Ohio Supreme Court to Decide if Governor’s Veto on Limits Law Valid

March 12, 2007

Republican lawmakers asked the Ohio Supreme Court on Friday not to dismiss their lawsuit challenging a veto that Gov. Ted Strickland carried out on his first day in office.

The court has a constitutional duty to decide if Strickland and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, both Democrats, improperly infringed on the rights of the GOP-controlled Legislature, Senate President Bill Harris and House Speaker Jon Husted said in their latest filing.

Democrats want the case thrown out.

Republicans argue that Strickland’s January veto of a wide-ranging bill placing limits on consumer fraud lawsuits is invalid because the bill was adopted in December during the last legislative session. The bill would place a $5,000 limit on certain court damages and create new protections for companies that once sold paint with lead in it.

Strickland and his legal advisers contend that he was able to veto the bill because former Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, had decided to let it become law without signing it and a 10-day deadline for it to become law had not yet passed.

Attorney General Marc Dann, a Democrat who also took office in January, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last week, saying Republican leaders have no legal right to sue on behalf of legislators who decided the bill before they adjourned on Dec. 26. A new session with new lawmakers began in January.

The lawsuit accuses Brunner, named as a defendant, of violating her constitutional duties by sending the bill back to Strickland’s office instead of recording it and making it part of state law.

The Supreme Court is taking the case under consideration, said Chris Davey, a spokesman with the court. He said justices are under no timetable to make a decision.

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