Commentary: Congress Must Fight Modern Day Slavery

Sad Person

On February 13, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act with a vote of 414-11. The bipartisan legislation, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), will reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 – which expired in 2021 – and provide approximately $1 billion in funding over five years for programs that combat the scourge of human trafficking.

Among the measures included in the comprehensive legislation are educational grants to provide situational awareness training and prevention for elementary and secondary students; funding reauthorization for the International Megan’s Law and Angel Watch programs; and authorization for programs that support survivors’ employment, housing, and education.

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Commentary: This Has to Be the End of the Road for Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell Senate

Mitch McConnell has to be finished as the caucus leader for the Republicans in the Senate. Now. He has to resign, and if he won’t, then that caucus needs to get together and force him out.

Now. Not next week, not next month, not after this election cycle. Now.

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Steve Bannon, Former GOP Candidate Call on Republicans to ‘Stay in DC and Get Things Done’

Former Ohio gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci has echoed WarRoom host Steve Bannon’s call on Republican lawmakers in Congress to “stop going home” and instead pass a budget instead of another continuing resolution.

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Senators Launch Bipartisan Effort to End Unemployment Payments for ‘Jobless Millionaires’

Joni Ernst Mike Braun Jon Tester

A bipartisan effort is underway in the Senate to end what lawmakers are calling unemployment payments for “jobless millionaires.”

“Nearly 15,000 people who made $1 million or more last year were paid over $200 million in jobless assistance,” according to statement released Thursday on the effort by bill co-sponsor Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

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Potential Candidates California Gov. Gavin Newsom May Consider for Dianne Feinstein’s Vacant Seat

After Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California passed away on Friday, the Daily Caller News Foundation compiled a list of politicians who may be appointed to her seat by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, in keeping with his pledge to name a black woman to the position.

Newsom pledged to nominate a black woman to temporarily fill a potential vacancy in Feinstein’s seat in March of 2021, when health complications had raised questions about whether she would complete her term. After Newsom updated his pledge on Sept. 10, saying that he would only appoint someone who isn’t currently a candidate for the seat, the DCNF compiled a list of Democratic black women politicians from California who may be appointed based on his requirements.

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Senate Unanimously Approves Suit-and-Tie Dress Code

The Senate unanimously approved a suit-and-tie dress code in a resolution that came a week and a half after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the decades-old unofficial policy would be relaxed.

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin proposed the resolution with the new enforceable standards, which the Senate agreed to Wednesday by unanimous consent.

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Top Montana State Republican Lawmakers Break from National GOP, Reveal Their Senate Pick

Republican leaders in both chambers of Montana’s state legislature along with 37 other lawmakers are backing U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale for Senate in 2024, who has yet to launch a bid and is not the favorite of the GOP in Washington, D.C.

Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy was recruited to run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman Steve Daines of Montana and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and has received endorsements from GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte along with numerous other national Republicans. Montana’s Senate President Jason Ellsworth, Speaker of the House Matt Regier and other legislators argued Rosendale is the best candidate to beat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and challenge the “establishment” in Washington, D.C., according to the letter.

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Commentary: Time for House to Join Senate, Reclaim Congress’ War Powers

The Senate voted overwhelmingly, and on a bipartisan basis, last week to repeal the obsolete 1991 and 2002 Iraq Authorized Use of Military Force resolutions by a vote of 66-30.

That is sound policy, as I previously wrote here. It’s time for the House of Representatives to debate the Senate-passed repeal, and while doing so, keep in mind the many reasons why it should repeal these vestigial AUMFs, given the current threat environment.

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Commentary: A Tactic House Republicans Can Use to De-Weaponize Government

The House “weaponization of government” hearings kicked off an excellent start for public awareness. But without a legislative agenda, the short-staffed subcommittee will show little enduring accomplishment. 

House reformers don’t believe they can force some of the necessary changes because the Senate and Joe Biden oppose them. So they haven’t prepared a strategic legislative agenda. 

Yet, there is reason for hope and change. 

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Conservative Senators Demand Spending Cuts, Fiscal Reform in Debt Ceiling Deal

Fiscal hawks in the Senate reiterated their demands for fiscal reforms and spending cuts Tuesday as they voiced their support for House Republicans to lead the heavy-lifting on addressing the nation’s debt ceiling crisis. “We have an opportunity to stop the madness, and it’s incumbent on the Republican majority in the House and Republicans in the Senate to use every lever point we have,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a press conference on the debt ceiling and runaway spending.

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Senate Passes $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill

The Senate on Thursday passed a massive $1.7 billion omnibus spending bill, sending the bill to the House for a hasty vote before midnight Friday to avert a partial government shutdown.

The bill includes at least $44 billion in additional money to help Ukraine thwart Russia’s invasion and was thrown into peril overnight by a GOP effort to force a vote on an amendment to the measure to extend a Trump-era effort to limit illegal immigration amid the pandemic by using a decades-old legal authority known as Title 42. 

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Senate Passes Respect for Marriage Act

The Senate on Tuesday evening passed the Respect for Marriage Act to require that states recognize lawful marriages from other states while providing protections for religious liberty.

The bill passed with crossover support from Republicans, allowing it to clear the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. It will now move to the House of Representatives, which previously passed a similar package. The final count was 61-36.

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Ohio Lawmakers Prepare for the First Week of Lame-Duck Session

After taking a break over the summer and part of the fall for the general election, lawmakers are returning to the Ohio Statehouse to consider many different bills before the two-year session of this general assembly ends in December.

The committees and floor votes which occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, work to conclude urgent or unfinished bills that lawmakers have introduced. Once the session ends, lawmakers will either overlook or reject the bills and legislators, returning incumbents, and newly-elected officials will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

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Commentary: Democrats Face Historic Headwinds in Tuesday’s Midterm Elections

Regardless of all that wispy smoke Democrats and their allies in the news media are blowing, key polls suggest Republicans are still likely to win back control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections and have a better than even chance to take over the Senate.

Historically, one of the strongest indicators – perhaps the strongest indicator – of how a party will do in midterm elections is the job approval rating of the incumbent president. Parties of presidents who are down in the polls usually lose congressional seats. Parties of presidents up in the polls generally gain seats in the midterms.

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Ohio Voters May Be in New House, Senate, and Congressional Districts Due to Redistricting

Ohio’s journey to develop maps for the legislative and congressional voting districts has put many voters in new Ohio House, Senate, and Congressional districts for the upcoming election.

When voters go to the polls next week they may notice that they have different lawmakers representing them at the Statehouse and in Washington.

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Democrat Tim Ryan Now Says He’s in Favor of Ohio State Issues 1 and 2

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) now says he is planning to vote “yes” for State Issues 1 and 2 making him the fourth and last leading statewide Ohio candidate to do so.

When asked previously about the state issues Ryan stated he had not “read them” and intends to “dig into them before I make a decision.” Vance has endorsed both state issues, calling them “common sense.” Republican Governor Mike DeWine and his Democratic contender Nan Whaley have also said they will vote for both ballot initiatives.

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Ohio’s U.S. Senate Race in Virtual Dead Heat

Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and Republican control of at least one Ohio U.S. Senate seat remains a tossup as the Nov. 8 general election creeps closer.

The most recent Suffolk University and USA Today poll shows Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance in a dead heat, keeping with poll numbers from a variety of organizations over the past month.

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Proposed Ohio House Bill Looks to Eliminate ‘Third Grade Reading Guarantee’

House Bill 497 sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Phil Robinson (D- Solon) would eliminate student retention under Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.

Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee is a program utilized to identify students who are behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade. Since the 2013-14 school year, third graders must obtain a 685 score or higher on a standardized reading test or they will be held back a grade.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Expand Paid Parental Leave for State Employees

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 360, aims to increase paid parental leave for state employees.

State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the bill which would extend paid parental leave for state employees from six weeks to twelve weeks for parents of newborn or adopted children. This bill would also eliminate the waiting period of two- weeks which is required prior to accessing paid parental leave.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Address Teacher Shortage by Employing Veterans

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 361, aims to address the current teacher shortage by allowing veterans to become teachers without having a background in education provided they pass a particular set of criteria set forth in the bill.

State Senator Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) sponsored the bill, which allows a veteran to become an educator by completing four years of service, being honorably discharged, or receiving a medical separation.

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Herschel Walker Denies ‘In Strongest Possible Terms’ Paying for Abortion, in Report Threatening Senate Bid

Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker says he will file a defamation suit Tuesday morning against a news outlet for its report that he paid for a woman’s abortion over 10 years ago – an allegation he says he denies in “the strongest possible terms.”

The report was published Monday by the Daily Beast, based on an allegation from an ex-girlfriend and could have a major impact on Walker, who’s a strong anti-abortion candidate, and his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock. 

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Bill Clinton Warns Democrats Not to Let ‘Defund the Police and Socialism’ Hurt Them This Election

Former President Bill Clinton warned the Democratic Party that it shouldn’t let “defund the police and socialism” damage their chances of winning the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton was asked how the U.S. should handle existing threats to its democracy.

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New Ohio Senate Bill Aims to Make ‘Swatting’ a Felony

In response to 8 Ohio schools going into lock down on Friday, due to an internet hoax that sent false reports about active shooters on their campuses, additional support has been gathered for Senator Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) bill (SB292) to stop ‘swatting’ and making fake emergency calls a felony in the state.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘swatting’ is: to make a false report of an ongoing serious crime in order to elicit a response from law enforcement (such as the dispatch of a SWAT unit)

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Senate Delays Vote on National Same-Sex Marriage Bill Until After Midterms

A highly contentious vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level has been put on hold until after the November midterms, as the legislation struggles to garner 60 votes in support.

Politico reports that the bipartisan group of senators working on the bill, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, made their announcement on Thursday. They had previously been considering a vote on the legislation as soon as Monday of next week, but determined that they could not garner enough Republican support to overcome a possible filibuster that would kill the legislation.

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Republican Senators, Manchin Revive Trump-Era Energy Reform

The Senate voted to reinstate rules helping expedite the construction of energy infrastructure that persisted under former President Donald Trump, eliminating a final rule that was previously imposed by the Biden administration.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a united Republican caucus to pass a Resolution of Disapproval in a 50-47 vote by using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the Biden administration’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, according to Senate logs. The move will accelerate federal permitting for the development of crucial future energy, mining, and infrastructure projects.

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Senate Approves Sweden and Finland’s NATO Entry

The United States Senate voted to approve a treaty to allow Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.

The treaty received bipartisan support and was passed with 95-1 votes in favor of expanding NATO, The New York Times reported. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced their support for the ratification of the treaty and the growth of the organization.

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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Faces Uncertain Future in the Senate

The U.S. House passed a bill to codify same-sex marriage late Tuesday, but whether it will pass the Senate remains up in the air.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” passed the House 267-157 with 47 Republicans voting in favor. The legislation would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. That law has been largely gutted by the Supreme Court but still remains on the books.

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Legislation Could Create Licensure Reciprocity in Ohio

Ohio moved a step closer to recognizing business licenses from other states, which could help with an ongoing labor shortage, a Columbus-based policy group believes.

The House and Senate each passed versions of bills that would adopt universal occupational license recognition before the summer recess, a move The Buckeye Institute believes will make the state more attractive to newcomers and allow employers more options to fill open spots.

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Senate Confirms Biden’s ‘Radical’ FTC Pick Criticized for Anti-ICE Stance

The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee Alvaro Bedoya to the empty fifth seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The 50-50 Senate vote was broken with a tie breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris, and gives Democrats a 3-2 advantage at the FTC. Bedoya, who is professor at Georgetown Law, was previously criticized by Senate Republicans for his past comments on social media and in other outlets opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after President Joe Biden announced his nomination.

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Rand Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.

According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.

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Minnesota House and Senate Pass $25 Million Broadband Expansion Bill

It will cost Minnesota taxpayers $25 million in fiscal year 2023 to expand high-speed broadband access across the state if the governor signs a bill both legislative houses passed this week.

HF 4366, an omnibus agriculture and housing bill, includes increasing availability of grant funding for broadband from 50% to 75% of the total cost of a project, or up to $10 million, rather than a $5 million limit. Under the bill, the Office of Broadband Development must report to broadband policy and finance committees’ leaders by the end of 2022 how the bill changes the number and amounts of grants awarded.

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Americans Support Trump’s China Tariffs as Republican Senators Push to Remove Them

As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.

“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”

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GOP Sen. Collins Says She’ll Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she’ll will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, guaranteeing President Biden’s judicial nominee at least a slim path toward confirmation.

Jackson will need 51 votes in final Senate vote – with the chamber evenly split among 50 Democrats and 50 Republican. With no GOP support, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the decisive, tiebreaker vote.

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Ohio House Passes Bill Aimed at Nuclear Power Development

“In recent years, there has been a global shift in attitudes toward the development of new nuclear technologies to deploy scalable clean energy,” Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, said. “This legislation will bring Ohio to the forefront of advanced nuclear innovation and strengthen our domestic supply chains. This legislation is a proactive measure to tell the federal government Ohio is here to be a solution to find a clean, carbon-free energy source.”

The new authority, according to a news release, would be responsible for the development of advanced nuclear reactor commercialization, isotope production and nuclear waste reduction.

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Arizona Senate Study Estimates 200K Ballots Counted in 2020 with Mismatched Signatures

Astudy of Maricopa County’s mail ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimates that more than 200,000 ballots with mismatched signatures were counted without being reviewed, or “cured” — more than eight times the 25,000 signature mismatches requiring curing acknowledged by the county.

Commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, the signature verification pilot study was conducted by Shiva Ayyadurai’s Election Systems Integrity Institute, which released its final report to the public on Tuesday. Ayyadurai is an engineer and entrpreneur with four degrees from MIT who bills himself as the inventor of email, a claim which critics have alleged is exaggerated.

Of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots that Maricopa County received and counted in the 2020 presidential election, the county reported that 25,000, or 1.3%, had signature mismatches that required curing, but only 587 (2.3%) of those were confirmed mismatched signatures.

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Postal Service Legislative ‘Fix’ Will Dump Workers on Medicare

A bill to “fix” the troubled United States Post Office (USPS) is on the verge of passage in the Senate but does it solve more problems than it creates? The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 3076 was scheduled for a vote earlier this month but was blocked by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) on a procedural technicality.  “We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott said of the bill.

Now it’s back and on track for a vote in the Senate.

The biggest financial liability facing the USPS is the legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance for its workers. Congress has found a way around that by dumping the future postal workers on to Medicare.

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Two Key Senate Races Moved in GOP’s Direction by Noted Election Handicapper Cook Political Report

Richard Burr and Michael Bennet

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted its forecasts for two 2022 Senate races in the direction of Republicans.

The report moved the North Carolina Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr moved from “toss-up” to “likely Republican.” And moved the Colorado Senate race, in which Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet is seeking a third term, from “solid Democrat” into the “likely Democrat” catagory.

The North Carolina GOP primary is now a competitive race between former President Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker, with (with Budd and McCrory currently deadlocked).

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Democrats, Environmentalists Stay Silent on U.S. Energy Independence Amid Ukraine Crisis

Democrats and environmental groups were silent when asked about the importance of U.S. energy independence in light of the energy market volatility caused by the Ukraine crisis.

Several Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who hold leadership roles on committees or subcommittees tasked with overseeing energy policy ignored requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday about the importance of promoting U.S. energy independence. In addition, five major environmental groups chose not to address the issue or stayed silent when asked about the issue.

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Ohio Businesses Could Get $25K in Tax Breaks to Train Truck Drivers

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would give employers $25,000 in tax credits to train new drivers in an effort to help companies across the state alleviate a growing truck driving shortage.

House Bill 197, backed by trucking and business organizations, now heads to the Senate. It passed the House, 97-0, this week.

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Senate Report Confirms Thousands of Americans Were Left Behind in Afghanistan Following Biden Regime’s Botched Withdrawal

Thousands of Americans were left in Afghanistan after the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal last summer, according to a stunning new report released by the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Biden administration officials claimed that number of Americans left behind was only 100-150.

According to the report, published by Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Biden Administration “did not hold a senior-level interagency meeting to discuss an evacuation or formally task the State Department (State) to contact at risk populations, including Americans, until August 14, just hours before Kabul fell.”

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Bill Strips Ohio School Districts’ Ability to Challenge Property Valuations

Ohio State House

Property owners could be spared challenges to property valuations from local school districts and the potential of higher property taxes if a bill recently passed by the Ohio Senate clears the House and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Amended House Bill 126 stops local school districts from initiating challenges to property tax valuations and appealing a decision from the board of revision to the board of tax appeals if a property owner filed a challenge.

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) called the legislation an overreach, while the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Realtors Association supported the bill and recently penned an opinion piece on it.

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Commentary: Replacing the Irreplaceable Nancy Pelosi

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as he departs the U.S. Capitol after addressing the House Democratic Caucus, Thursday, October 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Last week there was quite a lot of news media chatter about swapping Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden on the 2024 Democrat presidential ticket, a fascinating concept that pundits couldn’t stop talking about. It didn’t receive nearly the headlines, but whispers involving the impending retirement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and her eventual replacement — have also begun in earnest.

Of course, there’s been no formal announcement that she’s leaving — either from the Speaker herself or the poohbahs at Democrat National Committee headquarters. But like all worst kept secrets, everyone with a brain and some knowledge of American politics understands that Pelosi shares characteristics with a ticking time bomb set to go off later this year.

With the prospects for Democrats holding the majority after this year’s federal midterm elections growing dimmer by the day, folks have initiated a political death watch for the soon-to-be 82-year-old gavel bearer. A large number of veteran party incumbents have officially indicated they’re heading for the exits after this session concludes. Combined with redistricting changes (after the 2020 census) and a basketful of “moderate” (they’re really not balanced, but that’s how the media refers to them) Democrats facing fierce headwinds in their swing districts, and the numbers bloodbath could/should be scary.

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