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Combative Legislatures Serve No One

Chris Runyan
OCA President

The fractious nature of the legislatures in both Washington, D.C., and Columbus is hurting all of us. Prevailing antagonistic attitudes result in extreme positions with little chance of finding common ground. This situation impedes progress and hinders effective governance.

When legislators are unable to collaborate and find common ground, it can lead to gridlock and associated delays in decision-making.

At the federal level, it appears to be more popular to spend valuable time damaging the public’s perception of the opposing political party than debating legislation that would positively impact the lives of Americans, and given the reach of our country, the lives of many millions around the world. Ohio’s state legislature appears to be taking its cue from its national counterpart. There is the typical reproach between Democrats and Republicans, which no longer shocks anyone in our two-party system. However, now with Republicans holding a supermajority, they can’t seem to work amongst themselves to accomplish the passage of meaningful legislation.

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Within this acrimonious environment, your OCA representatives are attempting to push forward a number of pieces of legislation that would be of benefit to our industry. Some examples include clarifying the employment status of law enforcement officers as they perform traffic-control duties; increasing the audit vs. review threshold to reflect inflationary impacts; passage of approval for a ballot initiative reauthorizing the issuance of Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) bonds; and offering revisions to a bill mandating E-Verify that would result in the reduction of the business-threatening penalties associated with even a single violation of non-certification. These and other matters are on our watchlist, but it is increasingly challenging to debate the merits of issues when party acrimony gets in the way.

Our issues are not the only ones impacted. These fractious perspectives in the legislatures have widespread consequences, affecting everything from public services to economic stability. Finding ways to foster cooperation and compromise within legislative bodies is crucial for addressing the diverse needs and interests of society.

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