Ohio Ends 2020 Fiscal Year with General Tax Revenue Down $1.1 Billion

Ohio concluded the 2020 fiscal year with General Revenue Fund tax revenues of $1.1 billion, or 4.6 percent, below estimates, a clear indication of the impact the COVID-19 restrictions have had on the state.

Tax revenues in June were $50.5 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate. However, state officials noted that revenues were better than a month earlier when they were 13 percent below expectations.

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DeWine’s Baseball Team’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Nets Millionaire Governor $189K of Forgivable Taxpayer Handout

With news that Gov. Mike DeWine’s minor league baseball team cashed in on the Paycheck Protection Program, one may ask how Ohio’s top executive came to own a team in North Carolina or why he needed a taxpayer handout.

DeWine has a 32 percent stake in the Asheville Tourists minor league team, The Ohio Star reported this week.

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Buckeye Institute Sues Over Law Allowing Columbus to Collect Income Taxes From Commuters Despite Emergency Order Preventing Them from Working in the City

The Buckeye Institute said that it and three employees filed a lawsuit over the taxing of workers’ income in Columbus since they do not live in the city and were not allowed to work there during Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order.

The lawsuit, which is available here, was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County.

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Gov. DeWine’s Company, Which Owns a Minor Baseball Team in North Carolina, Gets Loan from Federal Virus Aid Program

A company partly owned by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is among those that received loans from a $600 billion-plus coronavirus aid program.

The data released Monday shows DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball received a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for a range of $150,000 to $350,000.

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Ohio Republican Party Frays, Leadership Falters As 2020 Election Heats Up

  Is Jane Timken the leader the Ohio State Republican Party needs to help President Donald Trump win re-election when her party seems to be engaged in a civil war? The stakes are high in the Buckeye State. Trump and Biden are locked in a dead heat, according to a…

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DeWine Opines on ‘Fast Reopening’, Walks With His Dog in Exclusive Dispatch Interview

What’s a newspaper to do when given an exclusive interview with the governor during a pandemic that has ravaged the state’s economy and rioting that has ravaged the capital city? Would you push against answers that are not true?

If you’re The Columbus Dispatch, you allow Gov. Mike DeWine to talk about the “quick” reopening of the state, his walks with his dog Dolly and how he social distances with his grandkids.

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Lorain County Commission Candidate Sues to Overturn Primary Results, Saying Thousands of Republican Voters Were Disenfranchised

A Lorain County commission candidate who lost his race is suing to have the results from Dr. Amy Acton’s delayed primary election set aside, citing about 90 violations of state election law and the Ohio Constitution.

The candidate, Gerald W. Phillips, filed the election contest complaint in the Court of Common Pleas for Lorain County. 

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Eight Bars, Restaurants Sue Acton, DeWine Over ‘Constitutionally Vague’ Restrictions

A lawsuit has been filed against Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine in Lake County Common Pleas Court over “constitutionally vague” restrictions on restaurants and bars, The News-Herald reported.

The case has been assigned to Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell. The plaintiffs are eight bars and restaurants, all but one being located in Northeast Ohio.

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Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Stops Petitioners from Gathering Electronic Signatures Amid COVID-19

Ohioans seeking to collect electronic signatures for petitions during the coronavirus must temporarily stop doing so, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. 6th District Court of Appeals said in its Tuesday judgment that even though the coronavirus has made it “difficult” for petitioners to gather signatures, it does not mean it can’t be done.

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Ohio Judge Castigates DeWine, Acton Over Their ‘Oppressive’ Shutdown of Gyms

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, working on behalf of 35 independent gyms, struck a significant win for their right to exist by persuading a court to rule against Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton’s “oppressive” shutdown of their businesses.

The Ohio Court of Common Pleas in Lake County on Wednesday handed down a decision that castigated DeWine and the health department director and granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the gym owners from being prosecuted for opening while awaiting a court trial. The ruling is available in its entirety here.

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Ohio Health Czar Acton Extends Dining Provisions Until July 1, Gov. DeWine Assembles Restaurant Police Force to Threaten Removal of Liquor Licenses

Between Health Director Dr. Amy Acton sneaking in an extension of her dining orders until July 1 and Governor Mike DeWine assembling a restaurant police force, one may wonder if Ohio is really reopening.

Late last Thursday, following the final press conference of the week, Acton issued the “Director’s Dine Safe Ohio Order,” which is available here. The order allowed outside restaurant dining as of last Friday. 

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Gov. DeWine Prepared to Pull Plug on Ohio’s Reopening as His Strict Guidelines Lead to Penalties for Restaurants

Gov. Mike DeWine said he is prepared to “pull back” on Ohio’s reopening.

The governor made the remark Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

”Candidly, we’ve worked with the attorney general … and we’re going to do what we have to do if these things in fact occur across Ohio.”

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Conservatives Say Obhof’s Canceling Session Before Acton Vote is ‘Betrayal’

Conservatives are using words like “betrayal” to describe Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof’s late-night move to kill a vote on a bill to curb Dr. Amy Acton’s unrestrained powers in shutting the state down, and suggests he had an ulterior motive.

The Senate will not act this week on Senate Bill One pulling back the Health Department director’s powers, meaning it will likely fail, Fox 19 Now reported. The Senate is only having committee meetings this week and will hold a session next week.

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Newspaper Builds Convoluted Case to Accuse Rep. Vitale of Being Anti-Semitic for Calling Health Department Director ‘Globalist’

Thinking local is racist, according to The Columbus Dispatch, which built a convoluted case to accuse Ohio Rep. Nino Vitale (R-OH-85) of being anti-semitic for using the dirty word “globalist.”

On May 1, the Urban-area Republican posted on Facebook:

While you were sleeping, UNELECTED Acton declared Ohio closed until May 29th.

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Dozen Members of DeWine, Husted’s Economic Advisory Board Are Campaign Donors

Up until now, you mostly had to be connected to big business — and to Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov Jon Husted — to have a say in how businesses of all sizes are considered in Ohio’s snails-pace reopening.

On Friday, DeWine said the state would begin a phased reopening from the Chinese coronavirus shutdown, The Ohio Star reported. The governor said he is forming a pair of advisory groups tasked with developing best practices for reopening dine-in restaurants, barbershops and salons.

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State House Speaker Householder Expresses ‘Tremendous Frustration’ with Gov. DeWine’s ‘Restart Ohio’ Plan

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) expressed sharp criticism on Monday for Governor Mike DeWine’s plans to reopen the economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic over what he called an “unwillingness to recognize” the needs of small business.

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Gov. DeWine Encourages Ohioans to ‘Have a Little #SpiritWeekOhio Fun’ and ‘Stay in Your PJ’s All Day’

Nearly 1 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment since Gov. Mike DeWine shut the state down, and the governor has responded by calling for a “Spirit Week” to have “#SpiritWeekOhio fun” which includes wearing pajamas.

Six of the state’s most influential business organizations last week sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine last week urging him to reopen the economy as nearly one million Ohioans have now filed unemployment claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as The Ohio Star reported Monday. The letter was signed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Business Roundtable, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Council on Retail Merchants, Ohio Farm Bureau, and NFIB-Ohio.

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State Rep. Vitale’s Facebook Campaign Account is Alive and Well, Despite Reports to the Contrary

State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) says reports of his Facebook campaign page’s demise are greatly exaggerated — it was down temporarily, but the social media giant was very cooperative in restoring it.

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DeWine Calls for Phased-In Reopening Starting May 1 With Restrictions on Workforces

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton on Friday discussed how the state will develop its plan to reopen the economy.

DeWine said, “Ohioans have done a great job, a phenomenal job, fighting back, staying home, ensuring physical distancing. We’ve been doing all the things that needed to be done. I’ve never been prouder to be an Ohioan and I’m very grateful for what you have done. You have flattened the curve.”

Beginning May 1, the state will begin a phased-in reopening of the state economy. The plan will be fact-driven over a long period of time to minimize the health risk to business owners, employees, and customers.

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DeWine: No Flip of the Switch Will Restore Ohio to Pre-COVID Conditions

Returning Ohio to normal following the COVID-19 outbreak will take some time, Gov. Mike DeWine said, even as it appears Ohio’s economy hasn’t yet seen the full impact of the pandemic.

 It’s “not going to happen overnight. That’s not going to happen … like flipping a switch, and everything’s going to be back to normal,” DeWine said. “I wish I could do that. I wish the reality of life was that,” he said.

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Republican Lawmakers Grow Restless, Call for DeWine to Reopen Ohio

Some Ohio Republican lawmakers are calling for Gov. Mike DeWine to reopen the state.

The governor said Friday he would create a plan to gradually reopen the state, The Plain-Dealer said.

House Speaker Larry Householder convened a task force that will study how to reopen the economy. State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-OH-54) said Ohio needs to plan for controlling the disease for when segments of the economy reopen. He pointed out that some question whether 253 deaths as of Sunday justify the closures.

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‘You’re Getting a Paycheck, We’re Not,’ Protestors Say of DeWine, Acton

Approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol in Columbus Monday to tell Gov. Mike DeWIne and Health Department Director Amy Action that it’s past time to reopen the state.

Tom Zawistowski, president of Ohio Tea Party group We the People Convention, estimated the attendance, in an interview with The Ohio Star. This was the second such protest since last Thursday.

Many of the protestors called out, “You’re getting a paycheck, we’re not,” Zawistowski said.

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Ohio Near Bottom in Coronavirus Tests Per Capita Among All 50 States

Gov. DeWine Coronavirus Testina

Ohio is 44th out of 50 states in terms of the number of tests performed per capita for the Chinese coronavirus, data show.

Worldometers tracks COVID-19 test results and related data. The information, which was updated Sunday afternoon, is available here.

Looking at tests performed by 1 million, or per capita, is a method to adjust for population differences.

Based on that strategy, Ohio is 44th out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., with 5,432 tests done for every person out of 1 million people.

The national figure is 8,371 tests per million.

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Study Says Ohio Will Hit COVID-19 Peak Wednesday, with Cases and Deaths Far Below DeWine’s Apocalyptic Forecasts That Shut State Down

A health institute that has been making national and state COVID-19 forecasts revised its model for Ohio, suggesting that the peak will be hit Wednesday, leaving far fewer cases and deaths than the gruesome numbers painted by Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration.

The Sandusky Register reported on the model update Monday.

The forecaster is the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHMC), and it is a model that has been cited by many state and federal officials, including President Donald Trump.

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DeWine Thanks President Trump for Approving Plan for Battelle to Sterilize Hundreds of Thousands of Protective Masks

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted on Sunday thanked President Trump and Dr. Stephen Hahn of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving a plan to sterilize N95 masks to fight the coronavirus.

Earlier Sunday, DeWine called an emergency press conference to express his “deep disappointment” with the FDA for limiting the use of the new technology, The Ohio Star reported.

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Economist Recommends Ohio Use Federal Stimulus to Bolster Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund

Following Ohio’s shocking unemployment rate increase of 2,565 percent, one economist says the COVID-19 coronavirus’ economic impact will be “long lasting” and provides a list of recommendations.

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DeWine May Cut State Budgets by Up to 20 Percent, But Public Sector Cannot Match Loss of Private Sector’s 188K Lost Jobs

Even as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine orders state departments to cut up to 20 percent of their budgets and implement a hiring freeze, state workers are not feeling the coronavirus economic burn like the private sector.

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Ohio Hit Harder with Unemployment Than Other States

Ohio was hit harder with unemployment filings than other states during the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 3.28 million claims were filed in the week that ended March 21. That marked an increase of more than 3 million claims over the week prior, when 282,000 claims were filed, The Ohio Star reported.

Ohio’s claims totaled 187,784, the Cincinnati Enquirer said, up from 7,046 the previous week.

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Commentary: Ohio Department of Health’s Orders May Be Prudent, But Are Largely Unenforceable

State and federal constitutions entitle Ohioans to protections, which remain in place even as the state implements seemingly prudent restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 22, the Ohio Department of Health issued its “Director’s Stay at Home Order.” This Order, like others before it, relies upon the delegation to the Ohio Department of Health of a sweeping power – never previously relied upon or analyzed by a single court in the history of the state – to exercise “ultimate authority in matters of quarantine and isolation.”

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Think Tank Calls for Ohio Government to Take Common-Sense Measures to Fight Coronavirus and Aid in Economic Recovery

A new policy brief lays out actions that Ohio policymakers can immediately implement so Ohio can fight and yet recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t involve unilaterally moving primaries or shutting down businesses.

The Buckeye Institute released the brief on Monday.

The brief, Policy Solutions for the Pandemic: How Ohio Can Fight the Impact of Coronavirus, is available here.

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Governor DeWine Issues Statewide ‘Stay At Home’ Order to Combat COVID-19

Governor Mike DeWine – through Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton – announced Sunday that a two-week, statewide ‘Stay at Home’ order will be in effect beginning 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23 and will last through April 6 at 11:59pm:

On Sunday, March 22th, under the direction of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH issued a director’s order to require all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 beginning at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 23, 2020 until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020. This order prohibits holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. Residents can return home from out of state and can leave the state.

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22 Percent of New York State Residents Tested for Coronavirus are Positive, Ohio Refuses to Release Negative Test Data So No One Knows Rate in State

How many people have tested negative for the coronavirus in Ohio? That’s on a need to know basis, and Gov. Mike DeWine has decided you don’t need to know.

Meanwhile, in New York State, 22 percent of people who took the test were positive, according to The COVID Tracking Project, so residents there at least know what they’re facing.

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LaRose Draws Heat for Moving Primary Election Date, a Move Called ‘Anarchy’ and ‘Executive Fiat’

Skeptics are calling Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s June 2 primary election date theoretical, saying the Legislature, not he, has the power to move the date.

Adjectives that are being thrown around include “anarchy” and “executive fiat.”

LaRose is already dictating the rules 88 county boards of elections should follow, the Ohio Capital Journal said. These LaRose rules include the dictate that county boards of election should not accept any new voter registrations ahead of the not-yet-official June 2 election.

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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine Recuses Himself from Voting on His Father Gov. Mike DeWine’s Effort to Quash State Primary

When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine went court shopping to quash the state’s primary Tuesday as a way to fight the coronavirus, one of three Supreme Court justices who abstained from voting in his favor was his eldest son, Justice Pat DeWine.

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Ohio Hides Number of Coronavirus Tests It Is Conducting

Ohio leaders are so busy sending restaurant workers to the unemployment line over fears of the coronavirus they apparently do not have time to actually test for the presence of the virus among their citizens, nor do they want you to know how many they have tested.

As Monday afternoon, Ohio had 50 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Out of 551 tests that have been taken, 140 were negative and 361 results are pending.

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The State of Ohio Will Buy Back Excess Liquor from Restaurants and Bars

Ohio is buying excess liquor from restaurants as state leaders continue to roll out measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the Buckeye State.

Under DeWine’s order, restaurants with take-out and delivery options can still operate, and the state Department of Commerce is offering a “one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants.” The move is an effort to help restaurants that stockpiled “high-proof liquor” leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday.

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Cleveland Has Three Cases of Coronavirus, Gov. DeWine Says, While Declaring State of Emergency in Ohio

Ohio’s first three confirmed cases of coronavirus are all in Cuyahoga County, said Gov. Mike DeWine, who announced a state of emergency on Monday.

The three patients in Cuyahoga County had contact with other people who had confirmed cases of COVID-19, DeWine said. The three patients are all in their 50s.

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Ohio Prioritizes Coronavirus Testing for Hospitalized Patients

Ohio has a new protocol to check for the coronavirus now that in-state testing is available for high-priority cases for hospitalized patients.

“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the Ohio Department of Health, working in conjunction with hospitals, primary care providers, and other health care experts, has a plan to maximize our testing resources,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Saturday in a press release. “We are prioritizing the patients who are the most vulnerable to be tested in the Department of Health’s State Laboratory, while ensuring those that need COVID-19 testing will be able to be tested.”

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2019 Was the Slowest Year for New Jobs in Ohio in a Decade, Economist Says

An economic expert says Ohio’s latest unemployment data show 2019 was the slowest year for new jobs in a decade — and the state lagged behind the nation in creating new jobs.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Overcomes ‘The Governator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forces Arnold Sports Festival to Bar Spectators Except for Parents

A bodybuilding competition sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger turned into a battle of wills with the governor of Ohio, who expressed concerns about potentially exposing crowds to the coronavirus. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther sent the former California governor/actor and his partner a letter stating they reached an agreement Tuesday to go forward with the event provided there were no spectators. Event organizers, however, moved forward with issuing tickets, passes and other admittences to the The Arnold Sports Festival, which began Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

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DeWine, Timken Hit Public Speaking Tour to Tout Positive News But Ignore Gun Control, High Unemployment, and Refugees

The classic Wizard of Oz quote “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” could apply to the attitude of the top leaders of the Ohio Republican Party.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken have taken to the roads to proclaim how wonderful the economy is and talk about government spending plans for children’s programs. Noticeably absent are comments about red flag laws, refugees and primary endorsements that the two have drawn heat on lately.

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Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Delay Start of EdChoice Enrollment

Ohio Democrats seized on an opportunity to blame Republicans for what they call an inability to fix the EdChoice school voucher program and for delaying the start of enrollment for two months.

Last week, state lawmakers signed off on a plan to move the start of the enrollment period for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program – colloquially known as EdChoice – from Feb. 1 to April 1. The program “provides students from designated public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools.”

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Ohio Grants Police Drug Task Forces More Than $2M to Combat Trafficking

  The State of Ohio on Monday awarded 27 law enforcement task forces more than $2 million in grants to disrupt the drug trade and promote awareness, prevention and recovery. Gov. Mike DeWine held a presentation at the Ohio Statehouse for the announcement of the RecoveryOhio Law Enforcement Fund, according…

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FACT CHECK: Ohio GOP Chairwoman Timken Spreads Falsehoods on Refugees in Letter to Party Members

Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken wrote an error-riddled apologetics letter sent by email on Thursday to party members defending Gov. Mike DeWine’s refugee resettlement policy.

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Ohio Gov DeWine’s Office Dodges Question on Resettlement of Refugees Australia Refused to Accept

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision on December 24 that would say yes to more refugees in Ohio would allow the federal government to resettle them from any country, including from an estimated 300 to 720 refugees from the Middle East that the government of Australia has refused to accept.

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