Gov. DeWine Breaks Mask Rules for Photo Op at Ohio Business

Mike DeWine and Fran DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is being called out on the internet for apparently breaking his own mask mandate orders. 

DeWine and his wife Fran unmasked for a photo opportunity inside a Findlay ice cream shop at the end of last week. 

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Discharging Fireworks in Ohio Moves Closer to Reality

Brian Baldridge

 The Fourth of July for Ohioans could come with a little more bang in 2022 if the General Assembly comes together on a pair of bills that would move the state closer to legalizing the discharge of fireworks.

While coming up short of allowing fireworks throughout the state, House Bill 253 would allow cities to legalize fireworks over July 3, 4 and 5, and it requires the state fire marshal to develop rules on how and when fireworks can be used. House Bill 172, which passed the House on Thursday, removes the statewide ban on the discharge of fireworks.

“Every year, the 4th of July is marked with family picnics and parades as a way to celebrate our nation’s birthday and the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, said. “Even with all this, each and every year brings disappointment when Ohio’s citizens cannot legally and honestly discharge fireworks as a means of celebrating with family, friends and neighbors.”

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Business Fairness Act Would Allow Ohio Businesses to Stay Open During Emergencies

Mike DeWine

Ohio businesses would be able to continue to operate during a public health emergency if a bill passed by the Ohio House clears the Senate and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

House Bill 215 would require businesses to comply with safety standards from government orders or regulations to stay open, but it does provide an avenue to keep businesses up in running in times of emergency.

“Small business owners had their worlds turned upside down when they were forced to shut down last year,” Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, said. “Getting this bill signed into law will send a strong message that Ohio will remain open for business and keep our economy moving forward.”

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Thousands of Minnesotans Petition to Reinstall Columbus Statue

Christopher Columbus Statue Torn Down at Minnesota State Capitol

Almost 5,000 concerned Minnesotans signed a petition asking the governor to reinstall the statue of Christopher Columbus that was torn down by protesters last June.

The statue was on display at the Capitol building for almost 100 years before being destroyed by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) last summer.

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Ohio GOP Meets Friday to Decide on New Members, Term Limits, and Whether to Censure Pro-Impeachment Lawmakers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) are scheduled to meet Friday to determine if the party will censure Republican lawmakers who voted in January to impeach President Trump, elect two State Central Committee Members, and to vote on an initiative that would extend the term limit from two years to four.

According to one central committee member the initial intent was to censure U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) for his impeachment vote but the effort has been “watered down” to include broader language that shifts the focus from Gonzalez and includes all GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach.

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Former Firefighter and Chief Earns Spot in General Election to Determine Dayton’s Next Mayor

Rennes Bowers, the retired firefighter and chief vying for the Mayor’s Chair in Dayton, ousted former Mayor of Dayton Gary Leitzell to earn his spot in the race against institutional Democrat Jeff Mims in the November general election that will determine the next mayor in Ohio’s sixth-largest city.

In a phone interview just moments after the final results from Tuesday’s primary election were revealed, Bowers told The Ohio Star:

It feels really good. I am very, very happy and thankful my neighbors in Dayton have put this trust in me.  The Lord answered prayers, we’ve been praying since February and our friends, family and neighbors were praying all day.

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Ohio Black Caucus Concerned About Redistricting Deadlines

Matt Huffman

The U.S. Census Bureau and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a constitutional issue for Ohio, and a possible change has members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus concerned the public will be excluded.

Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, proposed asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that gives the state options with critical Census Bureau information not expected until September and Ohio facing a constitutional deadline of Sept. 30 to redraw state House, state Senate and congressional district maps.

That has Black Caucus leaders worried public input could be reduced or eliminated.

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Rally to Support Law Enforcement Postponed Because New Rules Made Event Unsafe, Organizers Say

A rally organized by Ohio Gun Owners (OGO) to support law enforcement was postponed by its organizers who allege they were denied protections they’d previously received at rallies despite being warned that BLM and Antifa counter-protestors would attend the event scheduled for last Saturday.

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Ohio City Income Tax Law Continues to be Challenged

Robert Alt

An Ohio think tank’s fight over the state’s municipal income tax laws, which continue to be an issue during the COVID-19 pandemic, has moved to the state court of appeals.

The Buckeye Institute, a research and education think tank based in Columbus, has filed four lawsuits challenging the state law that requires taxes to be paid to the city where work is actually done. During the pandemic, however, more and more people were working from home but still paying taxes to cities where their office was located, rather than where they actually worked.

The Buckeye Institute appealed Thursday to the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals its case of three of its employees who worked from home after the state’s stay-at-home order but continued paying taxes to city of Columbus. A Franklin County judge dismissed the case Tuesday.

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Ohio Lawmaker: Bill to Expunge Violations and Return Fines to Businesses Gains Momentum

Ohio Statehouse of Representatives

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A bill drafted in the Ohio House of Representatives that would remove penalties enforced on businesses for COVID violations  may have a rallying point after two separate videos were sent to The Ohio Star – in them tipsters allege Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud and her husband are both spotted on separate occasions inside a Columbus area establishment where there appear to be violations of statewide COVID regulations.

According to information obtained from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU)– the officials who go undercover in bars and restaurants – the establishment where both McClouds are seen had not received a citation for violating COVID orders between March 2020 and March 2021. 

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Ohio Industry, Business Groups Want Specifics in Biden’s Climate Plan

"There is no planet B" sign

As states, business groups, energy producers and other industry groups show concern over President Joe Biden’s climate plan, Ohio organizations want more specifics and believe cooperation is needed.

Biden has announced a plan that contained few specific measurers but established goals of cutting 2005 emission numbers in half by 2030.

The Ohio Manufacturers Association (OMA) pointed to concerns raised by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which wants more details but also wants a fair plan.

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Biden Offers Empty Platitudes During Speech in Georgia

President Joe Biden visited Duluth and gave a speech to several parked cars at a “drive-in rally” Thursday, marking his 100th day in office. 

Besides touting the meager success of passing a COVID-19 stimulus, which has been Biden’s only major legislative accomplishment in his first 100 days in office, the subject matter of the speech was rather general. 

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Exclusive: One-on-One Interview with Dayton Mayoral Candidate Rennes Bowers

Three candidates are running to become the next Mayor of Dayton after incumbent Nan Whaley announced she would not seek reelection in 2021 – former Dayton firefighter and chief Rennes Bowers, former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and current Dayton city commissioner Jeffrey Mims.

The top two vote getters next Tuesday, May 4, will square off in the November general election and the winner will become the Mayor of Ohio’s sixth-largest city.

The Ohio Star conducted an exclusive one-on-one interview with Bowers to ask him what drove his decision to run, how he plans to improve Dayton and what he believes distinguishes him from his competitors.

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Ohio Senate Moves Toward Making Professional Licensing Easier

Ohio State Senate Chamber

The Ohio Senate took another step toward reducing regulations surrounding medical licenses when it agreed to allow the state to join 29 others in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

The move follows similar compacts the Senate passed this session for physical therapy, nursing and occupational therapy.

Senate Bill 6, if passed by the House and signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, provides an expedited path for licensure for qualified physicians who want to practice in multiple states and provides incentive for professionals to come to Ohio, said bill sponsor Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson.

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Ohio Attorney General Pleads for Patience Around Bryant Shooting Investigation

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has spent a lot of time pleading for patience and talking of the dangers of rushing to judgement in reaction to the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl by Columbus police officers.

Community organizers, however, are calling for a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Columbus Police Department, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said there is lack of trust between the community and police.

Yost consistently has said half-facts lead to half-truths, tweeting two days after the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, “Let’s get all the facts and find the whole truth.”

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Ohio School Board Sued for Racial Policies and Banning Input on 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory

An Ohio man filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Ohio State Board of Education (OSBOE), the board president, and four board members.  The lawsuit claims the agency overstepped authority in passing a racial resolution and argues the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights of free speech and to petition his government for redress of grievances were violated when he was barred access to a public forum during an April meeting.

Daniel Regenold claims the OSBOE went beyond its authority under Ohio law when the agency passed a resolution last July – Resolution to Condemn Racism and to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Black Students, Indigenous Students and Students of Color.

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Ohio Democrats Attack GOP Plans to Rewrite State Election Laws

Elizabeth Walters

Ohio Democrats blasted a Republican proposal to rewrite the state’s election law to stop off-site ballot boxes, eliminate early-voting options and strengthen Ohio’s voter ID regulations.

The proposal, however, also includes creating an automated voter registration plan and easier access to absentee voter requests.

Reps. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, and Sharon Ray, R-Wadsworth, plan to introduce what they call a comprehensive modernization and reform bill, while Democrats believe it’s more extreme restrictions on the right to vote that continue across the country.

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Rep. Tim Ryan Announces Run for US Senate

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) announced on Monday that he is running for the U.S. Senate.

Ryan currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Ohio’s 13th District. He is on the House Appropriations Committee and is the co-Chairman of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus. Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and previously served in the Ohio state Senate.

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Ohio Attorney General Continues Court Fight Over American Rescue Plan Taxing Provision

Dave Yost

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says Congress crossed a line and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen struggles to explain whether states retain authority to set their own tax codes if they accept money from the recently passed American Rescue Plan.

Yost responded Thursday with a motion in support of his lawsuit for a temporary restraining order to stop the federal government’s tax mandate in the ARP. Yost believes the mandate holds states hostage and takes away Ohio’s control of its tax structure and economic policy.

“Congress crosses the line separating permissible encouragement from impermissible,” Yost’s latest motion reads. “Ohio stands to receive $5.5 billion. In the pandemic-caused economic crisis, Ohio cannot realistically turn that down.”

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Ohio Restaurants, Bars Struggle to Find Employees

An empty bar

As sales slowly improve, Ohio’s restaurants and bars now face another issue that threatens ongoing COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts: lack of employees.

Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker believes the intentions behind continued federal and state stimulus benefits are good, but a consequence is a lack of available employees as the state eases COVID-19 restrictions and customer traffic increases.

“Unemployment is an issue. There’s no question about it,” Barker said. “The intention by the government, both at the federal and state level, was to take care of people who are displaced and very much in need. It was the right thing to do. The problem we have now is these are looking like they’re going to be extended all the way through the fall. On top of that, people are getting big stimulus checks. And in some cases, they may be making more money staying at home than going back to work. And so, it’s a combination of factors.”

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Chinese-Backed Ohio Hospital Researcher Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison for Stealing Trade Secrets

  A Dublin, Ohio hospital researcher was sentenced to 33 months in prison after being convicted of “conspiring to steal exosome-related trade secrets concerning the research, identification and treatment of a range of pediatric medical conditions.” Yu Zhou pleaded guilty last year to stealing scientific trade secrets at the Nationwide…

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Report: Ma’Khia Bryant’s Sister Called 911 in March, Asked Police to Remove Her from the Foster Care Home Where They Both Lived

Ma’Khia Bryant

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A report released Thursday night contains information on a 911 call and reveals two police reports linked to Ma’Khia Bryant’s foster care home – one stating that Ma’Khia’s younger sister, Janiah Bryant, threatened to kill someone if she wasn’t removed from the home.

A Columbus Division of Police report completed on March 28 states that Janiah called 911 and told the dispatcher she wanted to leave the home and return to Franklin County Children Services.

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Budget Passed in Ohio House Criticized for Straying from ‘Sound Budgeting Principles’

Ohio House Republicans spent late Wednesday afternoon trumpeting passage of their $163 billion, two-year state budget proposal, which includes a new school funding plan and a 2% across-the-board income tax reduction.

Others, however, are calling it a missed opportunity.

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Columbus Police Release More Footage and 911 Calls in Shooting Death of 16-year-Old

Columbus Division of Police released body camera footage Tuesday night showing the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant that occurred earlier in the day.  Wednesday afternoon, police released additional body cam recordings and two 911 calls.

Interim Chief of Police Michael Woods said it’s uncommon for information to be provided this soon, but officials understand the public’s need, desire and expectation to have transparency about what happened.

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Florida Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump Falsely Claims Columbus Shooting Victim Was Unarmed

Tallahassee-based civil rights attorney Ben Crump falsely claimed on Twitter yesterday the victim of the police-involved shooting in Columbus, OH was unarmed. As bodycam footage was released, it found the victim, a 16-year-old black female, Ma’Khia Bryant, was wielding a knife and threatening two other females.

Some on social media were outraged at the lethal use of force by the officer, including Crump who said on Twitter, “As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15yo Black girl named Makiyah Bryant. Another child lost! Another hashtag. #JusticeForMakiyahBryant.”

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‘Maybe They Need to Feel the Pain:’ Minneapolis Protestor Suggests Killing All White People

Ami Horowitz

Reporter and filmmaker Ami Horowitz traveled to Minneapolis to interview residents about the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer, and killing of George Floyd.

He released a two-minute compilation of interviews Tuesday night, after Chauvin’s conviction for second and third degree murder, along with manslaughter. 

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Left Condemns Columbus Police Officer After Shooting Girl Armed with Knife

Columbus Police

Less than an hour after the murder conviction of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, a Columbus Police officer fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl. 

Body camera footage of the incident was released shortly thereafter, and shows Bryant wielding a knife in what appears to be the attempted stabbing of at least one other girl:

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Ohio Democrats Propose New Gun Control Legislation

Mike DeWine

Ohio Democrats continue to criticize the state’s new stand your ground law and unveiled a package of gun control legislation Monday that goes further than a proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine that has seen no movement in nearly two years.

Monday’s call comes 20 months since a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, and less than a week after another one in Indianapolis. It also comes nearly two weeks after a law that removes the duty to retreat from Ohioans to defend themselves with deadly force went into effect.

“Ohioans have spoken loudly and clearly that we need to do something to end gun violence. Democrats are listening to you, the people of Ohio who overwhelmingly support commonsense solutions to keep our kids and communities safe,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, said Monday at a news conference. “In the 20 months since Dayton, shootings have gone up, not down. We need reform now to ensure the promise of safety and security for all Ohioans.”

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