Ohio House Speaker resigns immediately; won’t wait till May 1

Republican Cliff Rosenberger’s resignation is effective immediately, not May 1 as he had announced earlier this week, Ohio House GOP spokesman Brad Miller said in a statement.

Miller said that Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, number two legislative leader, “felt it was in the best interest of the institution that Cliff Rosenberger resign effective immediately.”

It is unclear when Schuring will call for election of a speaker to serve the rest of 2018 but state Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, R-Marysville, began gauging support for a run for interim speaker.

Rosenberger, 37, on Tuesday announced his resignation to the House Republican caucus, stunning fellow lawmakers. The resignation comes after he told this newspaper that he hired criminal defense attorney David Axelrod because he heard that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been asking questions about his activities.

“First and foremost, I believe that all of my actions as speaker have been both ethical and lawful,” he said in a statement this week.

Related: The fast and furious fall of Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger

Sources familiar with the FBI inquiry say investigators are looking at a four-day trip to London in August 2017 sponsored by GOPAC Education Fund. Along on the trip were at least two lobbyists for the payday lending industry. Factions of the industry have been trying to stall or water down House Bill 123, which calls for a crackdown on abusive practices, for more than a year.

Related: Payday lending reform bill stalls in the Ohio House

Schuring pledged this week that the bill will move out of committee and get a floor vote in May.

Supporters of the bill, including Central Christian Church Senior Pastor Carl Ruby, continue to push for the reform bill.

“Now is the time for our legislators to show that they are more concerned about protecting Ohioans from predatory lenders, than in cozying up with out-of-state payday loan conglomerates that will pad their pockets and take them on lavish trips,” Ruby said in a statement.

RELATED: Ohio House Speaker resigning amid FBI probe

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