Ohio Governor DeWine Asks for Family and Education Policy Changes in State of the State Address

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine proposed major expansions of various social programs in his 2023 State of the State address to legislators in Columbus on Tuesday.

The Republican governor called on lawmakers to enact a variety of new policies to aid families through the budget for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025. Those requests include allowing parents who adopted children from private agencies to access Medicaid coverage and expanding a home-visit program providing health assistance to expectant mothers. 

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Republican Think Tank Leader Matt Mayer Announces Exploratory Campaign for Ohio Governor in 2026

Republicans swept the statewide positions, beginning with the governor, in the November general election. However, a probable Republican candidate for the upcoming 2026 election for governor has already been identified.

Former president of the conservative policy organization Buckeye Institute, Matt Mayer now serves as president of Opportunity Ohio. Due to the time and resources required to create that campaign, he has decided to launch an exploratory campaign for the Republican nomination for governor in 2026.

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Parent Educational Freedom Act Reintroduced in Ohio Senate

Republican State Senator Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula) has reintroduced the Parental Education Freedom Act. The measure would make each student in the state eligible for an Educational Choice (EdChoice) Scholarship to be used at a private school of their choice, or an increased tax credit for expenses related to homeschooling.

O’Brien introduced this legislation during the lame-duck session last month as SB 368 however, the legislation did not progress before the start of the 135th General Assembly so she had to reintroduce it. 

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Newly Signed Ohio Bill Expands Afterschool Enrichment Accounts

A $6 billion spending bill that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) signed on Friday expands a program assisting parents and guardians with supplemental education purchases.

The ACE Educational Savings Account program previously bestowed a $500 credit on families seeking to purchase enrichment materials or services to help their children get past the learning setbacks caused by the COVID-19 school shutdowns. The new legislation raises the credit to $1,000. 

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Ohio Enacts Universal Occupational License Recognition

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) on Sunday signed legislation allowing Ohioans who acquired occupational licenses in other states to utilize their credentials in the Buckeye State.

Eighteen states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, already recognize occupational licenses that their residents received elsewhere. For years, a coalition of free-market organizations, including the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute, have urged Ohio lawmakers to adopt the same policy to ease burdens on workers and make the state more economically competitive. 

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Report: Ohio Ranks in America’s Bottom 20 States for Economic Freedom

A new report from several free-market think tanks ranks Ohio 35th out of the 50 states in terms of economic freedom. 

The Columbus-based Buckeye Institute issued the Economic Freedom of North America 2022 report in collaboration with the Canadian Fraser Institute, the Puerto Rican Instituto de Libertad Económica and the Mexican Caminos de la Libertad. The study factors in government spending levels, taxation and labor-market flexibility when ranking all states and provinces across the continent. 

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Ohio Public Employees Sue AFSCME, Other Unions over Forced Dues Payments

Ten Ohio public employees this week sued in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to stop labor unions from drawing money from their paychecks.

Lead plaintiff Lukas Darling worked in property enforcement for the Boardman Township Planning and Zoning Department and resigned as a member of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) two years ago. The other nine petitioners have worked either in public schools or at a state agency. Each resigned as a member of either AFSCME, the Ohio Association of Public School Employees or the Ohio Education Association.  

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Jobs Report: Ohio Lags Behind Nation

Ohio continues to lag behind the rest of the United States in terms of employment according to a report released Friday by the state Department of Job and Family Services.

The data showed unemployment in the Buckeye State remained at 4.2 percent in November, the same as the prior month’s level and a half a point behind the nationwide 3.7-percent rate. 

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Ohio Legislative Committee Approves Universal License Recognition Bill

Advocates for occupational licensing reform successfully urged an Ohio House panel on Tuesday to unanimously pass a Senate bill to recognize professional certifications awarded by other states.

Eighteen states, varied in their politics and geography, already recognize out-of-state licenses for most professions, including neighboring Pennsylvania. These universal-recognition laws all require the licensee to have current permission to work in his or her state and have no pending professional disciplinary matters or disqualifying criminal records. Licensees remain subject to any fees or testing required by their adopted states. 

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Coalition Backs Universal License Recognition in Ohio

A coalition of free-market associations sent an open letter on Tuesday to Ohio’s state lawmakers encouraging them to enact universal occupational license recognition, meaning the Buckeye State would honor professional certifications issued in other states. 

Message signers included leaders of Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, the Buckeye Institute, the Goldwater Institute, the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform. The organizations observed that the state’s population is declining and that it will continue to do so if pro-market reforms aren’t made to attract new workers, including universal license recognition. Numerous states, including Arizona and North Carolina, generally accept credentials obtained elsewhere by people moving into those states. 

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Ohio State Senate Passes Bill Reducing Training for Cosmetologist and Barber Licenses

State Republican lawmakers are moving a bill forwards that aims to reduce the amount of required training it would take to get a cosmetology and barber license.

House Bill (HB) 542 sponsored by state Representatives Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) began as a piece of legislation aimed to create a unified barbering/cosmetology school license, to eliminate duplicative applications for facilities that teach both cosmetology and barbering and to lower the age of applicants for barber school to 16 years old.

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Free-Market Think Tank Backs Bill Lightening Occupational Licensure Burden, Urges Further Reform

In the view of an Ohio conservative think tank, the Buckeye State should enact a bill the House passed, and the Senate is now considering to pare back licensure burdens for many professionals. 

Greg R. Lawson, a research fellow at the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute, testified this week before the Ohio Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee in favor of the bill. He added he believes the state should pursue further reform even after the legislation passes the Senate and receives Governor Mike DeWine’s signature. 

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Ohio Senate Passes Major Criminal Justice Reforms

The Ohio Senate voted 27-2 on Wednesday in favor of a criminal justice reform bill that aims to change how quickly inmates can earn time off of their prison sentences, expand immunity from prosecution for minor drug possession offenses, and strengthens penalties for domestic violence offenders.

Senate Bill (SB) 288 sponsored by Senator Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) aims to provide alternative services to people in lieu of jail or prison or to divert people from an already overburdened prison system.

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Republican State Senator Introduces Bill Granting Educational Freedom to Ohio Students

An Ohio lawmaker introduced legislation on Tuesday to the General Assembly to expand schooling options for Ohio children.

Senate Bill (SB) 368, sponsored by State Senator Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula), known as the Parental Education Freedom Act, would make each student in the state eligible for an Educational Choice (EdChoice) Scholarship to be used at a private school of their choice, or an increased tax credit for expenses related to homeschooling.

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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’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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Study: Ohio Outside of Capital Area Is Losing Population

A new study released this week by a Columbus-based nonprofit observed that, with the exception of Ohio’s capital city and its surrounding suburbs, the Buckeye State is losing population.

The paper by the Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC), titled “Ohio + Columbus: A Tale of Two States,” posits that “much of Ohio functions like a legacy state rather than a rapidly growing place.” In other words, many places in the state experienced manufacturing booms a century ago but have seen industrial activity quickly decline in recent decades. 

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Ohio’s Buckeye Institute Urges Circuit Court to Kill Biden Tax Mandate

The Columbus-based Buckeye Institute this week filed an amicus brief in the federal court case challenging the authority the Biden administration has asserted to limit state tax-reduction efforts. 

Opponents of the White House policy are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to rule in Texas v. Yellen that a provision of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) cannot condition states’ receipt of federal aid on accepting “ambiguous” federally prescribed tax policy. Plaintiffs and their supporters further argue that President Joe Biden and his Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cannot invoke their regulatory power to fix ARPA’s lack of clarity.

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Buckeye Institute Disputes Expanded Municipal Taxing Authority in Ohio on Behalf of Blue Ash Resident

A Columbus-based think tank this week filed its legal response in the Ohio Supreme Court in defense of a Blue Ash man who believes the state cannot make him pay Cincinnati income taxes for a period of time he actually worked from home. 

The Buckeye Institute argued that a state law passed in March 2020 to allow jurisdictions encompassing an “employee’s principal place of work” to levy taxes on that worker even when he or she works from home is unconstitutional. Specifically, the institute notes that the federal Constitution’s dormant commerce clause in Article I, Section 8 disallows states to enact statutes that “unduly burden interstate commerce.” Buckeye attorneys also believe the Ohio Constitution constrains lawmakers’ ability to broaden cities and towns’ tax-collection power. 

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Ohio Think Tank Wins Lawsuit for D.C. Tavern Against COVID Mandate

A Columbus, Ohio-based think tank this week prevailed in an administrative case on behalf of a Washington, D.C. tavern owner against D.C.’s since-rescinded mandate forcing indoor establishments to require that patrons wear masks and submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The Buckeye Institute handled the matter for Eric Flannery, a Navy veteran and co-proprietor of The Big Board, a bar and grill operating three blocks east of Washington’s Union Station. Despite the city’s mask and vaccine-card rules, Flannery announced that “everyone is welcome” at his restaurant. This winter, the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) officials responded by suspending the tavern’s operating and liquor licenses, ordering the place to temporarily shutter and slapping Flannery with a $2,000 fine. 

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Ohio Judge Rules Pennsylvanian Needn’t Pay Cleveland Taxes for Work Done from Home

Dr. Manal Morsy

A Cuyahoga County, OH court this week ruled in favor of a Pennsylvania resident employed in Cleveland who argued she did not need to pay taxes to that city for work she did from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The plaintiff, Dr. Manal Morsy, executive vice president at the Athersys biotechnology company who lives in the southeastern Pennsylvania town of Blue Bell, would commute to Cleveland and stay through her workweeks before COVID hit in 2020. Whenever she worked outside of Cleveland previously, she would receive income-tax refunds from the municipality. Pursuant to a state law passed in March 2020 which stated that work from home during the public emergency would be deemed to take place “at the employees principal place of work,” the city collect the municipal income tax from her employer without refunding it. 

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Ohio Think Tank Joins Minnesotan’s Fight for Property Rights

The Columbus, OH-based Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday defending Minnesota widow Geraldine Tyler’s right to the profit from the forced sale of her home. 

Tyler’s one-bedroom Minneapolis condominium was taken and sold by Hennepin County after the elderly resident could no longer afford her real-estate taxes. She quickly moved out of the condo in 2010, determining she could not safely stay in light of rising violent crime. For five years she incurred tax debt on the original residence while paying rent on a new apartment. 

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Buckeye Institute Cautiously Lauds Ohio’s Credit Rating Rise, Warns Ongoing Discipline Will Be Crucial

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement last week that Fitch Ratings upgraded the state’s credit rating from AA+ to AAA elicited both praise and caution from the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute.

Greg Lawson, research fellow at the center-right think tank, called the budgetary management to which state officials ascribed Fitch’s decision on Ohio’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) “a mixed bag.” (The state has also seen its general-obligation bond rating rise from AA+ to AAA, its appropriation-backed bonds move to AA+ from AA, the Ohio School District Credit Enhancement Program Rating go to AA+ from AA and the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Portsmouth Bypass project obligations rating move to A+ from AA-.) 

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Buckeye Institute Report Offers Solutions to Ohio Students’ Learning Loss

Responding to major learning loss suffered by Ohio students as a result of the school closures following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute recommended policy solutions this week to help students regain what the education system did not provide. 

On March 30, 2020, Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all in-person K-12 schooling closed throughout the state for the remainder of that school year. Students instead participated in “virtual classrooms” wherein they would watch their teachers’ instructions online. During the 2020-21 school year, many school districts continued to keep school buildings closed at least part-time. 

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Ahead of Forum Series, Renacci Sees Opportunities for Conservative Ascendancy in Ohio

Former Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Renacci has a hopeful outlook for conservatism in the Buckeye-State, though he expects progress to require serious toil and soul-searching as well as new leadership.

Renacci, who represented the 16th U.S. House District southwest of Cleveland and now chairs American Greatness PAC, spoke with The Ohio Star recently about the forum series his organization is commencing on September 15 in the Akron area and about other upcoming milestones for Ohio’s center-right movement.

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Ohio Policy Group Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision on School Tuition

An Ohio policy group called Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that states cannot deny students or families financial aid for attending religious schools a victory for the rights of families and students.

The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Carson v. Makin, a Maine case involving financial aid for students attending religious schools. The brief argued denying aid was a First Amendment violation.

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Ohio Supreme Court to Hear Municipal Income Tax Case

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the state’s municipal income tax code that allowed cities to levy taxes on workers who did not live or work in those communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court agreed to hear The Buckeye Institute’s case of Schaad v. Adler, one of five the Columbus-based policy group filed relating municipal income tax collection.

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Ohio Policy Group Critical of Government-Owned Broadband Networks

Two Ohio counties plan to use more than $60 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to develop broadband networks, a move a policy group believes could eventually be costly to taxpayers.

The Buckeye Institute cautioned communities against starting or expanding government-owned broadband networks that would likely lead to eventual expenses for upgrades, maintenance and service after federal money is gone.

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Group Files Appeal in Ohio Municipal Income Tax Lawsuit

An Ohio policy group is continuing its fight against cities in the state collecting income taxes from people who do not work in those cities.

The Buckeye Institute filed an appeal with Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals in a case challenging the authority of the cities of Toledo and Oregon to tax nonresidents who do not work within those cities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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More Than 21,000 Jobs Created Last Month in Ohio

Blue Collar worker with hard hat on

Ohio’s unemployment rate rose slightly in July, but the number of people in the workforce increased.

The state’s unemployment rate inched up from 5.2% in June to 5.4% in July, but the state’s labor force participation rose from 60.2% in June to 60.5% in July, a positive sign, said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute and vice president of policy.

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Ohio Public Schools Plan Lawsuit to Challenge EdChoice Program

A coalition of about 70 public school districts in Ohio plans to file a lawsuit challenging the state’s use of public money to fund private schools, saying Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program pulls money from public schools and limits the state’s ability to provide fair funding for those schools.

The lawsuit, which the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding Executive Director Bill Phillis said will be filed soon, calls for the end of the EdChoice program.

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The Buckeye Institute Questions How Colleges, Universities Use Large Gifts

At a time when public and private colleges and universities continue to reiterate their growing financial concerns, a disregard of donor intent is chopping away at public trust, according to an Ohio group.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, pointed to a multi-million dollar gift to The Ohio State University’s law school as an example of schools paying for fundraising activities and salaries from original donations, rather than following the intent of alumni.

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Buckeye Institute Files Amicus Brief in Lawsuit Over CARES Act School Funding

An Ohio think tank has entered the fray in a federal lawsuit over a rule the U.S. Department of Education issued for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act includes an Education Stabilization Fund to help schools cover costs to safely reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The law directed the education department to distribute these funds “equitably” between public and private schools and students.

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Buckeye Institute Joins COVID-19 Amicus Brief: Private School Closures Could Cost Taxpayers $252M

The Buckeye Institute Wednesday joined an amicus brief supporting private school students in a July 7 lawsuit between several states and the federal government.

At issue is a federal rule initiated by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, directing the U.S. Department of Education to share federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) funds between private and public schools. 

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Buckeye Institute Supports Businesses Being Immune to COVID-19 Lawsuits

The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony Wednesday to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee on the policies of Senate Bill 308, which would provide businesses and workers with immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

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Allow Public Money to Follow Students to Their Chosen Education Provider, Researcher Tells Ohio Legislature

Greg R. Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, testified Wednesday before Ohio legislators looking at solutions to the problems facing Ohio’s EdChoice program.

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Buckeye Institute Fights for Lawyers’ Rights to Not Join Bar Associations that Lobby

The Buckeye Institute announced on Monday it filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support lawyers’ First Amendment rights — by ensuring they are not compelled to join bar associations that lobby for political and ideological issues that they oppose.

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Buckeye Institute Files Labor Union Appeal With U.S. Supreme Court

The Buckeye Institute announced Thursday it is filing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on a case it has been fighting on behalf of a professor who has called for an end to laws that force public-sector employees like him to accept compelled union representation.

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Ohio Begins First Review of Occupational Licenses

Ohio requires a Super-Tough Person Competition License and a Commercial Nuisance Wild Animal Control Operator License. But occupational licenses like these could be on the chopping block now that the Ohio General Assembly is beginning its first mandated review of all the requirements.

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Ohio is Adding Jobs, but Lags Behind 21 Other States

While new jobs numbers released for the United States show an increase of 164,000 jobs added nationally in July – continuing a record breaking 106 consecutive month trend – Ohio’s rate of job growth at 1,500 for June sits behind 21 other states by comparison.

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Conservative, Liberal Groups Dissatisfied with Ohio Budget

by Tyler Arnold   Neither right-leaning groups nor left-leaning groups are satisfied with Ohio’s changes to the tax law included in the two-year operating budget that was passed by the state legislature on Wednesday and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday. The Buckeye Institute, a free-market think…

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Ohio’s ‘Nuclear Bailout’ Bill Stuck in Legislative Limbo

  COLUMBUS, Ohio — First Energy gave the Ohio Legislature until June 30 to pass House Bill 6, which opponents called a bailout. Failure to pass it by the company’s imposed deadline would result in the shutdown of at least one of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants, the company warned. The…

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While the Budget Remains Unfinished, DeWine and Some Legislators Go Fishing

  Gov. Mike DeWine and some legislators had fun celebrating the 40th Fish Ohio Day on Lake Erie last week. It was a grand celebration of fishing just before the Independence Day holiday, but there was business left unfinished in Columbus. Legislators walked out of the Statehouse on Sunday evening,…

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Ohio Senate’s Budget Outspends House’s Budget by $205 Million, Expert Says

  Greg Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute, is taking his message of sustainability to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, which is currently hearing testimony on its version of the state’s biennial budget. As The Ohio Star previously reported, Lawson has been urging lawmakers all session to avoid…

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Buckeye Institute Argues for a New Bill That Could Help Ohioans with Their Debt

  Buckeye Institute research fellow Greg Lawson appeared in front of the Ohio House Financial Institutions Committee Tuesday to support a proposed bill that could help Ohioans be able to resolve their unresolved debt easier. “Ohio’s arbitrary fee caps and poorly tailored law makes it harder for some debt settlement firms…

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