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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Gov. DeWine Calls in Ohio National Guard to Help Test All Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes

Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled Tuesday the formation of the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams that will help test residents and staff in Ohio’s nursing homes, according to the governor’s press release.

Nursing homes across America, including Ohio, have been hotspots for the coronavirus.

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Ohio Dems ‘Outraged’ by Gov. DeWine’s Plan to Address COVID-19 Racial Disparities: ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Ohio Democrats said they were “outraged” by Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposal for addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black population.

African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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Ohio Minority Health Strike Force Unveils Recommendations to Address Impact of Coronavirus on State’s Black Community, Mentions Nothing About Vitamin D Deficiency

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week the recommendations that the Minority Health Strike Force established to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black community.

According to DeWine’s press release, black people make up “14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio.”

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Gov. DeWine Tells Kentucky Democratic Senate Candidate Amy McGrath to Stop Using His Image in Ads Against Sen. Mitch McConnell

Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement asking that Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath not use his image in an “attack ad” against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Ohioans are focused exclusively on getting through COVID-19 and getting our people back to work, and I’m proud to work with partners at the local and federal level to get it done. It’s for that reason that I’m particularly disappointed with an attack ad by Amy McGrath that uses my image against my friend, Mitch McConnell,” DeWine said in a statement Saturday.

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Ohio Lawmaker: DeWine’s Budget Cut ‘an Alarming Divestment from our Public School System’

 A state senator from Toledo is blasting Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to cut funding to public schools as part of a move to reduce spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Governor DeWine’s decision to slash more than $300 million from Ohio’s K-12 funding is an alarming divestment from our public school system during a time when schools need more support than ever,” state Sen. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, said in a statement. “Nearly half of the $775 million total in cuts to General Revenue spending will be stripped from Ohio’s public schools, which continue to serve more than 90% of children in our state.

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90 Percent of Ohio’s Economy Expected to Reopen This Week

An estimated 90 percent of Ohio’s economy will be reopened by the end of the week under Gov. Mike DeWine’s “Responsible Restart Ohio Plan.”

Since May 1, the healthcare industry has been able to perform all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay, such as routine check-ups, outpatient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests.

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Gov. DeWine Puts His Foot Down Against Ohio House Republicans Trying to Limit the State’s Health Department Powers

Gov. Mike DeWine took a stand Thursday against Ohio House Republicans who are trying to limit the Ohio Department of Health (ODH)’s powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, House Republicans on the House State and Local Government Committee (HSLGC) passed an amendment to a 2019 regulatory reform bill that would limit ODH’s orders to two weeks, The Ohio Star reported.

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Gov. DeWine Announces Bars, Restaurants and Personal Care Services Can Open on May 15 in Some Capacity

Ohioans waiting to go to bars, eat at restaurants, get their hair cut, or nails done will not have to wait much longer, as Gov. Mike DeWine announced that next Friday these businesses will open in some capacity.

“Reopening Ohio is a risk, but it’s also a risk if you don’t move forward. We’re on a dangerous road that has never been traveled before in Ohio and the danger is that we relax and stop taking precautions,” DeWine said. “All of us collectively control this. I ask you to take calculated risks and make good judgments. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing face coverings. If you aren’t concerned with what happens to you, do it for others.”

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Gov. DeWine Stands Up for Amy Acton and News Media After Incidents Involving Protesters Last Weekend: ‘I’m Fair Game’

Gov. Mike DeWine defended the news media and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton during Monday’s press conference after several incidents occurred over the weekend when Ohio extended its lockdown order until May 29 last Friday.

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Taskforce Will Help Develop Best Practices to Reopen Ohio’s Restaurants, Barbershops, Salons

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he is forming a pair of advisory groups tasked with developing best practices for reopening dine-in restaurants, barbershops and salons.

The group will develop recommendations to protect the health of employees and customers as businesses reopen. It will be comprised of relevant business associations, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford; Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina; House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron; and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights.

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