Ohio Senators Portman and Brown Sponsor Senate Version of Bill Expanding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Ohio’s two U.S. senators this week proposed a Senate bill making full-time students eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. 

U.S. Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2) and Danny Davis (D-IL-7) introduced a House version of the measure earlier this week. The proposed change to the program would make LIHTC, which provides tax relief to developers who build or rehabilitate low-cost rental units, allow full-time students to live on sites that were funded by the credit. The current prohibition on such students living in those buildings was intended to prevent LIHTC from aiding the construction of dormitories. 

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Ohio Church to Host Holiday Children’s Story Time with Drag Queens

LGBTQ rights activists have scheduled a Holi-drag Storytime, a faction of Drag Queen Story Hour, geared towards small children as young as two years old for next weekend in Central Ohio.

The event is scheduled to be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus on December 3rd and is being marketed as an annual LGBTQ+ holiday tradition for the entire family.

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Ohio Holiday Activities to Explore with the Family

With Thanksgiving now over and winter rapidly approaching, Ohio is full of vibrant holiday villages, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, and activities for the whole family to participate in.

Whether enveloped in snow, aglow with hundreds of lights, or deliciously decorated Ohio is a wonderland of magical holiday traditions no matter what area of the state you are visiting. Outside of classic Christmas tree lighting’s, sleigh rides, and gingerbread houses Ohio is full of unique activities to make the season memorable.

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Columbus City Council Holds First Public Hearing on ‘Common Sense’ Gun Legislation

Columbus City Council members Shayla Favor, Emmanuel Remy, and Council President Shannon Hardin hosted a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the proposed “common-sense” gun reform legislation to reduce gun violence.

Democratic leaders Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and City Attorney Zach Klein, and Assistant Police Chief Greg Bodker also participated in the hearing which came after Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Steven McIntosh sided with the city of Columbus in a ruling that deals in part with Ohio’s “preemption” laws, which forbid cities and other political subdivisions from regulating firearms.

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Ohio Congressman Wenstrup Sponsors Bill to Expand Housing Availability for Homeless Veterans and Students

U.S. Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-2) and Danny Davis (D-IL-7) this week introduced a measure to assist homeless veterans, foster youth and others in obtaining affordable housing as they seek college degrees. 

Wenstrup and Davis hope to change the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which lightens the tax burden on developers constructing or rehabilitating low-cost rental units. Currently, LIHTC does not permit full-time students to avail themselves of LIHTC-funded housing sites. This restriction was written to prevent the tax credit from funding dormitory buildings. 

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Ohio Supreme Court Halts State’s Attempt to Collect More Taxes from NASCAR

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday morning that revenue earned by NASCAR from selling the rights to broadcast stock car races and merchandise to Ohio fans is not subject to state business taxes.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rejected the Ohio Tax Commissioner, Jeffrey McClain’s, order that NASCAR owes the state almost $550,000 for money earned from broadcasting races, online marketing, and sponsorship fees.

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Ohio Supreme Court Dismisses Case on Governor DeWine’s Halt to Additional COVID Unemployment Benefits

The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a case on if Governor Mike DeWine had the authority to cut off an extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits.

Justices dismissed the case as “moot.” Without a court order requiring the federal government to keep these additional unemployment benefits, it was unclear if the money still existed.

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Ohio Senators Propose Increasing Penalties for Disrupting Religious Services

State lawmakers are proposing stiffer penalties in cases where an individual disrupts a religious service. The measure passed the Ohio House in April and is now progressing through the Senate.

In a hearing of the Judiciary Committee last week. Mike Rodgers, director of policy and legislation from the Attorney General’s office put forward the concept behind the “Sacred Spaces Act.”

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Ohio Republican Senator Changes Course on Red Flag Proposal, Adds New Restraints

Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) has taken a step back from his initial plan to establish a red flag law in Ohio. He instead proposed, during legislative committee, a restriction on future gun purchases after a judge deems a person is a threat to themselves or others despite opposition from gun rights activists.

Senate Bill (SB) 357 originally aimed to add extreme risk laws, commonly known as red flag laws, to supposedly “protect the public and the gun owner” by temporarily removing a firearm from someone deemed by a judge to be suffering from a severe mental health condition.

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Ohio Attorney General Yost to Host Anti-Trafficking Summit in January

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) will host his Fourth Annual Human Trafficking Summit next January 26 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. 

Seventeen workshops will take place at the event, including examination of the trauma inflicted on trafficking survivors, best practices for serving those who have endured such crimes, discussion of why individuals solicit sex and review of state policies to reduce the demand for labor trafficking.

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Ohio Senate Republicans Aim to Clarify Women’s Health Exemptions on Six-Week Abortion Ban

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said after feedback from medical professionals, Republicans in the Ohio Senate are working to clarify language on the six-week limits on  abortion.

According to Huffman, they are working to clarify definitions regarding the health and life of the mother. The new limit known as the “heartbeat bill,” prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is at about six weeks of pregnancy.

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Ohio House Passes Bill to Close Loophole that Can Shield Bad Educators from Investigations

The Ohio House has approved legislation that will close a loophole in disciplinary investigation procedures for teachers and school employees.

House Bill (HB) 403 sponsored by Representatives Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Ashtabula) and Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) aims to close a loophole enabling a teacher or school employee who retires under threat of disciplinary investigation or termination to avoid further investigation. Under this bill school districts would report these teachers to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) even if they retire.

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Air Force Selects 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio for Air National Guard’s First Cybersecurity Wing

Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) this weekend welcomed an announcement by Air Force Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr. that the Air Force is formally designating the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield as the first wing of its cybersecurity mission.

The Air Force and the National Guard Bureau made the designation after analyzing the possibility for the past year. In August 2021, the Air Force publicized its assessment that the north-central Ohio wing was the frontrunner to become the initial cyberspace-mission site. The new mission will be oriented toward protecting aircraft and weaponry software systems from attacks and other risks. It will bring in 175 new high-technology staff positions which DeWine touted as an important step in making the Buckeye State a more high-profile venue for the science, mathematical, engineering and cybertechnology fields. 

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Ohio Bill Would Help Rural Lawyers Repay Student Loans

The Ohio House of Representatives wants to spend $3 million the next two fiscal years to help rural lawyers pay off their student loans.

The Rural Practice Incentive Program, passed by the House, would reduce the student loan debt on prosecutors and public defenders in most rural Ohio communities. The $3 million, according to the Ohio Legislative Commission, would be set aside for the first two years, and the overall cost would be determined by the number of participants in the program.

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Republican Matt Huffman Unanimously Re-Elected as Ohio Senate President

Ohio Senator Matt Huffman, (R-Lima) will once again serve as President of the Ohio Senate for the 135th General Assembly after a unanimous vote Tuesday, as reported by a release from the Senate.

Huffman was first elected to the Ohio Senate in 2016. He was re-elected to a second term in 2020 when he previously served as Senate President during the 134th General Assembly and prior to that as Majority Floor Leader. This follows his serving four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives building up to his election as Speaker Pro Tempore.

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Ohio Republican Leaders Propose Legislation Increasing Threshold for Citizen-Led Ballot Initiatives

Ohio Republicans introduced a new resolution on Thursday that would require citizen-led constitutional amendments to gain a 60 percent supermajority at the ballot for passage.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose and State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) initiated the “Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment,” which they say is designed to help protect the Ohio Constitution from continued misuse by special interest and out-of-state activists.

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Ohio Right to Life Files Complaint to State Medical Board

A complaint has been filed with the State Medical Board of Ohio over a patient who was reportedly denied proper health care while experiencing a miscarriage.

Medical professionals at an Ohio hospital had reportedly cited the state’s abortion laws for delaying health care. However, Ohio law does not prevent doctors from taking action when a patient’s life or health is at risk.

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Ohio Senator Brown Asks Postal Service to Address Armed Robberies

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on Thursday announced he sent the United States Postal Service (USPS) the second of two letters asking for stronger measures against postal robberies. 

Brown originally wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Inspector General Whitcomb Hull a month ago asking them to redeploy Postal Police Officers to patrol along mail-carrier routes and at USPS collection sites. He said he received no response and therefore wrote to the USPS Board of Governors this week urging them to reinstitute the patrols. 

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Schools Across Ohio Targeted by Hoax Reports of Active Shooters

False reports of active shooters in 9 high schools in Ohio led administrators to initiate temporary lock downs on Wednesday.

A growing trend, putting a strain on resources across the state, prompted large police responses at schools in Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Lima, Findlay, Ashtabula, and Summit County.

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Ohio Secretary of State Looks to Identify Areas for Improvement in Ohio Elections

One week after another successful statewide election, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is taking action to keep Ohio ahead of the curve.

Beginning immediately, The Secretary of State’s Office will work in conjunction with Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to conduct an After-Action Review (AAR) of the statewide 2022 midterm election to evaluate overall performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

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Ohio GOP Bill Seeks Overhaul of State Education System and Board of Education

A new bill introduced by Ohio Senate Republicans aims to “restructure” Ohio’s State Department of Education, create a new administrative division under the governor’s office, and reduce the duties of the state Board of Education.

Senate Bill (SB) 178, sponsored by Senator Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) was introduced in the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill seeks to “improve the academic achievement and workforce skills of our students, to drive better outcomes in their education, and to prepare for more effective career readiness,” Reineke told the committee.

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Governor DeWine Announces New Outdoor Recreation Projects Across 62 Counties

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) director Mary Mertz have awarded $1.7 million in grants to help support dozens of new outdoor recreation projects in local communities throughout the state.

“We are excited to help communities all over Ohio create fun, safe, and inclusive outdoor recreation opportunities. These grants help local parks improve and upgrade their outdoor spaces for citizens of Ohio,” Governor DeWine said.

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Ohio Senate Passes Bill Expanding College-Savings Deduction

The Ohio state Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation to permit more families to take advantage of an income-tax deduction that incentivizes saving for college. 

The measure sponsored by Senators Jay Hottinger (R-OH-Newark) and Andrew Brenner (R-OH-Delaware) applies the deduction to all savings programs nationwide established under Section 529 of the federal Internal Revenue Code. Current law allows Ohioans to take the deduction only for contributions to Ohio’s own 529 program.

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New Legislation to Help Victims of Human Trafficking Scheduled for Hearing

A pair of bills to aid human trafficking victims are scheduled for hearings at the Ohio Statehouse this week, with support to be given by numerous groups of human rights activists.

“Human trafficking victims often are compelled by their traffickers into prostitution, soliciting, and a wide range of other offenses through no fault of their own. Convictions for these offenses prevent human trafficking victims from getting housing, jobs, or professional accreditation,” the Director of Abolition Ohio and Director of advocacy at the University of Dayton Human Rights Center Tony Talbott said.

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Ohio Attorney General Announces Preliminary Agreement with Walmart on Opioid Addiction Liability

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) announced on Tuesday that he and 15 other state attorneys general have negotiated a preliminary deal with the multinational retailer Walmart, from which Ohio would get $114 million for opioid recovery programs.

The $3.1 billion national agreement comes after Yost and other prosecutors sought accountability for what they characterize as the superstore’s failure to safely and securely dispense high-strength prescription pain relievers through its more than 5,100 pharmacies across America. Other state prosecutor’s offices who worked alongside him include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee and Texas.
The agreement comes after Yost and other prosecutors sought accountability for what they characterize as the superstore’s failure to safely and securely dispense high-strength prescription pain relievers through its more than 5,100 pharmacies across America. Other state prosecutor’s offices who worked alongside him include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee and Texas.

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Ohio Lawmakers Prepare for the First Week of Lame-Duck Session

After taking a break over the summer and part of the fall for the general election, lawmakers are returning to the Ohio Statehouse to consider many different bills before the two-year session of this general assembly ends in December.

The committees and floor votes which occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, work to conclude urgent or unfinished bills that lawmakers have introduced. Once the session ends, lawmakers will either overlook or reject the bills and legislators, returning incumbents, and newly-elected officials will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

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Marijuana Decriminalization Ballot Measures Approved in Five Ohio Cities

Activists in the state have been working to enact local cannabis reform over recent election cycles. While decriminalization did not qualify for every municipal ballot that advocates targeted for 2022, six Ohio cities voted on policy changes.

Five of the six Ohio cities approved local marijuana decriminalization ballot initiatives during the midterm election.

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Ohio Board of Education Votes in Favor of Resolution to Reject LGBTQ Additions to Title IX

The Ohio Board of Education’s executive committee voted in favor Monday to move forward with a resolution that could reject proposed changes to broaden the definition of sex-based harassment and discrimination to include gender identity and sexual orientation for LGBTQ students.

The committee voted 5-2 to move ahead with the amendment. With the executive committee’s vote, the entire Ohio Board of Education will debate and potentially voted on the resolution on Tuesday.

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Death-Penalty Opponents Want Abolition Bills Passed Before Ohio Session Ends

Death-penalty abolitionists in Ohio this week are organizing a campaign to persuade lawmakers to end capital punishment in their State. 

The nonprofit No Death Penalty Ohio is hosting letter-writing parties in various cities throughout the week in support of a state House bill and an identical state Senate bill to ban executions. While Republicans often support capital punishment and control both legislative chambers, the bills have some GOP support. State Senator Stephen Huffman (R-Dayton) is cosponsoring the Senate measure alongside Senator Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) while Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) is spearheading the House legislation with Representative Adam Miller (D-Columbus). 

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Ohio Mother’s Group Against Legislation to Regulate Non-Licensed Community Midwives

A group of mothers and home-birth activists are speaking out in opposition to a bill in the Ohio legislature that would regulate non-licensed community midwives.

A group of 1,200 Ohioans, who call themselves Dayton Natural Parenting say they are watching House Bill (HB) 496 closely and are working with many Ohio midwives to spread awareness to their clients about the potential repercussions if this bill passes in the state.

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Ohio Think Tank Asks Court to Kill EPA’s Electric Vehicle Mandate

Joining an effort to kill a new Biden-administration regulation to advance the manufacture of electric vehicles, the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute filed a brief against the rule in federal court last week. 

In so doing, the pro-free-market think tank joined the state of Texas and other petitioners in asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to throw out tightened greenhouse-gas emission standards. The Environmental Protection Agency designed the new standards last year to further President Joe Biden’s objective to make all newly manufactured vehicles in the U.S. electric-powered by 2030. 

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Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Paduchik Won’t Seek Re-Election

Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Bob Paduchik announced that he won’t seek reelection as state party chairman following a GOP sweep of statewide offices.

“I will not run for reelection for the chairmanship of the Ohio Republican Party. It is time for a new leader to take leadership of the party and I look forward to the January election of ORP officers,” Paduchik wrote in a letter to members of the Ohio Republican Party’s governing body.

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Ohio Bill Would Simplify the Process of Overturning Wrongful Convictions

If legislation introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives becomes law, the state would simplify the process of overturning wrongful convictions.

Twenty-one House members co-sponsored House Bill 738, introduced by State Reps. David Leland, D-Columbus, and Paula Hicks-Hudson, D-Toledo.

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Governor DeWine Announces 50 New Traffic Safety Projects in Ohio

Ohio Governor MikeDewine and The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) director Dr. Jack Marchbanks announced details on 50 new traffic projects which they say will increase safety in Ohio.

The 50 projects will equate to $121 million dollars and will address safety concerns in 32 counties across the state.

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ADAMHS Board to Install Narcan Vending Machines in Northeast Ohio

In order to help prevent fentanyl overdoses and lower the death toll in Northeast Ohio the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) board are to install narcan vending machines throughout Cuyahoga County in the upcoming week.

In the next week, the board is rolling out five narcan vending machines across Cleveland and is also working on putting more than 400 weather-resistant narcan cabinets in public parks in the near future.

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Columbus Leaders Announce New Proposal on Gun Restrictions

Democratic leaders in Columbus proposed new legislation on Thursday to extend gun restrictions in the city.

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Attorney Zach Klein, and City Council President Shannon G. Hardin announced their proposition of “common sense” laws to reduce gun violence.

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Newly Elected Ohio State Representative Beth Lear to Champion Protecting Ohio Families and Economic Concerns

A new electee in the Ohio statehouse, Republican Beth Lear, says she will advocate for Ohio families, protect constitutional rights, address economic concerns, and restore integrity in education upon assuming office.

Lear, secured the position of State Representative for District 61 during the midterm election with 59% of the vote.

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Both Sides in Abortion Debate Plan Legislative Pushes in Ohio

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate see Ohio’s elections earlier this week as reason to seek change. 

In 2019, Republican Governor Mike DeWine signed the Heartbeat Act to protect unborn life in cases when doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat. The act’s fate is now tied up in the courts but pro-lifers have reason for optimism that the law will be upheld as Republicans maintained control of the Ohio Supreme Court by sweeping the judicial elections this year. 

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Ohio Lawmakers Look to Crack Down on ‘Hooning’

Ohio lawmakers proposed a new bill to curb reckless driving in the state.

State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Kevin Miller (R-Newark) introduced House Bill (HB) 740, which would prohibit hooning on public roads or private property open to the public. Other things the bill would prohibit are speed racing, performing dangerous 360-degree “donuts,” and allowing passengers to ride outside of open windows.

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Bill Likely to Come Up in Lame-Duck Session Could Require Ohio Voters to Have a Photo ID

A bill to make changes in Ohio voting laws has potential to be brought up by Republican lawmakers in the upcoming lame-duck legislative session. The bill would require a photo ID for nearly all Ohio voters.

Representative Bill Seitz (R-OH-30) already has a bill, in the Government Oversight Committee, House Bill (HB) 249 to create online ballot requests with two forms of ID, to limit the locations and window of time for ballot dropboxes, and to shorten the period to request early ballots.

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Ohio’s Buckeye Institute Takes Stand Against Vandalism by Unions

The Columbus-based Buckeye Institute submitted a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of cement manufacturer Glacier Northwest’s argument that workers’ unions cannot claim vandalism their members commit during labor disputes is “protected activity.”

Last December, the Supreme Court of the state of Washington, in which Glacier is based, ruled that employers could not invoke state law to sue labor organizations over some acts of vandalism committed during strikes which the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects. 

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Ohio Lawmaker Proposes Bill Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccination Discrimination in Schools

An Ohio lawmaker introduced a bill that would prohibit a public or private school from discriminating against an individual based on COVID-19 vaccination status.

Republican Representative Scott Lipps (R-OH-62) put forward House Bill (HB) 739 earlier this month. Although the state does not mandate COVID-19 vaccines in schools, Lipps said HB 739 is a preemptive measure for future law changes.

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Ohio Easily Passes Constitutional Amendment to Bar Noncitizens from Voting

Ohio voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a state constitutional amendment, Issue 2, to ban noncitizens from voting.

It was one of many ballot initiatives dealing with election integrity in this year’s elections. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Issue 2 had passed with 77.1% support from Ohioans with more than 92% of the vote counted.

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Ohio Election Day Roundup: Results for National Elected Offices, State Offices, and Statewide Ballot Issues

After a long campaign season for the Ohio midterm election, voting numbers from county boards of elections are pouring in and being added to the unofficial results on the Ohio Secretary of State’s Website.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State, results are unofficial until they have been reviewed and certified once the official canvass has been completed by November 29th.

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Ohio State Highway Patrol Seizes 220 Pounds of Illegal Cocaine in Central Ohio

Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Troopers seized 99,790.3 grams of cocaine at a traffic stop in Central Ohio which is enough to kill 15,352 people. According to The Recovery Village, a lethal dose of cocaine is about 6.5 grams.

Madison County troopers seized the lethal drugs during a traffic stop of a vehicle for a following too-close violation on Interstate 70. The OSHP says that when they stopped the U-Haul truck which had Arizona registration, they observed “criminal indicators” and a drug-sniffing k-9 detected possible contraband which warranted a probable cause search of the vehicle.

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Vance Wins Ohio Senate Seat

Ohio Republican J.D. Vance prevailed in his race Tuesday against U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) for the U.S. Senate seat from which Republican Rob Portman is retiring this year. 

With 95 percent of the state’s voting precincts reporting at 11:15 p.m. on Election Night, Vance was beating Ryan 53.63 percent to 46.37 percent and NBC News called the race for the Republican. Vance thus secured a key victory for his party’s effort to retake the Senate majority. The win by the attorney, author and venture capitalist also boosts the wing of the GOP most favorable toward former President Donald Trump who enthusiastically endorsed Vance earlier this year.

With 58.27 percent of the state’s 8,933 voting precincts reporting at 10 p.m. on Election Day, Vance was beating Ryan 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent. The Republican thus appeared to secure a key victory for his party’s effort to retake the Senate majority. The projected win by the attorney, author and venture capitalist also boosts the wing of the GOP most favorable toward former President Donald Trump who enthusiastically endorsed Vance earlier this year.

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Ohio Secretary of State Readies Voters, Officials for Busy Election Day

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is making one last push to inform Ohioans of important voter information prior to their final opportunity to cast a ballot.

The Ohio secretary of state’s office indicates that there is only one official source for Ohio election information, which is voteohio.gov. To ensure all voters have the correct information ahead of Election Day, LaRose urges voters to only utilize voteohio.gov as an official resource for vital and accurate election information including finding a polling location, voter ID requirements, sample ballots, absentee ballot tracking, support for voters with disabilities, and election results.

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Ohio Election Eve Roundup: Statewide, District, County, and Municipal Races to Watch

Ohio are set to choose their next governor, U.S. senator, and three seats for the state supreme court this election cycle.

The big-ticket race in Ohio is to fill the U.S. Senate seat left open by retiring Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). Republican nominee J.D. Vance was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and he is currently in a tight race with Democratic Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH-13).

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U.S. Senate Hopefuls Vance and Ryan Tour Central Ohio on Election Day

Both Ohio Senate candidates Democrat Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) and Republican J.D. Vance are making stops in central Ohio as the two vie for votes in the closing hours of Election Day

Both candidates projected confidence as they canvassed the state in the final days of Ohio’s U.S. Senate race. The candidates spent their weekend urging supporters to get out and vote.

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