Ohio Citizen Action Program Director delivers testimony in favor of repealing HB 6
"My name is Anastazia Vanisko, and thanks for taking the time to put this all together and allowing us to testify. I’ll be testifying today in favor of repealing HB 6.
Through my work canvassing, both door-to-door and over the phone, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people about HB 6 since it was first introduced. There have been two elements present in all these conversations: confusion and disgust. Confusion, for two reasons: a) the very name of the bill is misleading, as a clean air bill wouldn’t raise our electric bills to bail out two coal plants while simultaneously slashing renewable energy standards; and b) our Republican-led legislature has made it clear that its members will live and die by the free market, yet they’re willing to bail out failing power plants without any proof that a bailout is needed. When the people I spoke with managed to get past their confusion, they were disgusted that our General Assembly would even consider such a terrible bill.
I wish I could tell you that people were surprised that HB 6 was being considered, but that wasn’t often the case. Most people saw this as yet another instance of their representatives putting their pocketbooks before their constituents. (Keep in mind, the conversations I’m referencing happened before it came out that a $61 million racketeering scheme put this bill on the books.) We’ve known for a long time that this was the product of corruption and that if legislators were listening to us, it never would have passed the first time around.
It’s not just the fact that they passed HB 6 that proves legislators weren’t listening to their constituents, but also the way they treated members of the general public who urged them not to pass this bill. When myself and other Clevelanders drove down to Columbus last year for the in-person, opponent hearings on HB 6 in spring of 2019, we were there listening to testimony for more than eight hours while we waited our turn. We were there longer than some of the legislators. By the time it was our turn as members of the public to speak, committee members who ultimately voted YES on HB 6 blatantly ignored us. I empathize with high school teachers who need to keep the attention of a room full of teenagers with cell phones, as I imagine it’s similar to what I felt speaking to a committee of elected officials who couldn’t bother to look up from their phones while I told them why I was opposed to HB 6. My fellow Clevelanders were given similar treatment.
Our legislators know that HB 6 is a bad bill that could never have passed without a $61 million push out the gate. It’s time that they start listening to our voices—the voices of the people they were elected to represent—instead of listening to large corporate donors. If they did that, they would know that we want an immediate and full repeal of HB 6.
Thank you for your time."