McColley sworn in to Ohio Senate

Robert McColley
Robert McColley

Robert McColley (R., Napoleon) said goodbye to his colleagues in the Ohio House of Representatives Tuesday shortly before walking across the Statehouse rotunda where he raised his right hand to take the oath as the newest state senator from northwest Ohio.

Almost as a going-away present, the House gave final approval to his bill expressly legalizing and regulating commercial fantasy-sports operations like DraftKings and FanDuel.

Mr. McColley took the seat of former state Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay), who resigned in October following the filing of a sexual-harassment complaint against him. The 1st Senate District includes most of the rural, Republican-friendly, northwestern corner of the state, including the 81st House District that Mr. McColley represented.

“My commitment to public service has always come from my family, starting with my grandfather, who was a child of the Depression and had to live with his grandparents because his parents couldn’t keep him,” a tearful Mr. McColley said in the House.

“But he grew up knowing how fortunate he was to live in this country and to have the opportunity to give back to his family and his community,” he said.

He was sworn in to the Senate by his mother, Henry County Common Pleas Judge Denise McColley, as he stood with his wife, Denise, and three children.

House Republicans immediately replaced Mr. McColley as the chamber’s assistant majority whip with another northwest Ohio lawmaker, state Rep. Bill Reineke (R., Tiffin).

The caucus is also accepting applications to fill the 81st District vacancy created by the McColley resignation. The district includes all of Henry, Putnam, and Williams County, and southeastern Fulton County. 

House Bill 132, sponsored by Mr. McColley and Rep. Jonathan Dever (R., Madeira), is headed for Gov. John Kasich’s desk. It would subject largely online commercial fantasy-sports operations to licensing, regulation, and potential discipline by the Ohio Casino Control Commission even through the bill expressly states such operations are not gambling.

Small, unregulated office pools and games for football and March Madness in which every penny taken in is paid out in prizes would not be subjected to the new law.

Contact Jim Provance at: or 614-221-0496.