felony.
Retherford represents Ohio’s 51st House District, which includes the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield, and all or parts of Ross, Fairfield and Sinclair townships.
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