Lawmaker Wants Ohio Voters to Decide Recreational Marijuana Use This Year

One lawmaker is continuing his push to allow Ohio voters to decide in November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana after a lawsuit settlement pushed a potential ballot initiative to 2023.

A citizens group working for a vote this year reached a settlement with state officials recently that will put the measure on the ballot next year. Also, the state agreed to accept more than 140,000 signatures the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already collected.

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Short-Term Rental Bill Moves Forward in Ohio House

Ohio homeowners who want to get into the Arbnb business got a boost recently when a bill that would limit local restrictions moved out of a house committee.

Committee approval came over objections from several local government entities, the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association and the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission Republicans Argue for Previously Tossed Maps

Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission want the state’s Supreme Court to put legal challenges to proposed district maps on hold until after the November general election.

The commission majority wants to use state legislative district maps already ruled unconstitutional to hold an Aug. 2 primary and the general election. It wants the court not to order the commission to draw new maps until after November.

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Ohio Proposes $500 Million Investment Plan for Appalachia

Communities throughout Ohio’s Appalachian region could receive millions of dollars earmarked to revitalize downtowns and help rebuild economies if funding comes through for a $500 million plan from Gov. Mike DeWine.

The three-part proposal is expected to focus on revitalizing historic downtown districts, improving community health and rebuilding the local work force, according to a news release from the governor.

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JD Vance Wins GOP Senate Primary, Mike DeWine Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary

In what was called the first big test of former President Donald Trump’s political influence, J.D. Vance rode his late endorsement to a U.S. Senate primary win in Ohio on Tuesday.

Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, received the former president’s endorsement in late April and was the projected winner by The Associated Press over a large field that included businessman Mike Gibbons, State Sen. Matt Dolan, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and former head of the state GOP Jane Timken.

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Bail Reform in Ohio Becoming More of an Issue

A recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling focusing on considerations a judge weighs when setting bail has led to activity in the Ohio Statehouse.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost expressed so much concern about the court’s 4-3 decision in DuBose vs. McGuffey, a ruling that upheld an appellate court’s decision permitting the reduction of a murder suspect’s bail without considering community safety, that he recently announced his support for a proposed constitutional amendment regarding bail reform.

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Lawmakers Want Ohio’s State Vehicle Fleet to Transition to Electric

When the state of Ohio buys new vehicles, 25% of those would be electric in less than three years if a bill introduced in the Ohio House becomes law.

State Reps. Kent Smith, D-Euclid, and Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, want all new vehicles for state’s fleet of 12,405 to be completely electric by Jan. 1, 2030.

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Probable Cause Found in Blystone Financial-Reporting Probe; Election Commission Books Expedited Hearing One Day Before Election

Joe Blystone

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) found probable cause to further investigate and decide two complaints filed against Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Blystone’s campaign and booked a full-panel hearing for May 2, one day before the primary election.

Thursday, a Probable Cause panel comprised of commissioners D. Michael Crites (R), Charleta B. Tavares (D) and Ernest C. Knight (I) voted unanimously on an expedited investigation into cases that allege the Canal Winchester farmer and restauranteur improperly reported campaign contributions and expenditures and spent campaign funds for personal use.

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Ohio Unemployment Rate Dips, Remains Above National Average

Ohio added more than twice as many private-sector jobs in March than it did in February, and the state’s unemployment rate fell slightly, according to recently released figures by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Overall, the state’s unemployment rate for March of 4.1% was down slightly from February’s 4.2% but higher than the national average of 3.6%. Also, Ohio’s labor participation rate rose to 61.7% from 61.6%, below the national average of 62.4%.

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Ohio Supreme Court Throws Out Fourth Set of State Legislative Maps

The Ohio Supreme Court struck down a fourth set of state legislative district maps Thursday, ordering the Ohio Redistricting Commission to develop and adopt an entirely new set of maps by May 6.

The ruling declared the fourth set of maps invalid in its entirety. The new plan must be filed with Secretary of State Frank LaRose by 9 a.m. May 6 and filed with the court by noon the same day.

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Ohio Bill Aims at Protecting Free Speech for Students, Professors

Ohio college students and professors would be able to speak more freely without fear of punishment if a wide-ranging post-secondary education bill passed by the General Assembly gets Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature.

The legislation also addresses student financial aid, workforce development and offers a second-chance voucher system that would provide a pathway for people to return to school and earn a degree.

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Bill Would Force Ohio Long-Term Care Facilities to Allow Visitors During Pandemics

Ohio nursing home residents are a step closer to having visitors during the next pandemic or state of emergency after the General Assembly passed a bill that requires long-term care facilities to create a visitation plan to allow compassionate caregivers to enter facilities.

Substitute House Bill 120 outlines criteria for compassionate care visitations in long-term care facilities under CMS guidance during any future epidemic, pandemic and state of emergency.   

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Ohio Overtime Changes, Online Marketplace Bills Signed into Law

Ohio businesses will not have to pay employees overtime for some tasks, and high-volume online marketplace sellers will have to be identified after Gov. Mike DeWine signed two bills into law.

Senate Bill 47, which spent more than a year in the General Assembly, was one of the laws created with DeWine’s signature. Its changes to overtime pay requirements were a result of adjustments to employee workdays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also followed changes to federal overtime rules.

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Ohio Lawmaker Wants State Supreme Court to Pay for Second Primary

An Ohio lawmaker wants the Ohio Supreme Court to pay the potential $20 million price tag for a second primary election after it ruled three times legislative redistricting maps were unconstitutional.

Rep. Ron Ferguson, R-Jefferson, plans to introduce legislation to pull second primary election costs from the court’s budget, saying the Ohio Redistricting Commission worked in a bipartisan manner to develop new districts.

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OH-9 Incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur Facing Uphill Battle for Re-election

OH-9 incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur is facing an uphill battle in her campaign for reelection.

Prior to redistricting, Ohio’s Ninth Congressional district was considered a safe seat for the current Democrat occupant. Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight gave OH-9 a partisan rating of D+16. It now gives the district a R+6 rating.

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Always Right with Bob Frantz: Blue Collar Candidate Jonah Schulz Plans to Continue the America First Movement

Thursday morning on Always Right with Bob Frantz, weekday mornings on AM 1420 The Answer, host Frantz welcomed America First congressional candidate Jonah Schulz to the show to discuss why he’s running and the need for an end to establishment Republicans.

Frantz: Let’s welcome to the program now, Jonah Schulz. It’s been a little bit since we have talked to the candidate for Congress. I won’t say which district because I still don’t know what district he’s going to be running in, but he’s still running for Congress. And he joins us now on 1420 The Answer. Hi, Jonah. Good morning.

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Ohio Bill Would Require High-Volume Marketplace Sellers to Be Identified

Ohioans browsing and buying on online marketplaces would get more information about sellers if a bill aimed at organized retail crime is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

House Bill 272, which would require high-volume, third-party online sellers to disclose pieces of identifying information that could protect consumers, recently passed the Senate and is headed to DeWine’s desk.

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21 States Join Lawsuit to End Federal Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Public Transportation

Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.

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Gov. DeWine Declares the State of Ohio Strong; Dems Disappointed in Speech

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday the state of the state is strong but challenged the General Assembly to do more for mental health, addiction issues, state parks, children, highway safety, law enforcement and violent crime.

DeWine also asked lawmakers to invest more for economic development, addiction treatment and downtown redevelopment in the state’s 32-county Appalachian region.

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Bill Would Expand Medical Marijuana Program in Ohio

Ohioans suffering from migraines, arthritis or other medical conditions could be eligible for medical marijuana if a bill in the Ohio House to expand conditions eligible for treatment becomes law.

The legislation also would create the Division of Marijuana Control within the Department of Commerce to oversee the state’s medical marijuana program, rather than the State Pharmacy Board that currently controls it.

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Report: Ohio’s Tax Rate One of the Worst in the Nation

A new report ranks Ohio with one of the worst overall tax rates in the country as the tax filing deadline approaches.

The report, released by the personal finance website WalletHub, was teamed with the group’s annual taxpayer survey, which showed more than 70% of Americans believe more tax relief is necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Report: Ohio’s Sports Betting Law a Model for the Nation

The sports betting areas inside the casinos are like trading floors.

An industry group that tracks sports betting laws and revenue from gaming across the nation called Ohio’s new sports gambling law the best in the country.

PlayOhio, part of the PlayUSA Network, believes the state’s patience and collaborative approach to produce its sports gaming law set the bar high for state’s still debating gaming options. The group’s opinions are outline in a new market analysis recently published.

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Military Voting for Ohio’s May 3 Primary Remains Uncertain After Department of Defense Denies Waiver

The U.S. Department of Defense’s refusal to allow Ohio a waiver could jeopardize military voting in the state’s upcoming May 3 primary, state Democrats said.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose, however, has sent proposed legislation to the General Assembly he believes would sidestep any issues as the state continues to wait on Ohio Supreme Court approval of state and congressional district maps.

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State Senator Wants Ohio to Be Leader in Electric Vehicle Market

A northeast Ohio state senator believes moving the state more rapidly into the electric vehicle industry is the way to restore the state’s once booming auto industry.

Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, wants the state to take advantage of billions of dollars in investments planned by the auto industry in the electric vehicle market over the next three years by offering incentives to convert traditional plants and create a high-tech workforce.

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Sixteen States File New Lawsuit Against Federal COVID Vaccination Mandate

Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.

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Petition to Ban Ohio Vaccination Mandates Turned Away for Third Time

Another attempt by a grassroots group to create an Ohio law that would ban vaccination mandates was turned away by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Yost rejected the summary of a petition for the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act, a proposed statue that would require the state to protect the privacy and freedom of Ohioans to abstain from vaccinations or gene therapy without being discriminated against.

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The Ohio Star Podcast: Interview with Jim Renacci, Peter D’Abrosca on Marjorie Taylor Greene Endorsing J.D. Vance, Meet Corey Gibson

In the latest episode of The Ohio Star Podcast, Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor for The Star News Network, hosts The Ohio Star Podcast. In this episode, Neil interviews TSSN reporter Peter D’Abrosca talks about his story on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.-Ga.) endorsing Senate hopeful J.D. Vance and his inactions with the Food and Drug Administration withdrawing approval of COVID-19 antibody drugs.

Also: former congressman Jim Renacci talks about the new poll of 800 Republican Primary Voters conducted Jan. 11 through Jan. 13 his campaign just released.

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Analysis: The Top Governor’s Races to Watch This Year

Democrats four years ago rode a blue wave to governors’ mansions across the country, flipping Republican-held seats in the Midwest, Northeast and West alike.

Now, however, many of those governors face Republican challengers amid a political environment that looks potentially promising for the GOP, meaning that contentious races may lie ahead in some of the nation’s most pivotal battleground states. Republicans have already had two strong showings in states that lean Democratic, flipping the governor’s seat in Virginia and coming surprisingly close in New Jersey, a state that voted for President Joe Biden by 16 points in 2020.

Governors in less competitive states are also facing primary challengers from the left and right, making for multiple bitter, closely-followed primaries between candidates from different wings of the same party.

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Ohio Election Commission Decides to Move Complaint Against GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Joe Blystone to a Full Hearing

The preliminary hearing to review allegations of wrongdoing by Ohio gubernatorial candidate Joe Blystone was referred to a full hearing by the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) on Thursday.

The action stems from a complaint filed with the Commission that alleges Blystone underreported cash contributions, failed to disclose the names of those contributors in campaign finance reports, and that the purpose of doing so was to “facilitate a theft of these campaign funds by the respondents.”

The Ohio Star reported in early November that former co-campaign manager, Sarah Chambers, filed the complaint.

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In Fallout over National School Board Group’s Letter to Biden About Parents, Ohio, Missouri Depart

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

The backlash from the incendiary language in a recent letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking for federal law enforcement to intervene on outspoken parents at school board meetings escalated this week when the group’s Ohio and Missouri chapters withdrew their respective memberships.

The Missouri School Boards Association in announcing its departure said the national group “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.”

The Ohio chapter was more direct, saying in its letter Monday that its departure was a “direct result” of the Sept. 29 letter to Biden.

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Ohio Democrats Continue to Challenge Republican-Dominated Redistricting Commission

The new Ohio Redistricting Commission, facing an Oct. 31 deadline to redraw the state’s congressional district maps, is receiving the same criticism from Democratic lawmakers as it did during the state legislative map-drawing process.

House Democratic leaders have called on Republican members of the commission to release draft maps so the commission can work toward an agreement before the Oct. 31 deadline. The commission, made up of five Republicans and two Democrats, must reach a unanimous decision for maps to last 10 years.

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Trump Won’t Commit to 2024 Run, Says He’ll Decide ‘in the Not Too Distant Future’

Former President Donald Trump did not commit to running for president in 2024 while on Fox News on Thursday, but said he’d make a decision “in the not too distant future.”

“I think you’ll be very happy,” Trump told host Greg Gutfeld. “I’ll make a decision in the not too distant future, but I love our country.”

Trump contradicted his previous statement to Sean Hannity in June, according to which he had already made a decision on whether he would run for president again.

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Ohio Bill Would Close Teacher Misconduct Loophole

Two Ohio lawmakers want to close a loophole in state law that allows teachers who are under investigation for misconduct to retire and school districts to not file a report with the Ohio Department of Education.

The legislation, filed this week by Reps. Adam Miller, D-Columbus, and Sarah Fowler-Arthur, R-Geneva-on-the-Lake, was proposed after five Rocky River School District teachers resigned and one retired in the spring as the district investigated alleged inappropriate contact.

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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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Potential Ohio Legislation Aimed at Curbing Social Media Censorship

Social media companies would not be allowed to censor Ohioans from expressing their views without notifying the user and offering an appeal process or risk being sued under a proposed bill.

Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, said he plans to introduce legislation that prohibits social media platforms from censoring users unless statements violate state or federal law.

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Reported Hacking of Ohio’s Unemployment System Raises Concerns

An Ohio lawmaker wants the state to provide more answers quickly as to why personal information and online portal accounts were compromised on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website.

Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, wrote to ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder after witness testimony reported the hacking of personal, online portal accounts allowed bank routing information to be changed and unemployment funds to be redirected.

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Amazon Plans to Open Department Stores

Amazon is planning to open department stores where consumers can purchase a variety of goods like clothing and electronics, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The planned expansion of Amazon brick-and-mortar stores is the online retail giant’s latest attempt to disrupt the industry, according to a WSJ report Thursday. The Seattle-based company has recently expanded its brick-and-mortar grocery store footprint, opening 17 Amazon Fresh stores nationwide, and is developing at least 20 more, Bloomberg reported.

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Ohio Village Enacts Mask Mandate, Affects Local School

When a local school district decided not to require masks for students and staff, a small north central Ohio village decided to take matters into its own hands.

Gambier, a town of about 2,500 people about 60 miles northeast of Columbus, enacted a mask mandate during an emergency village council meeting Monday, encompassing nearly all public buildings, including an elementary school.

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Ohio Moves Closer to Being ‘Most Military Friendly State’

Ohio lawmakers return from recess in September with an opportunity to make the state the “most military friendly state in the country,” following the introduction of a bill that requires government agencies to ask about veteran status.

The bill, introduced earlier this month by Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, proposes to provide opportunities to better connect veterans with services. It also requires government agencies to ask about active duty military status and inform service members of other resources.

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Ohio Could Receive More than $11B from Federal Infrastructure Bill

Ohio could pocket more than $11 billion if Congress moves forward with passage of an infrastructure compromise bill spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the Senate on Tuesday, 69-30. The bill still must pass the House.

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State Lawmakers Strip Four Democrat and Two Republican Governors’ Power After Overreach During COVID-19 Pandemic

State legislatures in six states limited their governors’ emergency powers wielded during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing executives have overextended their authority.

As of June 2021, lawmakers in 46 states have introduced legislation stripping governors of certain emergency powers, according to USA Today. Legislatures justified their actions as necessary to restore a balance between the branches of state government, pointing to examples of executive overreach and the centralization of power in the hands of governors.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission Completes First Meeting

aerial view of the Ohio Statehouse

What the first of meeting of Ohio’s new redistricting commission lacked in substance Friday, it made up for in history.

The first-ever meeting of the commission lasted only a few minutes; enough time for members to take the oath of office and for co-chairs House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, to make short statements.

The history came in the meeting itself after Ohio voters established the Ohio Redistricting Commission in 2018 to redraw congressional and legislative district maps. The commission consists of Gov. Mike DeWine, State Auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, along with appointments from both House and Senate Republicans and Democrats.

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Ohio Group: New Eviction Moratorium Buys Time

Eviction Notice for Nonpayment document with a wooden judge gavel

An Ohio group applauded the federal government’s move to issue a new eviction moratorium just as courts across Ohio were beginning the process of hearing eviction cases again this week.

The Biden administration announced a new moratorium on evictions Tuesday evening despite doubts over whether the order will hold up in court.

The order lasts 60 days and applies only to areas hit hardest by COVID-19. It was issued after the previous order expired Saturday and is expected to cover roughly 80% of counties in the U.S.

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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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Ohio Attorney General, Others File Brief in Support of Georgia’s New Election Laws

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is leading 15 other state attorneys general in backing Georgia’s effort to dismiss a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new voter laws.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Georgia, Georgia’s secretary of state and other election officials in June, saying several provisions of the state’s recent voting reform law blocks the right to vote for Georgians based on race.

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Second Push to Legalize Marijuana in Ohio Moves Ahead

The same week an Ohio group announced its plans to start the formal process to put marijuana legalization in front of the General Assembly, two lawmakers introduced legislation to legalize its recreational use.

“It’s time to lead Ohio forward,” Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson, said. “This is a big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity, and for our individual liberties.”

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Judge: Extra Unemployment Benefits Not Restored in Ohio

A Franklin County judge ruled Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has the power to stop extra federal unemployment payments, denying an attempt to restore the weekly $300 payments that he stopped in late June.

Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook denied the request from former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would have restored the benefits that the federal government plans to end on Labor Day.A Franklin County judge ruled Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has the power to stop extra federal unemployment payments, denying an attempt to restore the weekly $300 payments that he stopped in late June.

Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook denied the request from former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would have restored the benefits that the federal government plans to end on Labor Day.

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Group Takes Step Toward Legal Marijuana in Ohio

A group pushing for legalizing marijuana in Ohio began the formal process to send proposed legislation to the General Assembly.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted the language of its plan to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The submission of the first 1,000 signatures, according to group spokesman and attorney Tom Haren, will require Yost to review and approve the petition language within 10 days.

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