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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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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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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Amy Acton Quits Columbus Foundation, Possible Move to Gear Up for U.S. Senate Run

Late last week, several media outlets reported Dr. Amy Acton resigned as Director of Human:Kind – a Columbus Foundation project – a move that feeds speculation she is preparing to run for US Senate in 2022. 

This is the third resignation by Acton in less than a year.

The first was when she left the post of Director at the Ohio Department of Health in June in the middle of the COVID pandemic and amidst rising opposition to the state’s COVID policies – mandates one judge called “arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive.”

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Gov. DeWine Can’t Say When Most Ohioans Can Expect to be Vaccinated

The pace of coronavirus vaccinations is accelerating in Ohio, but Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said it was still too early to say when non-priority Ohioans can expect to get a shot in the arm.

There was good news on the vaccine front, DeWine said during one of his regular coronavirus press conferences.

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Timken Leaves Ohio GOP Chairmanship for Likely Run at U.S. Senate

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jane Timken announced Friday her immediate resignation as Chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP).  The message came during a spur of the moment meeting of the Ohio Republican Central Committee during which Timken did not say whether she was leaving to pursue a seat in…

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Ohio Speaker Cupp Picks Committee Top Spots Rounding Out Leadership for 134th General Assembly

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As The Ohio Star reported, the House GOP chose Robert R. Cupp (R-Shawnee Twp.) to be the speaker of the house with Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) serving as speaker pro tempore. The majority leader is Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) with Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) serving as assistant majority leader. Also, Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport) will serve as majority whip and Representative Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) will act as assistant majority whip.

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Ohio Attorney General Announces Agreement to Stop Money Flowing from House Bill 6 to FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy has agreed to give up what could have been a $120 million windfall in 2021, and Ohio put on hold its ongoing lawsuit relating the state’s nuclear bailout law.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday what he called a “big win” for state consumers when the energy company said it would forego a provision in the law that guaranteed FirstEnergy the ability to recapture yearly profits based on its profit numbers from 2018.

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Hillary Clinton Signals Support for a Rep. Tim Ryan Run for U.S. Senate in 2022

U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) wasted no time expressing his interest in the U.S. Senate seat Republican Rob Portman announced he will not seek again in 2022. On January 25, the day of Portman’s announcement, Ryan said he was “looking seriously at it.”

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Ohio Democrat Admits Party ‘Can’t Understand’ Working Class Americans

A Democrat member of Congress from Ohio admitted in an interview published Tuesday that her party is out of touch with working class Americans. 

“They just can’t understand,” Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) told The Hill. “They can’t understand a family that sticks together because that’s what they have. Their loved ones are what they have, their little town, their home, as humble as it is — that’s what they have. Respect it. It was so insensitive.”

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Cleveland.com Praises DeWine Fundraising ‘Haul,’ Forgets About Campaign Debt

At the end of January, Cleveland.com praised Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) for a “record fundraising haul,” but buried an important part of the story in the process.

“As of Friday, DeWine’s campaign reported having more than $3.6 million in the bank after receiving more than $1.6 million since July 9, 2020, according to a filing with the Ohio secretary of state’s office,” the site said in a January 29 report, which was updated on January 31.

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Ohio GOP List of Replacements for Sen. Portman Long but Narrowing

Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs after the establishment Republican announced he would not run for re-election in 2022. Portman cited gridlock and more time with family as primary reasons driving his decision to step away from federal politics – ending his 33 year career since his first political job as a legal aid to President George H.W. Bush in 1989.

Following the announcement, the Ohio rumor mill swirled with talk about many prospective Republican replacements.

Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) is a strong Trump advocate and member of the House Freedom Caucus who has represented Ohio in D.C. since 2007. His spokesperson said the congressman was honored by the overwhelming support to run for U.S. Senate but is solely focused on representing Ohio’s Fourth District and would not be running.

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Two Ohio Representatives Float Bill to Create State Holiday Honoring Trump

Two Ohio state representatives are looking to create a state holiday in honor of former President Donald Trump.

State Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-40-Paris Township) and Jon Cross (R-83-Kenton) plan to introduce a bill that would make June 14, Trump’s birthday, a state holiday known as “President Donald J. Trump Day.”

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Ohio Guidance Counselor Sues to Stop Union Representation

A Northeast Ohio school guidance counselor filed a lawsuit to stop union representation, saying she’s not a member of the union and should not be forced to accept it.

Barbara Kolkowski, a counselor in the Ashtabula Area City School District, filed the complaint in Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas and wants a preliminary and permanent injunction that stops the union from requiring her to accept its representation.

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Judge Throws Out Cincinnati Teachers Union Lawsuit to Halt In-Person Learning in Cincinnati Public Schools

The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) filed an injunction in Hamilton County Municipal Court last Friday to stop Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) from conducting in-person learning.

The union, which represents 3,000 teachers, claims classroom learning is unsafe until all teachers have received both rounds of the COVID vaccine.  

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Lawmaker Wants to Make Ohio Second Amendment Sanctuary State

An Ohio lawmaker says he wants to make sure the rights of gun-owners and those who want to own guns are a priority and that the federal government cannot infringe on those rights.

State Rep. Mike Loychik, R-Bazette, plans to introduce legislation in the General Assembly next week that would, if passed and signed, make Ohio a second amendment sanctuary state, joining Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Kansas.

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