The Ohio Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment protecting the water rights of private property owners in Ohio. If the Ohio House passes the amendment next week, the Senate will approve the Great Lakes water compact. Passage of the compact had been held up by Ohio state senators led by state Sen. Tim Grendell (see earlier blog posting here.)
When I wrote a story about this a few weeks ago, Grendell told me he would not be willing to pass the compact until late this year, after Ohio voters approved the amendment during the November general election. But the state senator who represents Erie and Ottawa counties, state Sen. Mark Wagoner, R-Toledo, told me he was searching for a way to get the compact passed soon. So this week's action appears to represent Grendell giving in to compact supporters such as Wagoner.
Thursday night, when I saw Wagoner at the annual meeting of the Ohio Lakefront Group, I asked him if Grendell hadn't shifted to Wagoner's position. Wagoner grinned, and gave me an indirect answer.
"There was a lot of conversation," Wagoner said. "We found common and middle ground."
"I think it's important for us to pass the compact," Wagoner said. "It's important for us to do it in a way that protects private property rights."
Grendell, for his part, denies he changed his position and heaped praise on Wagoner, telling the crowd they should support Wagoner in the fall election because he's an advocate of property rights.
"You will enjoy having him," Grendell said.
Wagoner, named a state senator after Randy Gardner quit to move to the Ohio House, is seeking a full term this fall.
Democrats in the four-county district have been engaged in a rummage hunt to find a candidate to oppose Wagoner and are expected to name a new candidate next week. The Democratic Senate candidate will replace Sylvia Washburn, who won the Democratic primary but then quit the race.
Grendell, by the way, is a possible Republican candidate for attorney general.
"I'm on the short list for attorney general but don't know if I'll be running," he said.