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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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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Ohio Governor DeWine Issues Statement Following Conviction of Former Police Officer in George Floyd Murder Trial

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Tuesday former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, Jr.

Soon after the jury released their verdict, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine released the following statement.

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Democratic Dayton Mayor Announces Bid for Ohio Governor

Nan Whaley

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Monday Nan Whaley, Democratic Mayor of Dayton, announced that she will run to be the next Governor of Ohio.

The Ohio Star received tips over the weekend that Whaley had already begun calling donors last week to raise money for the contest.

Whaley was elected Mayor of Dayton in 2013 and re-elected in 2017 when she was uncontested.

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Ohio’s Portman, Yost Voice Opposition to Expanding U.S. Supreme Court

Dave Yost

Saying a plan to increase the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court would question the court’s legitimacy, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has called on Congress to ignore any potential legislation that would expand and politicize the court.

Yost joined a growing group of attorneys general from around the country criticizing what they see as an attempt at “court packing” and throwing their support behind the bipartisan Keep Nine amendment currently in the U.S. House.

“The Court’s orders are followed because the Court is seen as legitimate – even when we don’t like a particular decision. Tampering with the Court to drive political outcomes will dismantle that legitimacy,” Yost said Thursday in a news release. “I support the Keep Nine amendment because it will forever take the threat of Court packing off the politicians’ table – Republicans or Democrats – and protect the court from politics.”

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House Republicans Offer Tax Cuts, School Funding Change in New Ohio Budget Proposal

Group of young students

Ohio House Republicans announced Tuesday they want to put the focus on funding the state’s schools and tax breaks.

The House Finance Committee accepted a substitute bill containing the House GOP’s version of a new two-year state budget, which also includes COVID-19 relief help for small businesses and more oversight of state spending.

“This is a thoughtful, structurally balanced and comprehensive budget plan that funds Ohio’s priorities and invests in Ohio’s future,” said Finance Committee Chair Rep. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton.

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Ohio Bill Would Reduce Requirements for School Districts to Arm Employees

Hand gun with ammunition

An Ohio lawmaker, whose father served a school resource officer who chased an active shooter from a building, wants to make it easier for school districts to arm its employees.

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced legislation that requires school employees to complete only concealed carry weapon training to be able to carry on gun on campus. School employees currently must complete more than 750 hours of peace officer training.

Conceal carry training is six hours of classroom instruction and two hours of on-range training.

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Election Board Says Gubernatorial Candidate’s 2020 Presidential Election Vote Cast, but Not Recorded in His History

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Last week a Republican primary candidate for the 2022 Ohio gubernatorial race uncovered that his vote in the 2020 Presidential Election was not reflected in his voter history on the Franklin County Board of Elections (FCBOE) website.

Joe Blystone, a Canal Winchester rancher and first-time political candidate, requested FCBOE investigate the matter.  FCBOE later determined that Blystone’s vote was cast but not recorded in his voter history. 

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Ohio Congressman Grills FBI’s Wray on Antifa Domestic Terrorism

During a Thursday House Intelligence Committee hearing regarding the federal government’s annual threat assessment result, an Ohio congressman held Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray’s feet to the fire over the threat posed by Antifa, a far-left group responsible for rioting, burning, and destruction in America’s cities over the past several years. 

Top Department of Justice leaders, including Wray’s FBI, have concluded that far-right “white supremacy” is a major terror threat in the United States, citing the Jan. 6 Capitol protest as justification.

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DeWine: Use Stimulus Money to Repay $1.5 Billion Federal Unemployment Loan

Believing the state’s economy continues to move in a positive direction, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine thinks it’s time for payback.

DeWine recently recommended the General Assembly use nearly a quarter of the expected $5 billion in federal stimulus money on its way to Ohio to repay loans the state needed to balance its unemployment compensation fund as jobless claims skyrocketed during the pandemic.

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Ohio Businessman Mike Gibbons Joins U.S. Senate Race

Mike Gibbons

Cleveland businessman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbons has officially entered the 2022 Senate race.

In his announcement, Gibbons stated that he can help others achieve their American Dream, because he did that for himself. He added that he’s never been a career politician. Instead, he described his journey as a self-made businessman who spent over 30 years helping local Ohio companies grow.

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EXCLUSIVE: Mike Gibbons Tells The Ohio Star Why He’s the Best Candidate for the U.S. Senate Job

Mike Gibbons announced Tuesday that he will run for the Ohio seat in the U.S. Senate up for grabs in 2022. A Cleveland Republican, Gibbons is an investment banker, entrepreneur and real estate investor who made his first bid for U.S Senate in 2018 when he competed in the Republican primary.
The Ohio Star talked with Gibbons Tuesday morning shortly after he announced his candidacy. His full press release can be viewed below.
“I’ve got five kids and five grandkids. I’ve never been more frightened for their future in my life,” Gibbons responded when asked why he’s running. “When I started, I didn’t know I’d do as well as I have. We were able to send our kids through college and grad school without loans – I started with nothing.”

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Local Control, Business-Energy Efforts at Odds with Proposed Ohio Legislation

Field of wind turbines

The decision over whether to build solar and wind turbine farms in Ohio could soon fall to local voters.

Two separate bills – one in the House and one in the Senate – would allow local townships to decide for themselves whether approved renewable energy projects will actually be built.

Under current law, solar farms or wind turbines can be built by developers once their project is approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board. According to the new bills, the application would instead be sent to the local board of trustees, who would then have 30 days to decide whether to allow the project, ask for public opinion, or put the matter to a vote of the people in the next election.

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Gas Tax Increase, Budget Cuts Give Ohio $2 Billion for Road Projects

Ohio Department of Transportation worker

Despite traffic on state highways, roads and bridges decreasing significantly in 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation expects to spend nearly $2 billion in the next year on nearly 1,000 projects.

Traffic volume fell by 15.5% during the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic limited road travel, ODOT said. More people worked from home. Stay-at-home health orders, capacity limits, business closures and statewide curfews also reigned in optional travel.

Despite the limited driving, which also leads to less fuel consumption and less taxpayer money available, ODOT pointed to a 2019 gas tax increase, along with budget cuts, for staving off what could have billon a $3 billion swing in taxpayer money for the department.

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Ohio State Reps Promise ‘Red Flag’ Legislation After Biden Executive Orders

Two members of the Ohio House of Representatives are promising legislation to implement “Red Flag” laws after President Joe Biden took executive action on gun control Thursday. 

Elections matter. Yesterday’s actions by [President Biden] are an important step forward in common-sense gun reform. In Ohio, [Rep. Bride Sweeney] & I are soon re-introducing our ‘red flag’ bill. We can #DoSomething to reduce all forms of gun violence in our communities,” state House Rep. Allison Russo (D-OH-24) said. 

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Ohio Judge: Health Dept Director Has No Authority to Issue Mask, Distancing and Other Orders

Ashland, Ohio – An Ohio judge ruled that the Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) does not have the authority to issue mask mandates, social distancing or other types of mandates since Ohio law does not give the agency such stated or implied authority.

Ashland County Common Pleas Judge Ron Forsthoefel wrote that the ODH only has ultimate authority in matters of isolation and quarantine – matters the legislature defined in Senate Bill22, the law enacted when the General Assembly overrode Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of the bill last month.

The case Forsthoefel judged involved Cattlemans Restaurant and the Ashland County Health Department – the latter which issued a cease and desist order against the restaurant for an alleged violation of the COVID-related Dine Safe Order.

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Ohio Secretary of State Has Serious Concerns About H.R. 1

While Congress continues to push toward voting law changes and efforts to federalize elections, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose continues to speak out in trying to protect states’ authority.

LaRose and the Ohio General Assembly were among the first a month ago to call attention to House Resolution 1, which LaRose said is a federal takeover of state-run elections.

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BREAKING: Former ODH Director Acton Will Not Run for U.S. Senate in 2022

Former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton released a statement Tuesday revealing that she will not seek the 2022 Ohio Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“It has been a tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run for the U.S. Senate. Like many of you, I have a profound reverence for the office, and for those who have answered the calling to public service,” wrote Acton

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Ohio Consolidates COVID Restrictions

Gov. Mike DeWine COVID press briefing

During the Monday COVID briefing Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud would release a consolidated order to simplify state-imposed COVID restrictions.

The “order does consolidate several orders and transfers important items we want to focus on into one order,” said McCloud. The crux of the order will be “the mask, staying in smaller groups, distancing from others, sanitizing.”

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DeWine Signs Partial Repeal of Ohio’s Controversial Nuclear Power Bailout

Nuclear power plant

A little more than eight months after the billion-dollar government bailout of the state’s nuclear energy industry led the arrest of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, Gov. Mike DeWine officially put it to rest.

DeWine signed House Bill 128 into law late Wednesday. It repeals the nuclear provisions of the infamous House Bill 6.

Gone is the bailout for the Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. Also eliminated was the ability for FirstEnergy to have its revenue levels relatively the same even during years when energy consumption decreases. HB 128 directed refunds of money already collected under the guarantee.

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Ohio ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Takes Effect Tuesday

State Senator Tim Schaffer

Senate Bill 175, which removes the duty to retreat in the event of a physical attack against a person or residence, will go into effect Tuesday. 

“For purposes of determining the potential liability of a person in a tort action related to the person’s use of force alleged to be in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of the person’s residence, the person has no duty to retreat before using force in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of that person’s residence,” the text of the bill says. 

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Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting Ohio’s New Minimum Standards

More than 500 agencies in Ohio have adopted the state’s new law enforcement minimum standards to be state certified, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

Ohio changed its standards after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last spring and the subsequent protests.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s 2021 Law Enforcement Certification Report showed 529 Ohio agencies have adopted fully the primary standards, which include new ones created last year. Eleven agencies are in the process of adopting and being certified.

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DeWine Signs $8.3B, Two-Year Ohio Transportation Budget

Highway with cars

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine praised the $8.3 billion state transportation budget he signed into law despite it missing the increased vehicle fees and massive cuts for public transportation he proposed.

The two-year budget, House Bill 74, provides money for road and bridge construction and maintenance, as well as other transportation priorities established by the committees in the House and Senate, along with DeWine.

“The budget ensures that we can continue to maintain and invest in Ohio’s roadways,” DeWine said Wednesday. “Ohio’s transportation system continues to be a critical part of our economy, moving materials and people safely across our state. This budget advances our commitment to invest in state and locally-maintained roadways.”

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Parents of Bowling Green Student Call for State and Federal Legislation to End Hazing After Son’s Death

Rodney Rogers of Bowling Green State University

The parents of a Bowling Green State University (BGSU) suggested that state and federal lawmakers should tackle the issue of hazing after their son, a fraternity member at the school, tragically died during an alleged hazing ritual.

Stone Foltz, who was pledging to become a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, died on March 4. His parents released the following statement:

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Planned Parenthood Sues Ohio over Telehealth Abortion Law

A pro-abortion group is taking the state of Ohio to court over a law that limits telehealth abortions, according to Thursday reports. 

“Planned Parenthood Federation of America and two of its Ohio affiliates on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health and prosecutors in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties to stop enforcement of a state ban on telemedicine abortion that was signed into law earlier this year,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. 

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Ohio to Pay Google $1.4M to Help Identify Unemployment Fraud

Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio continues to add resources to a public-private partnership to combat unemployment fraud, which the state says has cost taxpayers more than $200 million, and the newest additions are a pair of big names.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced recently a new agreement between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Google to conduct data analytics on all outstanding claims. The state will pay the tech company $1.4 million to use Google Analytics to help discover fraud.

“This is one of the first things the private sector group told me when they came in is drilling down on this data and doing it in a very sophisticated way,” DeWine said.

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Hollywood Goes to Bat Against Ohio Constitutional Carry Bill

george takei sulu

A Hollywood actor and internet activist has vowed to fight against Ohio’s HB 227, a constitutional carry bill that would allow residents of the state to exercise their Second Amendment rights more freely. 

“House Bill 227 in Ohio would ‘allow a licensee to carry concealed all deadly weapons that would otherwise be legal to possess, remove the requirement of a licensed gun owner to ‘promptly’ notify police of a gun in their car and allow anyone 21 and older to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license,’” Goerge Takei said on his Facebook page. 

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Reps. Jordan, McClintock Ask DHS for Communications Between Biden, Trump Administrations About Border Policy

U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) have sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas asking him to release communications about the transition between the Trump and Biden administrations in regard to immigration policy. 

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Ohio Priest Compares Jesus to George Floyd During Holy Week

It is Holy Week in the Catholic Church, the most sacred time of the year for that religion, and one Jesuit priest at Xavier University is using it to weaponize Jesus on behalf of progressive politics.

“Jesus Christ and Derek Chauvin are on trial this week. If the justice system lets Derek Chauvin walk free, then we will have chosen Barabbas over Christ once again,” Jesuit Regent David Inczauskis said on Twitter. 

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Commentary: Based on School COVID Testing, Ohio College Students Are at Low Risk

College students have had a new test to pass this school year; in fact it’s a test most have been required to pass more than once: the COVID-19 test. 

When school resumed in the Fall of 2020, every higher educational institution across the United States established their individual COVID protocol plans. The 3rd largest University in the nation, The Ohio State University, jumped right in with an aggressive testing model.

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Akron Man Wants Fentanyl Declared a Weapon of Mass Destruction

An Akron man whose son died of an overdose in 2015 is on a crusade to take fentanyl, a ultra-lethal drug manufactured mostly in China and by Mexican cartels, off the streets for good.

Motivated by his son’s tragic death, James Rauh founded an organization called Families Against Fentanyl, which is taking a unique approach to fighting the manufacture and import of that drug. 

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Six Ohio High School Teachers Won’t Face Charges After ‘Offensive’ Discussion of Student

Ohio Teachers caught on camera

Six high school teachers have been placed on leave, but will not face criminal charges, after a video of the two of those teachers surfaced in which they discussed the physical appearance of one of their students. 

“Rocky River police decided not to pursue charges against members of Rocky River High School staff placed on administrative leave after video surfaced on them talking about a student ‘in an inappropriate manner,'” Cleveland.com said. 

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Ohio State to Hire 50 Professors Focused on Social and Racial Justice

Ohio State President Kristina Johnson

Ohio State University recently announced it plans to hire 50 faculty members focused on addressing social equity and racial disparities.

The news comes as an economics professor and higher education watchdog calculated that the public university currently employs 150 diversity officials at a cost of $12 million annually.

In a 2021 state of the university address, President Kristina Johnson stated last month that she was encouraged by the Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities to hire 150 new faculty within a new initiative called RAISE, which stands for race, inclusion and social equity.

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Ohio House Sends Message to Michigan Governor to Keep Pipeline Open

The Ohio House has sent a message to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, urging her to abandon her plan to force a company to close a pipeline that could threaten Ohio energy supplies and jobs.

Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 in Ingham County Court demanding Enbridge Inc. cease Line 5 operations by May. The easement has been in place since 1953.

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DeWine Announces U.S. Atty Who Secured Indictments in $60 Million Bribery Case Has New Job with State of Ohio

David DeVillers is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio who secured an indictment against then-Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder and four others in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.

While Mike DeWine was Attorney General in 2018, he awarded DeVillers the Mark Losey Distinguished Law Enforcement Service Award.

This week the Republican Governor announced DeVillers will be joining a public-private partnership between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and a select group of talent on loan from a few of Ohio’s largest businesses.

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Ohio Legislature Passes Transportation Budget with Additional Allocations

The Ohio Senate approved more than $8 billion it hopes will spur both economic development and job growth while tackling the state’s transportation needs over the next two years.

The state’s proposed transportation budget passed the Senate unanimously Thursday with some adjustments made by the Senate, including additional money for public transportation, local road projects and emergency road repair. It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to reopen currently decommissioned weigh stations to serve as overnight parking areas for commercial truckers.

“This transportation budget makes critical investments in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima. “I am confident House Bill 74 will improve roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economy and promote job growth.”

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