December 6, 2023
It took less than three minutes for an Ohio House committee to come to order and pass the bill that goes after complaints conservatives have had about what they call “liberal bias” at public universities.
House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) has said Senate Bill 83 doesn’t have the votes to pass the full House, but members of his party on that committee seem to doubt that.
“The bill’s alive!” said Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Napoleon) as he left the House Higher Education Committee, which passed SB 83 in a quick vote with no testimony or comments from supporters or opponents. Merrin was one of eight Republicans who voted for the bill in committee.
Rep. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) had suggested she would be a “no” vote, but she told reporters that the removal of a ban on faculty strikes from the bill convinced her to switch to “yes”. Reps. Gail Pavliga (R-Portage County) and Justin Pizzulli (R-Scioto County) voted against it along with the committee’s five Democrats.
“This bill is just toxic. It’s bad, it’s anti-union, it’s anti-education, public education,” said Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) after the vote. “And it attacks the the very institution that is formed in Ohio to provide Ohioans with the opportunity to better their lives, and that is by educating themselves for the next stage of life as an adult. This is a sad day.”