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Published: Friday, 2/2/2007

Ohio House, Senate sue secretary of state over veto of bill


COLUMBUS The Ohio House and Senate today followed through with their threat to sue Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in connection with fellow Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland s inaugural-day veto of a bill his predecessor had intended to become law.

The suit asks the Ohio Supreme Court to order Ms. Brunner to change her office s records to reflect Jan. 5 as the day the secretary of state received Senate Bill 117 from Gov. Bob Taft. The Republican-controlled General Assembly maintains that would put the measure out of Mr. Strickland s reach when he took office three days later, retrieved the bill from Ms. Brunner, and vetoed it.

Mr. Taft had intended for the controversial measure to become law without his signature after he praised parts of the bill and criticized others.

(Ms.) Brunner failed to carry out the Secretary of State s constitutional and statutory duties to maintain, preserve, and keep safe Amended Substitute Bill No. 117 as filed by Gov. Taft on Jan. 5, 2007, reads the suit. The suit does not name Mr. Strickland as defendant.

The lawmakers have taken advantage of an offer for the appointment of special counsel by new Attorney General Marc Dann, a Democrat who is defending Ms. Brunner s position, having urged Mr. Taft to veto the bill before he took office.

Mr. Taft favored part of the bill preventing cities like Toledo from filing broad-based, public nuisance suits against the lead-based paint industry without naming specific manufacturers of specific products. Mr. Taft, however, didn t like another section capping non-economic damages at $5,000 for predatory lending and other actions brought under the Ohio Consumer Sales Protection Act.

He announced in a press release that he would allow the bill to become law without his signature and filed the measure with then-Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a fellow Republican.

But three days later, Ms. Brunner determined nothing prevented her from returning the bill to the new governor as long as the 10-day limit for gubernatorial action had not passed following legislative passage. She determined that Jan. 8, not Jan. 5, was the 10th day.

Contact Jim Provance at:


or 614-221-0496.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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