Missouri Becomes First State in U.S. to No Longer Perform Abortions

Missouri has become the first state in the U.S. where abortions are no longer performed.

A total of 45 abortion facilities closed or halted abortions nationwide in 2020, including in Missouri, which is now the only state without an active abortion facility, according to a survey conducted by Operation Rescue, a pro-life activist organization.

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Ohio A.G. Yost Takes Aim at Another Provision of House Bill 6, Potential Energy Rate Hikes

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost took another swing Thursday at stopping provisions from controversial nuclear bailout House Bill 6 from impacting the state’s energy customers.

Late last year, Yost sued to stop ratepayer fees from being implemented that would have provided $150 million in money to Energy Harbor. Thursday, he filed a motion to stop FirstEnergy from executing another rate hike allowed in the legislation.

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U.S. Deficit 60.7 Percent Higher Than This Time Last Year

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.

The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

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Trump Touts Success of 450 Miles of Border Wall

President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed the completion of 450 miles of border wall completed long the U.S.-Mexican border and praised the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

At a news conference held at the Mexico–U.S. border in Reynosa–McAllen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, Trump said the border is more secure than it’s ever been.

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Ohio Businesses No Longer Need Voter Approval for Sunday Alcohol Sales

Ohio businesses no longer have to ask voters to be allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. Now, they only need the General Assembly’s permission.

Thanks to a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, businesses can get the ok from the state legislature for Sunday sales, and Friday and Saturday alcohol sales can continue until 4 a.m. the next day with a specific liquor permit.

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Paul’s Annual Report Details More Than $54B in Wasteful Federal Government Spending

Congress “spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care” in 2020, greatly contributing to what is now a $3.1 trillion deficit, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, argues in his annual wasteful spending report.

At the same time, initial 15-day lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus turned into nearly year-long lockdowns, Paul said, “wreaking havoc on Americans’ health, sanity, and economy, while also empowering petty tyrants across the country.”

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Congress Affirms Biden Electoral College Votes; Trump Agrees to ‘Orderly Transition’

A joint session of Congress, completing its work in the early morning hours of Thursday after lawmakers had been forced to flee their chambers by a violent invasion of the Capitol, affirmed that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

The proceedings concluded shortly after 3:30 a.m. EST, drawing to a close an chaotic day in the nation’s house of laws that saw one person shot dead inside the building after some rioters breached its security during a massive rally to support President Trump.

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Trump Supporters Storm U.S. Capitol, Halting Ratification of Electoral College Vote by Congress

Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the congressional session that was meeting to confirm the Electoral College votes.

Hundreds of protesters were shown on television news coverage walking through Statuary Hall without having gone through any security checkpoints. Debate was halted, and lawmakers were ordered to return to their offices and shelter in place. Legislators were told they may need to hide under their chairs and to be quiet and not draw attention to themselves.

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Ohio Republican Senator Does Not Support Group That Plans to Challenge Election Results

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Monday he will vote to certify the president elections when Congress meets in joint session Wednesday, saying he does not support a group of Republican senators who plan to challenge the results.

The group of 11 senators it will reject electors from disputed states and has called for a commission to hold an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns from those states. They also want the disputed states to hold a special legislative session to certify votes in a manner consistent with the findings of the commission’s audit.

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New House Rules to Eliminate Gendered Terms Like ‘Father, Mother, Son, Daughter’

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern announced new rules for the 117th Congress, which will be introduced and voted on after the new Congress convenes.

The rules include “sweeping ethics reforms, increases accountability for the American people, and makes this House of Representatives the most inclusive in history” – including eliminating the words, “father, mother, son, and daughter,” from federal code.

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Almost 100 Million Americans Plan to Make Finances a New Year’s Resolution in 2021

business meeting

About 97 million Americans say they plan to make a New Year’s resolution for 2021 that involves their financial situation, compared to 66 million who said they’ve done so in the past, according to a new survey by WalletHub.

Of those who responded to the survey, more than a third say their top financial resolution will be to save more money. With that in mind, WalletHub came up with suggestions that can help you save more and spend less.

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Treasury Sending Out $600 Stimulus Checks This Week

A second round of stimulus checks, this time in the amount of $600, is being sent out this week, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday.

Referred to as economic impact payments, the $600 check individuals will receive is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, a bill President Donald Trump signed Sunday.

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Analysis: Federal Tax Overhaul Increased Taxes on Wealthy in Many Blue States

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, harpooned by progressive Democrats as a handout to wealthy corporations, turned out to be more progressive in practice, new data from the federal government revealed. 

The federal tax reform measure supported by President Donald Trump increased taxes on some wealthy property owners in high-tax jurisdictions such as Illinois and New Jersey and decreased tax burdens on the middle class. 

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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to California Farmers’ Case Against Government-Sanctioned Invasion of Private Property

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company asking it to invalidate a California regulation requiring union employees to enter private property for roughly 360 hours a year.

The plaintiffs are suing the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (CALRB), its chairman, two board members and executive secretary, arguing a state regulation allowing union organizers to access private property for the purposes of soliciting support violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. When doing so, the unions are authorizing “a seizure and taking of possessory interests in private property, including the right to exclude others,” the plaintiffs argue.

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In Another Effort to Challenge Electoral College Votes, Rep. Gohmert Sues Vice President Mike Pence

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, sued Vice President Mike Pence in an attempt to challenge the results of some states’ Electoral College votes.

Another attempt is being made by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, who says he and “dozens” of House members plan to challenge some of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 when the Joint Session of Congress meets to certify the votes and ratify the president-elect.

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Education Funding Reform Key to Curbing Ohio’s Inequality, Survey Says

by J.D. Davidson   A comprehensive educational funding reform effort pushed by the Ohio General Assembly into the next legislative session would substantially reduce what economists called inequality throughout the state. Scioto Analysis, a Central Ohio-based economic and public policy analysis firm specializing in tax and budget policy at the…

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Minimum Wage Hikes Set for 2021 Imperil Businesses Struggling Amid COVID Shutdowns

More than 80 states and local municipalities are slated to see minimum wage hikes in 2021, even as business owners continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Employment Policies Institute, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., that studies how public policy impacts employment growth, released a comprehensive list of the minimum wage increases that will go into effect next year and in subsequent years.

“Minimum wage increases are demonstrated to cause job losses even in times of economic health,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s managing director. “These states and local areas are increasing the cost of labor as businesses are dealing with forced closures or a drastic drop in revenue. Employers and employees will pay the price for these misguided good intentions.”

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Ohio Moves Up School Employees for Vaccines to Get Students Back in Classrooms

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine plans to offer vaccines to all schools in the state that want it by mid-January in an effort to get children back to in-person learning in districts that want to return.

At his regular news conference Wednesday, DeWine announced new phases of vaccine distribution that included adults in school districts, those 64 years old and older, along with those with severe medical conditions.

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Analysis Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Christmas

Two cities in North Carolina and two in California are in the top five among the best cities in the country for celebrating Christmas, according to a new study from WalletHub.

Durham, N.C., edged out San Jose, Calif., by less than one point to take the top spot with a cumulative score of 68.16, compared to 67.99. Honolulu, Hawaii, took third with 67.92 points, followed by Oakland, Calif., (67.09) and Raleigh, N.C. (67).

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Signs Bill That Protects Students’ Free Speech

When Ohio college students return to campus after the holidays, they will be able to speak their mind freely.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act that protects individuals’ First Amendment rights and prohibits “free speech zones” on public college and university campuses in the state.

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New Ohio ‘Stand Your Ground’ Bill Heads to Governor for Signature

If Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs a new bill into law, Ohioans will no longer be required to retreat first before using deadly force to defend themselves. Where they can defend themselves with deadly force would also expand.

DeWine, who has repeatedly over the past year asked the legislature to pass several pieces of his gun legislation, has not indicted if he would sign the bill.

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Court Rules Ohio Must Allow Changes to Birth Certificates of Transgender People

A federal court ruled Wednesday that Ohio must allow changes, or what proponents call corrections, to gender markers on birth certificates, leaving as Tennessee, for the time being, as the only state in the nation not to allow changes.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio struck down the policy that prevented transgender people born in Ohio from adjusting the gender marker on their birth certificate. The decision comes in a lawsuit filed two years on behalf of three Ohio women and one man.

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Ohio City Worker Sues Over Administrative Fees Related to Union

A city employee in southwest Ohio says a union continues to collect money from his paycheck after deciding he did not want to be a part of the organization.

Timothy Crane, a city of Hamilton employee, filed a federal lawsuit against both the city and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 20, claiming compulsory fees taken from his paycheck violate his First Amendment rights, according to a news release from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

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Eastern States Inching Toward New Regional Climate Pact That Could Cut Carbon Emissions, Raise Gas Prices

A group of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are inching toward a regional climate pact that’s aimed at reducing emissions and easing traffic congestion, but could ultimately increase prices at the gas pumps.

Modeled on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has reduced emissions from power plants, the Transportation and Climate Initiative would create a cap-and-invest program to drive down emissions from cars and trucks, which contribute to about 40% of regional greenhouse gas emissions scientists say contribute to a warmer planet.

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Texas Electors Pass Resolution Condemning Supreme Court Ruling as GOP Electors Cast Votes for Trump in Five Swing States

Presidential electors met across the U.S. Monday to cast their vote for president and vice president. In Austin, while Texas electors cast their vote for President Donald Trump, they also approved a resolution to “condemn the lack of action by the United State Supreme Court” for refusing to hear a lawsuit brought against four states by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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Ohio Group: End, Not Delay, Consumer Fees, Government Subsidies for Power Companies

While the Ohio General Assembly works on a bill to delay new consumer fees on electric bills, one state representative is getting support for his plan to end the charges completely.

State Rep. Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) introduced House Bill 772 that he says focuses on the “harmful policy to Ohioans” created by House Bill 6, a controversial nuclear bailout law that led to the indictments and arrests of five people, including former Speaker of the House Larry Householder, in a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme.

“The $150 million annual nuclear subsidy from Ohioans was never needed to sustain the operation of the two Ohio nuclear plants. Evidence was provided by witnesses during the House Bill 6 debate that financial instability was likely untrue,” Romanchuk said.

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Arizona GOP Appeals Election Overturn Attempt to U.S. Supreme Court

The state chapter of the Republican Party is asking the nation’s highest court to consider its challenge to Arizona’s election results that was summarily rejected by other judges.

In the case, Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP chairwoman and plaintiff, posted a video Friday to Twitter announcing the appeal. 

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Pennsylvania House GOP Circulates Memo for Appointing New Pennsylvania Electors

House Republican lawmakers circulated a cosponsorship memo Friday that would appoint new electors if a pending Supreme Court legal challenge requires them to do so. 

The move comes after GOP leaders in both chambers insisted the state constitution prevents them from choosing electors that defy the certified popular vote. 

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Three Ohio Cities Rank High Among Cities Needing the Most COVID-19 Vaccines

With COVID-19 vaccines expected in states throughout the country next week, some communities need more than others, according to a recently released study, and Ohio is home to three of those cities.

According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati rank among the top 10 of 90 large cities in the United States in terms of vaccine need based on 13 key factors, such as frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents, essential workers, residents diagnosed with various diseases and other things.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Texas’ Lawsuit Seeking to Block Four Swing State Electors from Voting for President

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected the state of Texas’ lawsuit seeking to overturn presidential election results in four key swing states.

“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution,” the nation’s highest court ruled in a decision released Friday eveninf. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”

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Ohio Restaurants, Bars Ask Congress for Immediate Help

Faced with continued closures, layoffs and an upcoming extension of a statewide curfew, Ohio restaurants and bars want Congress to move quickly to pass relief.

In a letter to Ohio’s U.S. senators as well as the House and Senate leadership, the Ohio Restaurant Association said things are worsening in the state and asked for a return to negotiations.

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Facebook Sued by 48 States, Federal Trade Commission Over Allegations of Monopolistic Practices

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that she is leading a coalition of dozens of states to file a lawsuit against social media giant Facebook.

James, along with the attorneys general of 47 other states and the Federal Trade Commission, accuse Facebook of using its dominant market position to acquire and otherwise crush competitors, tactics that amount to monopolistic abuse that harm users.

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Ohio State Senator Wants to Know Full Cost of Education Funding Reform Before Vote

While members of the Ohio House of Representatives want to push forward quickly with a plan to change how the state funds public schools, the chairman of the senate committee reviewing the idea wants more answers.

Proposed legislation, which calls for a six-year phase-in, could mean $2 billion more for schools in Ohio. However, state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, wants to know how much it will actually cost.

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Reports: Twenty Federal Agencies Have Wasted $2.3 Trillion in Taxpayer Money Since 2004

US Capitol

Improper payments made by federal government agencies totaled $175 billion last year, or $15 billion per month, according to PaymentAccuracy.gov, a website of the U.S. government.

This is in addition to $2.25 trillion worth of taxpayer money spent on improper payments from 2004 to 2018, according to a Congressional Research Service brief on the Improper Payments Act.

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Rubio Calls for More Small Business Loan Money in Compromise COVID-19 Relief Bill

The $908 billion pandemic stimulus compromise package being discussed in the U.S. Senate is a hopeful sign of progress, Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said, but it won’t garner his support until more assistance is tabbed for small businesses.

The four-month emergency package introduced Tuesday by a bipartisan coalition of senators and House representatives on Capitol Hill would fund transportation, food assistance, coronavirus testing centers and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) crafted by Rubio’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Senate Committee to help businesses pay their employees during shutdowns rather than lay them off.

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Ohio Senate President: Regulatory Reform Most Sweeping in Ohio Modern History

In an effort that Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said was four years in the making, the Ohio Senate voted Thursday to trim government regulations to help businesses across the state.

The Senate voted to agree with House changes to Senate Bill 1, legislation that Obhof, R-Medina, said has been worked on by himself, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and state Sens. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, for years.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Makes Good on Promise to Veto Oversight of Health Orders

Saying he has the backing of health care professionals and business leaders, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a bill that would give the General Assembly oversight over health orders.

In a statement of reasons for the veto of Senate Bill 311, DeWine, a Republican, said medical experts think it restricts public health officials’ ability to react to public health threats and is “not in the best interest of protecting the health and safety of all Ohioans.”

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Ohio Lawmakers Require Free Speech Protection at Colleges, Universities

The Ohio House of Representatives made voices on the state’s college campus a little louder this week, if Gov. Mike DeWine approves.

The House passed the “Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act,” which would prevent colleges and universities from limiting political speech on campuses or moving that speech into “free speech zones.”

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U.S. Supreme Court Sides with California Churches in Challenge to Gov. Newsom’s Ban on Indoor Services

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday sided with two California church groups that are challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on indoor religious services during the latest COVID-19 surge.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court provides great relief for churches and places of worship,” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said of the ruling.

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Automatic-Driver Vehicle Company Establishes Facility in Ohio

Ohio will play a role in the ongoing development and future of driverless cars thanks to a first-of-its-kind testing facility northwest of Columbus.

Waymo announced it is working with the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio, on what it calls the most comprehensive independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in the United States.

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Food Insecurity Doubles in U.S. During Coronavirus Shutdowns

As 2020 winds down, roughly 23 percent of households in the U.S. are struggling with food insecurity, a number that has doubled since last year.

Experts project over 50 million Americans will be food insecure in 2020, including roughly 17 million children, Craig Gundersen, a Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics professor at the University of Illinois, says.

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DeWine Signs Bill Expanding School Choice to Low-Income Students

Legislation to expand Ohio’s school choice eligibility was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.

Senate Bill 89 will expand the state’s EdChoice Program, which allows students to apply for vouchers for private schools if they are in low-performing schools or low-income districts. Supporters say this bill provides more opportunities for students and parents, but opponents say it diverts potential public resources away from public schools and toward private schools.

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Ohio’s Largest City Wants to Cap Delivery Fees for Restaurants

With Ohioans facing an ongoing curfew and continued pressure from Gov. Mike DeWine to stay at home, the state’s largest city plans to take steps to help both restaurants and their customers.

In an effort to help small businesses and the restaurant community, the Columbus City Council announced plans for legislation to cap third-party delivery services, according to President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Council President Shannon G. Hardin.

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Ohio Drug Sentencing Reform Receives Broad Support

A policy group says Ohio’s drug sentencing reform can make an impact on the state’s drug problem and save taxpayers money at the same time.

Robert Alt, president and CEO of The Buckeye Institute and renowned legal scholar, recently testified before the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee in support of a bill, saying it would reform the state’s drug sentencing laws and treat those suffering from addiction by using sensible best practices.

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CDC Committee to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week

The group of medical and public health experts that develops recommendations for vaccine use for the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) will meet Tuesday.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) posted a notice for a meeting scheduled for Dec. 1 without any details, but officials confirmed Friday that COVID-19 vaccination would be on the agenda.

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Supreme Court Battle Looming After Pennsylvania Judge Dismisses Election Fraud Lawsuit

A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed the president’s “meritless” election fraud lawsuit on Friday, leaving the door open for an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephanos Bibas said arguments made by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, that fraudulent mail-in ballots in Philadelphia tipped the scales for former Vice President Joe Biden were unsubstantiated.

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Ohio Health Care Workers Free from COVID-19 Civil Liability

Health care centers and medical professionals are free from liability related to the COVID-19 pandemic under a new Ohio law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Among other things, the new law temporarily grants qualified civil immunity to health care isolation centers to protect medical professionals from liability claims throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also expands the authority of emergency medical technicians to provide medical services in hospitals, if needed.

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Michigan Board of Canvassers Certify Statewide Election Results

The Michigan State Board of Canvassers on Monday voted to certify the Nov. 3 election results on a 3-0 vote with one member abstaining.

Republican board member Aaron Van Langevelde voted with Democrats.

“I’ve reviewed every section. I haven’t found anything about an audit,” Van Langevelde said. “I found nothing about authority for us to delay certification because we’re waiting for more accurate results. I found nothing about making certification contingent on an audit. I found nothing that gives us the authority to review complaints for fraud.”

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