I could say something about Yogi Berra and “deja vu all over again,” but that would be too easy, so I won’t mention it.
But it certainly feels that way around the Statehouse at the moment, as lawmakers reintroduce and re-vote on bills that were moving, in some cases, just a few months ago.
Take the recent sessions in the Ohio House and Senate.
The Senate passed SB 10, which would eliminate primary elections in cases where races aren’t contested.
It was offered after the primary in southwestern Ohio to replace Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. There was only one Democrat on the ballot for that special election, and fewer than 2,000 people voted.
SB 10 is a bill that made so much sense that the Ohio Senate passed it late last year with little in the way of opposition, but the Ohio House didn’t have time to take comparable action, so the legislation had to be reintroduced this session and re-voted this week.
The Ohio House, meanwhile, gave its lopsided support to HB 59, which would designate Oct. 7 as Moses Fleetwood Walker Day, honoring pro baseball’s first black player. There was no opposition voiced from the floor, and only one lawmaker voted against it.
That same bill passed the Ohio House last session, but the Ohio Senate has not yet signed off on Moses Fleetwood Walker Day.
The House passed HB 54, too, calling for the creation of a new bonding program to assist local governments with improvement projects. As sponsoring Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, noted in her opening comments on the floor, comparable legislation was passed by the chamber last session.
Back in the Senate, lawmakers passed SB 29, the first substantial update to the state’s banking laws in decades, on a unanimous vote.
“Those of you who were here last session will remember most of the bill,” said primary co-sponsor Bill Coley, R-West Chester, who offered the legislation along with Sen. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton. “Because it’s a bill that passed unanimously out of the Senate in the last general assembly.”
Senators also OK’d SB 7, dealing with civil-protection orders.
“This is the third time this bill has been up for a vote in the Senate,” said sponsoring Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Columbus. “We passed it two general assemblies in a row, only for it to die in the House.”
There are more, but you get the idea.
Sometimes, legislation is offered late in a session, and there isn’t time to complete deliberations in both chambers.
Sometimes, lawmakers in one chamber support proposed law changes while those in the other do not.
Sometimes, bills just fall through the cracks for whatever reason.
Considering the lightning speed lawmakers can move when they want, it seems odd that they have to reintroduce bills, like the Moses Fleetwood Walker Day legislation, when there’s little in the way of public opposition voiced to their passage.
It doesn’t seem like a very efficient way of doing business and prompts feelings, as the late, great Yogi Berra might have said, of deja vu all over again.
Forget I said that.
Marc Kovac is The Vindicator’s Statehouse correspondent. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.