California Reopening Plan ‘Propagates Racism,’ LA Teachers Union Says

The Los Angeles teachers union said Monday California’s school reopening plan is a “recipe” for propagating racism and will unfairly punish minority communities.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) representatives argued that teachers are being asked to make up for the leadership failings of elected officials “from Washington DC to Sacramento to LA” during a press conference Monday. Since California’s plan calls on schools in communities with low infection rates to reopen, the union said reopening funding will only go to white communities since they have less transmission.

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U.S. Attorney Departs, but HB 6 Investigation is Far from Over

The cruel fortunes of politics mean that David M. DeVillers stopped being the top federal law enforcement official for Southern Ohio on Sunday. But the attorney who last July announced the arrest of then-House Speaker Larry Householder, last week said the investigation that led to the arrest isn’t going anywhere. 

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Commentary: Biden Wants Unity Moving into the Democratic Party

Mainstream voters in both parties feel that neither major party represents them, and that their opinions and wishes hold little sway over government policy.

Establishment Republicans failed the average American by becoming captive to extreme Libertarian ideology that is divorced from the reality of most people’s lives.

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Ohio Sen. Portman Offers Minimum Wage Increase, Legal Worker Verification Plan in U.S. Senate

With plans to include a $15 minimum wage in President Joe Biden administration’s COVID-19 recovery proposal quashed by rules procedures, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has introduced his own wage hike.

Portman’s legislation calls for a more modest minimum wage increase to $10 an hour over the next four years and ties it to inflation every two years. It also ties the minimum wage to his recently introduced E-Verify Act legislation that helps ensure the increase goes only to legal workers.

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Commentary: The U.S. Post-Trump Era

These are only the opening days of what is supposedly the post-Trump era, and whether the country has really seen the last politically of Donald Trump is a matter that depends upon Donald Trump. The principal Trump-hate outlets are still pleased to refer to him as “the disgraced former president” but, of course, he has not been disgraced and there is no indication that he will be.

All of the Democrats and about a third of Republican officeholders are engaged in an elaborate and strictly observed pretense that Trump was a freakish and horrifying interruption of the normal, serene, bipartisan devolution of events in Washington. Like a dreadful meteor, he came and he went, pushed into the instantly forgotten past by a united effort of civilized Americans.

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Minimum Wage Increase Disallowed from Biden Rescue Plan, Senate Rules Official Says

Democrats aren’t allowed to attach a provision increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour to their coronavirus relief package, a top Senate official ruled, according to reports.

Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who oversees the interpretation of the chamber’s rules and precedents, decided Thursday evening that the proposed minimum wage hike couldn’t be included in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan under budget reconciliation, CNBC reported. MacDonough had held private meetings over the last week with Democrats and Republicans, hearing their arguments for or against keeping the measure.

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Opposition Grows Against Neera Tanden, Jeopardizing Her Path to Confirmation

Senate confirmation for Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is becoming increasingly unlikely after one Democrat and key Republicans announced that they would vote against her.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey all said that they would vote against Tanden’s confirmation, joining West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin who announced his opposition Sunday. Without Manchin, Tanden would fall one vote short of confirmation, assuming that every Republican votes against her.

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Biden Pick for Interior Secretary Likely to Face Rocky Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Senate Republicans may use next week’s Interior confirmation hearing for Rep. Debra Haaland to air their grievances about the Biden administration’s energy policies, running the risk of alienating Native Americans in Western states.

GOP Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Steve Daines of Montana sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will hold the Tuesday hearing, and both have already raised objections that Haaland holds “radical” views. Daines vowed to block her progress in the Senate unless she addresses several issues that concern him.

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New York Legislature ‘Inching Toward’ Impeachment Probe of Cuomo, Democratic Assemblyman Says

A Democratic state assemblyman in New York says that lawmakers are “inching toward” opening an impeachment probe of Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his handling of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

In an interview on the “Skullduggery” podcast, Ronald Kim, a Queens assemblyman, also said he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators in an ongoing probe of the Cuomo administration.

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Economists Believe Ohio Must Do More to Help COVID-19 Recovery

A large majority of a panel of Ohio economists believes the $1 billion in spending proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine to lift the state from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be enough.

In a survey published by Scioto Analysis, a Columbus-based policy analysis organization, 20 of 23 Ohio economists believe the state needs to invest more to support small businesses, bars, restaurants, local infrastructure and residential broadband.

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Lawsuits Filed Against Ohio Cities over Municipal Income Tax Collections During Pandemic

Two Ohioans filed lawsuits this week challenging Ohio tax law that allows cities to tax income of workers who, the lawsuits say, do not live in nor work in the municipalities.

The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational group, filed the lawsuits on behalf of Eric Denison and Josh Schaad against the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati. The lawsuits ask the court to declare unconstitutional Ohio law that allows cities to tax workers who do not live in and have not been working in those cities.

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New House Rules Carve-Out for ‘Climate Change’ Bills Exempted from Requiring Projected Price Tag

House Democrats blocked a Republican attempt on Monday to require any proposed climate change legislation to also include its projected cost.

Under the Pay As You Go (PAYGO) rule, any additional government spending proposed must be accompanied by tax increases or separate cuts. After a push from several lawmakers in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, however, the rules package for the 117th Congress states PAYGO will not apply to legislation relating to the necessary economic recovery or U.S. efforts to combat climate change.

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New Ohio Laws Expand Courts Jurisdiction, Deals with Addiction

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed several new bills into law Wednesday.

The new laws include the expansion of the jurisdiction of Ohio courts and stopping state officials from interfering with religious services. House Bill 272 prohibits “a public official from ordering the closure of all places of worship in a geographic area,” and stops public officials “from changing the time, place, or manner of conducting an election, except in certain circumstances.”

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US Legislatures Slow to Pass Laws Limiting Use of Force

A wave of police killings of young black men in 2014 prompted 24 states to quickly pass some type of law enforcement reform, but many declined to address the most glaring issue: police use of force. Six years later, only about a third of states have passed laws on the question.

The issue is at the heart of nationwide protests set off by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he pleaded for air.

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Ohio Lawmakers Propose Protecting Elections with Civilian Cyber Militia

The Ohio State Senate’s Committee on Government Oversight and Reform took up a bill Wednesday with a unique solution to protect the ballot box in the next election. Senate Bill 52 (SB 52) will authorize the creation of the “Ohio Cyber Reserve,” a new division of the Ohio National Guard…

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Ohio Minimum Wage to Increase at Start of New Year

The Ohio hourly minimum wage will be increasing on January 1, 2019. For non-tipped employees, hourly earnings will increase to $8.55 per hour, from $8.30. For tipped employees, hourly earnings will increase to $4.30 per hour, from $4.15. In addition, working longer than 40 hours will be considered overtime and…

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Kasich Faces Potential Conservative Revolt After Vetoing Pro-Life ‘Heartbeat’ Bill

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) ignited a conservative firestorm Friday after vetoing one of the most comprehensive pro-life bills ever proposed since the passage of Roe v. Wade. House Bill 258 would ban any abortion after a child’s first heartbeat is detected. Since fetal heartbeats, in some cases, can be detected as…

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Gov. Haslam Signs Legislation to Restrict Opioid Access, Punish Trafficking, Provide Treatment Help

Bill Haslam

The state of Tennessee is adding restrictions to opioid prescriptions and measures to track and punish unlawful distribution of the powerful pain medications. Gov. Bill Haslam signed two bills and issued an executive order last Friday to support TN Together, the latest effort to fight the opioid crisis, WBIR reported,…

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