DeWine Signs Bill Expanding School Choice to Low-Income Students

Legislation to expand Ohio’s school choice eligibility was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.

Senate Bill 89 will expand the state’s EdChoice Program, which allows students to apply for vouchers for private schools if they are in low-performing schools or low-income districts. Supporters say this bill provides more opportunities for students and parents, but opponents say it diverts potential public resources away from public schools and toward private schools.

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Ohio’s Largest City Wants to Cap Delivery Fees for Restaurants

With Ohioans facing an ongoing curfew and continued pressure from Gov. Mike DeWine to stay at home, the state’s largest city plans to take steps to help both restaurants and their customers.

In an effort to help small businesses and the restaurant community, the Columbus City Council announced plans for legislation to cap third-party delivery services, according to President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Council President Shannon G. Hardin.

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Ohio Health Care Workers Free from COVID-19 Civil Liability

Health care centers and medical professionals are free from liability related to the COVID-19 pandemic under a new Ohio law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Among other things, the new law temporarily grants qualified civil immunity to health care isolation centers to protect medical professionals from liability claims throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It also expands the authority of emergency medical technicians to provide medical services in hospitals, if needed.

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Testimony Begins for Bills Aimed at Stopping Ohio Governor’s Orders

While in one area of the Ohio Statehouse lawmakers took aim at limiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s authority, in another area others began attacking specific orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from bills that would require General Assembly approval for statewide stay-at-home orders, Ohio state senators held hearings on a bill that would end DeWine’s orders to stop alcohol sales at restaurants and bars at 10 p.m. and on another that placed limitations on county fairs.

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Two Bills to Limit Ohio Governor’s Authority Appear Before Committee

While Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was announcing a statewide curfew to slow the spread of COVID-19, more than 97 people submitted written testimony supporting a bill that would strip authority from the governor and the Ohio Department of Health to issue orders.

Doctors, nurses and regular citizens provided written and oral testimony in support of House Bill 618, legislation that would make any special or standing order from the governor seeking to prevent the spread of contagious or infectious diseases advisory only. If HB618 passes, any such order from the governor would have no legal effect unless approved by the General Assembly.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Threatens to Close Bars, Restaurants, Gyms If COVID-19 Cases Keep Rising

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday said the state could close bars, restaurants and fitness centers beginning Nov. 19 if the number of new coronavirus cases continues to rise.

“We have not made a final decision on that,” DeWine said of the threatened closures. “If things don’t change in a week, we will have to do this … we’re not trying to pick on bars and restaurants. It’s the last thing we want to do.”

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Ohio Launching a New Unit to Ensure Mask Compliance as State Sees Record Number of Cases

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is doubling down on a mask mandate, and the state is launching a new unit to make sure businesses comply with the requirement.

The move comes as Ohio faces a record number of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions because of COVID-19. Roughly 3,000 Ohioans are hospitalized, including more than 700 people in the ICU, and during the first week of November, 104 Ohioans with the virus died.

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Gov. Mike DeWine Re-Imposes Statewide Mandatory Mask Mandate

  COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor Mike DeWine made time during Wednesday night’s special broadcast to laud Pfizer and their progress on a coronavirus vaccine before effectively re-instating a mandatory mask mandate across the state. “On Monday, our country received some very promising news regarding a Coronavirus vaccine that Pfizer is…

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DeWine Praises President for Early COVID Action, Says Trump Will Win Election

During his twice-weekly COVID presser, Governor DeWine was asked on Thursday who he thought was best equipped to deal with the COVID problem, Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

DeWine responded, “Look, I think the president has not gotten enough credit for what he has done in regard to making the decision very, very early to invest real big money into the drug companies for them to do the research they need to do. We don’t know when that’s coming but we hope it’s coming soon. And that will make a huge, huge difference.”

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Ohio Restaurant, Bars May Get More Flexibility for Consumers

Ohio restaurant and bar owners will have more flexibility and a chance to generate more revenue if Gov. Mike DeWine signs a recently passed bill into law.

The Business Expansion and Safety Act, passed by both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, heads to DeWine. It intends to help bring revenue and safety back to businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to bill sponsor State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron.

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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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Letter to the Editor: Athletics and Masks

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of watching my 2 children compete in a cross-country meet. They were thrilled to be able to compete! It was an absolutely beautiful weekend!  The place of attendance provided a tremendous amount of open, green space for spectators to easily socially distance. There were acres upon acres of a wide open, lush countryside; a magnificent landscape from which I could view my children as they participated.  Thank you for allowing these students to have a season. However, I feel that our school, as well as many other schools, are over-reaching and over-extending a couple of the Health Order recommendations; to the extent I feel such strict requirements may not be in the best overall health interest for athletes.

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System – Keeping COVID Out of Nursing Homes a Mark Against Counties

This is part four in an eight-part series on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS) – the color-coded system designed to give a county-by-county threat assessment of COVID spread in Ohio.

This article will further examine indicator three (of seven) in the OPHAS: the proportion of cases not in congregate settings.

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Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Report K-12 Student COVID Cases to Government

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday his order requiring all K-12 schools to report COVID-19 cases to their local health department. Schools must do so within 24 hours of notification of a positive test result from a student, teacher, staff member or coach.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order under DeWine. The order requires each school to appoint a coordinator to report positive cases, and to create a “reopening or pandemic operating plan.” It also requires schools to notify all parents and guardians of case reports. The order did not mention a requirement to tell the staff.

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State Orders Public Colleges and Universities to Create COVID-19 Quarantine Shelters

Ohio will now mandate public colleges and universities to create non-congregate sheltering space for quarantining coronavirus patients.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes issued the order Sunday “to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” alongside Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

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Order Would Require Ohio Schools Report COVID-19 Cases

Ohio officials plan to issue an order mandating schools put in place “a reporting mechanism” for parents to report cases of COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a news conference.

“Prompt reporting to the public, the parents, will help prevent a potential further spread among students and staff, and it will also let the public know what’s going on,” DeWine said during a news conference.

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DeWine Calls on Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to Send $1.5 Billion in Dividend Payments

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wants the board of directors for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to approve sending up to $1.5 billion in dividend payments to employers across the state.

If approved, it would be the second dividend of $1 billion or more since April, DeWine said during a Thursday press conference. The $1.5 billion totals the premiums paid during the 2019 policy year, and officials say the payout is possible because of several factors, including a lower number of claims and strong returns on investment.

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DeWine, Timken, Householder Learn the Art of Funneling Donations Through Ohio Republican Party

The Dayton Daily News in January 2014 reported on allegations of pay-to-play in Attorney General DeWine’s office concerning an advisory panel.

His calendar shows he met frequently with (now deceased) Alex Arshinkoff, a lobbyist and the chairman of Summit County Republican Party who represented four companies doing business with DeWine’s office.

DeWine was not the only Ohio Republican engaging in pay-to-play. Indeed, previous news reports and public records show the Ohio Republican Party funneled money to DeWine and now disgraced former House Speaker Larry Householder from such donors as FirstEnergy.

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Data Shows Long History of Pay-to-Play Among Ohio Republican Party, DeWine, Householder and FirstEnergy

Mike DeWine, as former Ohio attorney general, often awarded no-bid contracts to lawyers and collections agencies to do state work. Many of those chosen vendors also happened to be his campaign donors.

The Dayton Daily News in July 2014 reported on the connections between Attorney General DeWine’s awarding of collections contracts to vendors who also just happened to be campaign donors.

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Republican Gov. Mike DeWine Tests Negative for Coronavirus After Initially Testing Positive

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine tested negative for the coronavirus Thursday after testing positive earlier that day, according to The Wall Street Journal.

DeWine first tested positive for the virus Thursday before his scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump in Cleveland, the WSJ reported. DeWine’s office said the 73-year-old governor doesn’t have any symptoms, according to the WSJ.

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Gov. DeWine Tests Positive for the Coronavirus on His Way to Meet President Donald Trump

Governor Mike DeWine was headed to Cleveland to meet President Trump who is visiting the state today. During his ride to the Burke Lakefront Airport, he took a rapid response test which returned a positive result for the coronavirus.

DeWine is headed back to Columbus after his positive test. Currently, the 73-year-old has not experienced any symptoms, according to the Governor’s statement.

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Speaker Snared in Ohio Bribery Probe Liked to Play Long Game

Tension was thick in the air. After 10 consecutive votes in which another man had garnered more support than Larry Householder’s favored candidate to be the next Ohio House speaker, Householder leaned back quietly in his chair, arms confidently propped behind his head.

As usual, he was playing the long game.

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Ohio Governor Reverses Course, Calls to Repeal Energy Law

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine reversed course on Thursday and called for a nuclear bailout energy law to be repealed in the wake of the state’s $60 million bribery scandal.

The Republican DeWine said he continues to support the policy in the bill, including preserving Ohio’s two nuclear power plants as part of power generation in the state.

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Leading Ohio Republicans Ask Larry Householder to Resign After His Recent FBI Arrest

Leading Ohio Republicans have called on Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) to resign after his recent arrest for allegedly participating in a $60 million bribery scheme.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested Householder along with Matt Borges, the former Ohio Republican Party chairman; Jeffrey Longstreth, a longtime political strategist for Householder; Neil Clark, the former budget director for the Ohio Republican Caucus; and Juan Cespedes, a Columbus lobbyist.

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Nearly 60 Percent of Ohio Now Required to Wear Face Coverings in Public

  Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that eight new counties were added to the Red Level 3 Public Emergency. When an Ohio county reaches this level its population is required to wear a face covering in public. Level 3 is considered an area where exposure and spread of the…

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Gov. DeWine Vetoes Bill Looking to Limit Emergency Public Health Order Violations

For the first time as governor, Mike DeWine vetoed a bill Friday that restricted penalties for people who violate public health orders.

Senate Bill (SB) 55, which was introduced by state Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green), would have allowed Ohioans who violate public health orders to receive a warning rather than receive fines. According to the bill, if people did not follow the public health orders then it would result in a fine no more than $100 for each subsequent violation.

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Gov. DeWine Calls for Unity to Help Fight Coronavirus

  In a special primetime address Wednesday night, Gov. Mike DeWine urged Ohioans to take the appropriate actions needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Since the beginning of July, the number of coronavirus cases in Ohio has increased by almost 20,000. Furthermore, since June 1 the state’s COVID-19…

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Ohio Lawmakers Introduce Bill That Would Make February 26 ‘Dr. Amy Acton Day’

Two Ohio lawmakers want to honor former Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton by giving her own day.

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) introduced House Bill 724 on Monday that would be designated February 26 “Dr. Amy Acton Day.”

February 26 is the date of choice because Gov. Mike DeWine named Acton the ODH director on this date in 2019.

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State Could Approve $300 Million More for Ohio Schools

State leaders, including Gov. Mike DeWine, want the Ohio Controlling Board to approve $300 million in federal funding for schools across the Buckeye State.

They want $200 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for higher education and $100 million from the fund for K-12 schools. The money would help schools pay for safety measures brought on by COVID-19.

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Gov. DeWine Determines Seven Ohio Counties Must Wear Face Coverings in Public

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week seven counties in Ohio will start wearing face coverings in public as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.

Counties that need to follow this mandate are currently in Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency, according to DeWine’s press release.

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Gov. DeWine Unveils New Guidelines for Schools Reopening in the Fall

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday new guidelines schools will follow when they open up again in the fall.

According to the guidelines, schools will have to assess symptoms, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces, practice social distancing, and implement a face coverings policy.

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Gov. DeWine Governor Not in Favor of Removing Columbus Statue

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that while he’s not in favor of the removal of statues of Christopher Columbus, he’s open to discussions that arise about people’s place in history.

DeWine addressed last week’s removal by Columbus State Community College of its statue of the namesake explorer, and the announcement by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther that he wants the large statue outside City Hall to also go.

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Gov. DeWine Endorses Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Dayton Area Being the New Permanent Home for the Space Force

Gov. Mike DeWine backed the idea of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and the surrounding Dayton region being the new headquarters for the United States Space Command.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton region would be excellent hosts for the U.S. Space Command’s new headquarters,” he said. “This area is already home to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and Air Force Material Command. It’s a powerful combination and a synergy that you can’t find anywhere else.”

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DeWine Signs Student Religious Liberties Act Into Law

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the Student Religious Liberties Act into law Friday, a bill that protects prayer and religious expression in public schools.

“No student should have to hide their faith just because they enter a public school. The Student Religious Liberties Act is carefully crafted to ensure school administrators can’t unfairly penalize students of all faiths, or no faith,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values, one of twelve groups that testified in support of the bill.

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Gov. Mike DeWine Condemns Protest That Vandalized Ohio Statehouse

Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement on Friday showing his displeasure with the recent vandalism at the Ohio Capitol.

“I have spoken with Ohio State Highway Patrol Col. Richard Fambro about security at the Statehouse, and I shared with him my anger and disgust at the vandalism that occurred at the Ohio Statehouse yesterday. I support the right to peacefully protest. However, defacing, damaging, and vandalizing our state capitol and its grounds are wrong, and such actions are criminal,” DeWine said.

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Ohio Governor Proposes Outside Probes of Police Shootings

All shootings by Ohio police officers and any deaths of individuals in custody would be investigated by independent agencies under a proposal announced Wednesday by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in his first major response to days of protests over police treatment of minorities.

As part of the proposal, the State Highway Patrol, which is under DeWine’s direct supervision, will no longer investigate its own shootings, the governor said.

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Ohio Democrats Ask Gov. DeWine to Ban Police Use of Tear Gas

Ohio Democrats asked Gov. Mike DeWine to indefinitely ban the use of tear gas by all county, municipal, and township police departments in a letter sent last week.

According to the letter, law enforcement agencies across Ohio used tear gas, pepper spray, and mace on peaceful protesters during recent demonstrations.

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Amy Acton Steps Down as Director of Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, who during the COVID-19 pandemic has been both a magnet for praise and a lightning rod for criticism, is stepping down from her post. She will remain an advisor to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Republicans in the legislature and small business owners who felt the state took a heavy-handed approach with its pandemic response were particularly critical of Acton.

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Gov. Mike DeWine Asks Advisory Board to Develop Minimum Standards for Mass Protests

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that he asked Ohio’s Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board (CCPAB) to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests in an effort to improve community-police relations in the state.

“These new efforts are just the start of our work to improve law enforcement accountability, transparency, training, and minority recruitment,” DeWine said. “We are working with the law enforcement community, elected officials, and community organizations as we continue to move forward.”

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‘Waking up’: Casinos, Amusement Parks to Reopen June 19

Casinos, amusement parks and racetracks will be allowed to open June 19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced during a briefing Friday as he responded to criticism of the state’s measured reopening plan.

In addition, the annual Memorial golf tournament in the Columbus suburb of Dublin was approved to take place in mid-July.

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Gov. DeWine Says Ohio Seeks to Improve Health and Economic Disparities in the State

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that Ohio will put more of an effort into improving “issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity.”

“I am seeking dialogue to solve these problems and seeking strategies for the implementation of reforms,” said Governor DeWine. “Whether it is in the urban core or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans who are not living up to their God-given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunities. That is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to change that.”

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Ohio Black Caucus Introduces Bill to Declare Racism ‘Public Health Crisis’

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus announced Friday that it plans to introduce legislation to declare racism a “public health crisis.”

“Our citizens of color have been subjected to the effects of racism since the founding of the State of Ohio in 1803. Since that time, Ohioans of color have endured unequal education, unsafe work conditions, inadequate health care services, subpar housing and an unjust criminal justice system, based on policies that were rooted in a belief that people of color are not worthy of the American Dream,” said a statement from the caucus sent to every member of the Ohio General Assembly.

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Chairman of Ohio House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force Calls on Amy Acton to Resign

State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) told the Cincinnati Enquirer Thursday that he wants Ohio Health Director Amy Acton to resign from her position.

During Zeltwanger’s interview, he condemned Acton for not providing accurate information to the public and not reacting to data that went against the state’s lockdown measures.

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Ohio House Representative and Ohio Elected Officials Pepper Sprayed While Protesting in Downtown Columbus

Ohio Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) and at least two other Ohio elected officials were pepper-sprayed in downtown Columbus during George Floyd protests on Saturday afternoon.

Beatty, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin were sprayed after a protester got into a scuffle with law enforcement, Fox News reported.

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