Ohio Ranks First in Nation for Attracting New Business, Report Says

One of the nation’s leading economic development publications ranked Ohio as No. 1 in its state economic and business attraction rankings for bringing more corporate facility projects per capita than any other state.

Ohio also ranked second for total projects.

Site Selection, a corporate real estate economic development magazine, recently announced its rankings as part of its 2020 Governor’s Cup.

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Four Months After 2020 Presidential Election in Georgia No Chain of Custody Documents Produced for 404,000 Absentee Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes; Fulton County One of 35 Scofflaw Counties

Four months after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, state and county officials in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody documents for an estimated 404,691 vote by mail absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes and subsequently delivered to county registrars for counting.

As of March 3, only 56 of Georgia’s 159 counties have provided ballot transfer form data to The Georgia Star News. The number of absentee by mail ballots delivered to registrars in those 56 counties total only 195,309, or 32.5 percent, of the estimated 600,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes and delivered to county registrars and counted in Georgia’s 2020 presidential.

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U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel Demands Ohio Gov DeWine Drop COVID Restrictions

Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel (R) called on Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine to remove all COVID mandates and re-open businesses 100 percent.
“Mike DeWine and Amy Acton have done a horrible job handling the COVID response and completely trampled on the freedoms, liberties, and livelihoods of everyday Ohioans. Today I call for Ohio to fully re-open and allow Ohioans to get back to work, get their kids back to school, and remove our statewide mask mandate,” Mandel said.

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Ohio Dept of Health Amends Orders Related to Sports, Entertainment Venues and Mass Gatherings

Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud endorsed two mandates – one related to sporting events and the other to mass gatherings.

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Again: US Senate Hopeful Jane Timken Changes Opinion on Impeachment Vote, Gets GOP Backlash

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Monday U.S. Senate candidate Jane Timken called for U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) to resign.

“It is clear Congressman Gonzalez’s wrongful decision to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to impeach President Trump has undermined his ability to effectively represent the people of the 16th District,” Timken wrote in her statement.

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U.S. Attorney Departs, but HB 6 Investigation is Far from Over

The cruel fortunes of politics mean that David M. DeVillers stopped being the top federal law enforcement official for Southern Ohio on Sunday. But the attorney who last July announced the arrest of then-House Speaker Larry Householder, last week said the investigation that led to the arrest isn’t going anywhere. 

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U.S. Rep Warren Davidson May Challenge DeWine for Governor’s Office

Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) said Saturday he is looking closely at either a run for the U.S. Senate or a bid for the Ohio Governor’s chair in ’22.

“I have considered the Ohio Senate, you know, senator for the state of Ohio. I was surprised that Senator Portman wasn’t running.  And, look, it’s flattering to have my name come up in that race and frankly, in the governor’s race. So we’re taking a hard look at our options,” Davidson told FoxNews.

The Ohio Star interviewed one of Davidson’s top aides on Monday who confirmed the Congressman is looking at both races “he’s definitely looking at it; quite a few people have reached out and urged him to ‘please take a look at it,’ so he is.”

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Bill Would Increase Penalties for Crimes Against Ohio First Responders

Ohio police officers, firefighters and other first responders could soon have more protection while doing their jobs if a bill in Ohio Senate aimed at increasing penalties for crimes committed against emergency responders doing their jobs passes.

Senate Bill 16 also allows emergency responders to pursue civil action in certain circumstances, including false complaints made against them.

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Trump Endorses Former Advisor Max Miller over Impeachment Supporter Rep. Anthony Gonzalez

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Max Miller Friday to represent Ohio Congressional District 16 in Washington, D.C.

Miller is a former aide to the Trump White House and his campaign. Later, he became a senior advisor as the director of advance.  Miller announced his candidacy Friday.

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Ohio Sen. Portman Offers Minimum Wage Increase, Legal Worker Verification Plan in U.S. Senate

With plans to include a $15 minimum wage in President Joe Biden administration’s COVID-19 recovery proposal quashed by rules procedures, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has introduced his own wage hike.

Portman’s legislation calls for a more modest minimum wage increase to $10 an hour over the next four years and ties it to inflation every two years. It also ties the minimum wage to his recently introduced E-Verify Act legislation that helps ensure the increase goes only to legal workers.

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The Ohio Republican Party Chooses Bob Paduchik as Its Next Chairman

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) voted 53-11 on Friday to elect Bob Paduchik chairman over candidate John Becker.

Paduchik will replace Jane Timken who resigned just weeks following her mid-January re-election to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will not be sought by the incumbent and two-term winner Rob Portman (R-OH).

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The Ohio Republican Party Chooses Its Next Leader Friday

The Ohio Republican Party (ORP) will select its next leader Friday when the State Central Committee (SCC) members cast their votes for chairman.

SCC members will meet in person at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center or join the meeting virtually. The SCC currently has 65 members who are eligible to vote as opposed to their traditional roster of 66 – one seat is vacant. The Ohio GOP leader will be decided by a simple majority vote.

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Bill Would Remove Concealed Handgun Carriers’ Responsibility to Promptly Notify Ohio Officers

A bill before the Ohio House would eliminate the requirement for those carrying a gun to tell law enforcement officers they have it. Instead, they only would need to mention it if asked.

Rep. Scott Wiggam, R-Wayne County, said the state’s current law is unclear and its penalties are too harsh. His bill, House Bill 89, changes that.

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Georgia Senate Approves Election Reform Package, Including Absentee Ballot Signature-Match Overhaul

The Georgia Senate approved four measures Tuesday that make changes to the election process as a response to November’s presidential election.

Georgia gained national attention after a close presidential election prompted three recounts and lawsuits and threats from former President Donald Trump’s campaign and supporters. Several questions and allegations arose from Georgia’s absentee-ballot process.

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Ohio Donut Shop Calls Police on State Rep over COVID Concerns

In West Chester, a battle is raging after a donut shop called the police on a Republican state congresswoman who was holding an event inside their establishment. 

“We didn’t think we’d be a shop that would have to make a post like this, but here we are… Our staff in West Chester were bombarded with a large group of people for a Facebook event ‘Coffee Chat with Rep. Jennifer Gross’. This was NOT approved by us, nor did anyone call to tell us that this was happening,” Holtman’s Donut Shop said on it’s Facebook page.

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Lawmaker Wants to Stop Proposed Increases to Ohio Vehicle Registration Fees

Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed raising registration fees and other vehicle fees to fund the Ohio Highway Patrol, but one state representative thinks it’s the wrong time to increase any fees.

Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, has introduced amendments that eliminates DeWine’s planned increases from the transportation budget.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Orders Flags to be Lowered Until Friday at Sunset

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all United States and State of Ohio flags to be lowered Tuesday to half-staff on all buildings and public grounds throughout the state until sunset on Friday. The proclamation is in lockstep with the president of the United States who…

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Following Full Republican Support, Senate Bill to Establish Legislative Oversight of Governor’s and Agency Orders Now in Ohio House

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senate Bill to Establish Legislative Oversite of Governor’s and Agency Orders Now in Ohio House

Last Wednesday Ohio Senate Bill 22 (SB22) passed the upper chamber 25-8 – all Republicans were in favor, all Democrats opposed.

SB22 was introduced by primary sponsors Terry Johnson (R-District 14) and Rob McColley (R-District 1) and establishes legislative oversight to the Governor’s and health orders.  

In its original form, the bill granted the General Assembly authority to immediately rescind a public health state of emergency declaration along with rules and orders the Governor and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued related to a public a health state of emergency.

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Chances for Ohio Death Penalty Repeal Appear to be Growing

The biggest-ever bipartisan coalition on Thursday announced a renewed effort to repeal the death penalty in Ohio.

State Sen. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, and Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, hosted a virtual press conference to announce that they and three other Republican and four Democratic senators so far have said they will co-sponsor the repeal legislation. The measure also has bipartisan support in the House.

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Harlan Hill Commentary: With ‘Republicans’ Like Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Who Needs Democrats?

by Harlan Hill   Due to their Republican leadership, many great states like Florida are open for business while successfully managing and mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. The same cannot be said for Ohio: you’d be forgiven for mistaking its leadership as Liberal. Ohio is not open, as its Republican-in-name-only Governor…

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Former State Rep Who Brought Impeachment Against DeWine Announces Run for Ohio GOP Chair

Friday, former Ohio lawmaker John Becker, who represented Ohioans from House District 65 between 2013-2020, announced his candidacy for Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP).

The top spot in the Ohio GOP is open after former Chairwoman Jane Timken announced her resignation on February 5 to run for the U.S. Senate.

The Southwestern Ohio Republican declared his candidacy in a letter to the ORP State Central Committee that contained his resume.

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Cincinnati Border Patrol Seizes Cocaine Covered ‘Frosted Flakes’

Law enforcement in Cincinnati intercepted a creatively designed ploy to smuggle drugs into the country, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release. 

“On February 13, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati intercepted smuggled narcotics in a shipment of cereal originating from South America,” the release said. “The shipment contained about 44 pounds of cocaine coated corn flakes, which could have a street value of up to $2,822,400.”

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State Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Reimburse Fines and Expunge Records for Ohio Businesses

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) introduced a bill Wednesday that would both expunge the records of businesses cited for COVID violations and return fines and penalties paid. Upon its introduction, House Bill 127 was assigned to the House State and Local Government Committee on Thursday. HB127…

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Ohio Secretary of State Restricts Ballot Drop Boxes, ACLU Vows to Fight

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State is catching heat from liberal groups, despite allowing the state to proceed with absentee voting via drop boxes.

“Even though Ohio law does not explicitly provide for the use of secure receptacles, commonly known as ‘drop boxes,’ for an absentee voter to return their ballot to the director, this Directive, once again, provides for the continued use of secure receptacles outside of the boards of elections,” Frank LaRose (R) said in a February 12 directive. 

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In Announcement for U.S. Senate Bid Timken Untangles from Kasich, Binds to Trump

Jane Timken, former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP), announced Thursday she will seek the 2022 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that is currently occupied by Republican Rob Portman who announced last month he will retire from federal politics at the end of his current term.

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Nonprofit Law Center Fighting for Michigan Man Fired for Saying ‘All Lives Matter’

A legal nonprofit has taken the case of a Michigan man who was fired from his job for using the phrase “All Lives Matter,” according to a press release.

Rick Beaudin, a Re/Max realtor in Pinckney, Michigan, posted what he thought was an innocuous comment on Facebook, in a response to Black Lives Matter organizing a protest there. 

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Ohio Business Group Says Proposals to Raise State, National Minimum Wage Would be Harmful

While President Joe Biden’s administration continues a push to increase the national minimum wage and an Ohio proposal does the same, a statewide business group says an increase would mean higher prices, reduced hours and job cuts.

Biden’s plan for a $15 national minimum wage continues to be one of the sticking points in negotiations over another COVID-19 relief package. In Ohio, House Bill 69 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027.

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Economists Believe Ohio Must Do More to Help COVID-19 Recovery

A large majority of a panel of Ohio economists believes the $1 billion in spending proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine to lift the state from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be enough.

In a survey published by Scioto Analysis, a Columbus-based policy analysis organization, 20 of 23 Ohio economists believe the state needs to invest more to support small businesses, bars, restaurants, local infrastructure and residential broadband.

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Ohio Lawmakers Want School Assessment Testing Waived this Spring

Two Ohio lawmakers want students to concentrate on learning and not testing as they continue to return to the classroom.

State Reps. Adam Bird, R-New Richmond, and Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, have introduced a bill that removes the requirement for schools to administer state mandated tests this year. It follows similar bills that were passed last year that addressed the same issues during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ohio Senate Unanimously Passes a Ban on Taxing PPP Loans

Ohio businesses that benefitted from federal and state help during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are a step closer to not being forced to pay taxes on that aid.

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 18, which complies Ohio tax law with the federal code, streamlines the state’s tax filing process and makes sure money received during the pandemic will not be taxed.

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State of Ohio May Have Paid Fake COVID Claims Well in Excess of $330 Million

Scammers took nearly all of the $330 million in reported improper payments the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services made with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, Director Kimberly Henderson said earlier this month.  That amount was funneled, in part, through 56,000 fake claims which were identified in December.  There were also overpayments on legitimate claims.

But there may be more fraud – much more – that is not yet reported.

Whether the $330 million is from misappropriation that happened in December alone, or is a pile of results spanning several months, is unknown. Henderson said total losses will likely be pinpointed at the end of February.

“They should be able to pinpoint the amount weekly, or monthly,” said Ohio State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova). He continued, “we need to get checks and balances in place to ensure money isn’t stolen in the first place.”

One Ohio State Senator told The Ohio Star the Director has signaled to him that the amount of money lost in ODJFS processing is likely in the ballpark of $1B. 

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Lawsuits Filed Against Ohio Cities over Municipal Income Tax Collections During Pandemic

Two Ohioans filed lawsuits this week challenging Ohio tax law that allows cities to tax income of workers who, the lawsuits say, do not live in nor work in the municipalities.

The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational group, filed the lawsuits on behalf of Eric Denison and Josh Schaad against the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati. The lawsuits ask the court to declare unconstitutional Ohio law that allows cities to tax workers who do not live in and have not been working in those cities.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Lifts Curfew and Last Call Order

During his COVID briefing, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced the statewide curfew – which had been amended to begin at 11:00 p.m. from its original 10 o’clock start – expired Thursday and that he would not extend the order.

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Another Guilty Plea Entered in Ohio House Bill 6 Corruption Scandal

A nonprofit organization has become the latest to enter a guilty plea in a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme involving Ohio’s taxpayer-funded energy company bailout and the former speaker of the House.

Generation Now pleaded guilty in federal court, admitting it was used to funnel millions of dollars in bribes from a utility company to former Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, in relation to the passage of House Bill 6. In the plea agreement, Generation Now allowed the government to take nearly $1.5 million from two bank accounts and received five years of probation.

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Josh Mandel Announces Another Ohio Senate Run: ‘Sham Impeachment Has Made My Blood Boil’

The Ohio Star reported last week on the strong possibility of a Josh Mandel run for the U.S. Senate Seat vacated by Republican Rob Portman.

Wednesday morning Mandel confirmed – he’s in.

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Ohio Lawmakers Form Business First Caucus Aimed to Help Small Business

A group of Ohio lawmakers want to focus on the state’s below average ranking for economic performance by creating a bipartisan Business First Caucus.

The group, headed by state Sens. Mark Romanchuk, R-Ontario, and George Lang, R-West Chester, said it’s aimed at small businesses, staying at the center of major tax and regulatory reform while promoting ideas and legislation that positively impact small business in the state.

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AG Yost Reaches Nearly $25 Million Settlement with McKinsey for Role in Ohio’s Opioid Crisis

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has agreed to a settlement of nearly $25 million in a case with McKinsey & Co. for the company’s role in fueling and profiting from the opioid crisis in the state. 

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Ohio Statewide Curfew and Service Industry Revenue May Lift Thursday

During a COVID briefing last week Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the statewide curfew could be lifted as early as this week if COVID hospitalizations stayed below 2,500 for seven consecutive days.

Over the last week, inpatient beds filled with COVID confirmed and probable patients numbered as follows:

February 2:         2,486

February 3:         2,380

February 4:         2,251

February 5:         2,172

February 6:         2,026

February 7:         1,969

February 8:         2,012

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Ohio Lawmakers Again Try to Tackle New School Funding Framework

After spending years developing a new school funding plan and failing to get it through the General Assembly last year, Ohio lawmakers have put it back on the table in the new legislative session.

State Reps. Jamie Callender, R-Concord, and Bride Rose Sweeney, D-Cleveland, introduced the Fair School Funding Plan, legislation they said modernizes K-12 school funding across the state. It is nearly identical to the proposal that passed the House a year ago but stalled in the Senate as the session expired.

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