Ohio General Assembly panel to study ailing auto industry

By Marc Kovac

Three members from each chamber will be on the committee.

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House has signed off on the creation of a new lawmaker panel to addresses Ohio’s declining automobile industry.

The chamber unanimously adopted House Concurrent Resolution 24, sponsored by Rep. Matt Lundy, a Democrat from Elyria, to create a Joint Select Committee on the Impact of the Changing Automobile Industry in Ohio. It heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

The economic downturn has hammered the automobile industry. General Motors and Chrysler have filed for bankruptcy, manufacturing plants and suppliers have cut back on production and laid off workers, and dealerships are being closed.

State lawmakers have been in discussions about how to respond to the situation, Lundy said. The result is the joint committee, which will meet over the summer and include three members from each chamber.

“The auto industry plays a critical role in the state, and we want to make sure that we are looking for any options available to be of assistance,” said House Speaker Armond Budish, a Democrat from the Cleveland area.

He added, “I certainly don’t have the answers, I don’t know if anybody does. But I anticipate that the members of the committee will be calling witnesses from manufacturers, from dealers, from suppliers, from everybody who’s being affected so that we can understand more fully the problems and then try to address them.”