COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - The Ohio House of Representatives will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to vote on a resolution aimed at removing State Rep. Larry Householder as speaker.
The House Republican leadership team announced the news Tuesday after a private meeting of the Republican caucus in which they voted via secret ballot to have Householder vacate his speakership.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio GOP Party Chairwoman Jane Timken also attended the private meeting at the Renaissance Hotel in Columbus, FOX19 NOW confirmed earlier Tuesday.
Lawmakers tell FOX19 NOW the vote to remove Householder, R-Glenford, came by a majority but was not unanimous.
Among those who objected, a source says, was Greater Cincinnati Republican Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason.
The proposed resolution requires 50 votes to be adopted and will take effect immediately upon passage, according to news release issued by the Republican leadership.
If passed, Assistant Majority Floor Leader Anthony DeVitis, R-Green, would then schedule a vote to elect a new speaker.
Sources say the Republican caucus will reconvene late Thursday to discuss and vote on the new speaker.
There are five potential replacements being touted by some lawmakers, including Rep. Bob Cupp, R-Lima and Rep. Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township.
Lawmakers tell FOX19 NOW Householder would remain a state representative, at least for now.
The leadership’s release contains the following statement, signed by Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Butler, R-Oakwood; Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R- Cincinnati; DeVitis, Majority Floor Whip Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville; and Assistant Majority Whip Laura Lanese, R-Grove City:
“The decision by House Republicans today to proceed with removing Larry Householder as Speaker reflects the reality that while he is entitled to his day in court and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, it has become abundantly clear that he has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public, and is unable to effectively lead this chamber.
“Today begins a new chapter for the Ohio House of Representatives. Our first priority is restoring trust and confidence in the institution. We and our colleagues look forward to working with Governor DeWine and our colleagues in the Ohio Senate on real solutions to lay the foundation for economic renewal and a brighter future for all Ohioans.”
Several state representatives and other Ohio office holders including Gov. Mike DeWine and AG Yost have called for Householder to resign due to his arrest along with four associates in what federal officials say is likely the largest corruption case in state history.
Householder, however, has not stepped down. He responded “No” when a reporter asked him outside the federal courthouse in Columbus if he would.
He has not publicly spoken, and his attorney has declined comment.
Yost said previously if Householder refuses to resign as state representative, the House “should eject him under Article II, section 6 of the Ohio Constitution.”
It states House lawmakers can expel a member with a vote of two-thirds of legislators for “disorderly conduct.”
House members also have introduced legislation to repeal House Bill 6. Householder and the four political operatives were arrested in connection with the taxpayer-funded bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants.
Householder was a driving force of the financial rescue that tacked a new fee to every electricity bill in Ohio and directed over $150 million annually through 2026 to the plants, which are located near Toledo and Cleveland.
On Monday, the state representative who was the original sponsor of House Bill 6, Jamie Callender, R-Concord, joined those calling for Householder to resign.
He also says now the bill should be repealed and replaced with another one untainted by the scandal.