Another one bites the dust: Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, the sole Ohio candidate in the Democratic presidential contest, dropped out of the race Thursday amid dismal fundraising and polling numbers, writes cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton. He says he’ll run for re-election to the Youngstown-area congressional seat he’s held since 2003. Ryan, 46, said his campaign had “given voice to the forgotten communities and the forgotten people in the United States.”
Potty mouths: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman wants to crack down on online potty mouths who vandalize government comment sites with profanities, make threats, file comments under false names including his own, and post material intended to flood the system, like the text of War and Peace, reports Eaton. A Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report that Portman released Thursday said government systems to collect comments from the public on proposed rules are being deluged by spam, and suggested changes including the use of technologies like CAPTCHA to ensure that only real human beings are submitting comments.
Watch your language: On Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 54-39 to advance a bill that would change the information voters get when they consider whether to approve a local tax levy. Under House Bill 76, levy ballot langue would have to include the levy’s fiscal effect on the owner of a $100,000 home, as well as the total amount of money the levy would raise. State Rep. Derick Merrin, the bill’s sponsor, said the bill requires the same language commonly used in news accounts of local tax levies. Opponents said the information will be confusing to voters and make it harder for local governments to approve local ballot issues.
Of note: Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed similar language that appeared in the state budget bill in July, citing concerns from local county auditors. The bill now heads to the Senate. Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder told reporters: “Maybe through the testimony and things, the governor will have a change of opinion.”
Sicko mode: The number of people confirmed to have had severe lung illnesses after vaping is now up to 44, according to Ohio Department of Health data released Thursday. Thirty additional illnesses are under investigation.
Something to talk about: Is it time for defenders of House Bill 6 to spike the football? Do we really know why people are getting sick from vaping? And how long will it take to restore Lake Erie? Those were among the questions we explored in the latest episode of This Week in the CLE, cleveland.com’s podcast that analyzes the week’s news. We also discussed the significance of an op-ed by victims of former Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss and the secretive judge who oversaw Dave Joyce’s former campaign treasurer’s embezzlement case. Give it a listen.
Shifting ground: Could the House’s “Stand Your Ground” gun bill, introduced earlier this week, face an easier path to passage this time around? The Columbus Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow in a Thursday piece points out the major new variable is Gov. Mike DeWine, who unlike former Gov. John Kasich, has said he supports it.
Keeping at it: Residents of Hunting Valley, the affluent Cuyahoga County village, are continuing their quest to get a break on the property taxes they pay to their local school district. As Brent Larkin writes in a scathing cleveland.com opinion column, an aide for state Rep. Tom Patton confirmed the Strongsville Republican is continuing to pursue the issue even after DeWine blocked an attempt by residents to insert the tax break into the state budget.
Next steps for HB6 lawsuit: The legal battle over a potential House Bill 6 referendum is likely to continue for at least a few more weeks. On Thursday, a federal judge sent four certified questions to the Ohio Supreme Court regarding whether referendum proponents should get more time to collect petition signatures. Under Supreme Court rules, each side now has 20 days to file a memo explaining their arguments, after which the justices will decide whether to answer one or more of the questions. If they decide to answer, each side will file briefs and oral arguments will be held, and the Supreme Court will issue their opinion to the federal judge, who will rule based on it.
Mass consolidation: Licensed marijuana businesses – including some that haven’t yet opened their doors – in Ohio and other states are being bought up by larger companies, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jackie Borchardt writes. The result is that state regulators may be unprepared for the level of complexity of management agreements and investments from seasoned business people.
Beefed up charges: Prosecutors filed murder charges against Jordan A. Buckley and Jaden W. Churchheus, both 16, in connection to a 6-foot hemlock log that fell from a cliff in Hocking Hills State Park and killed Victoria Schafer, a Chillicothe photographer. The boys could be tried as adults. They were previously charged with reckless homicide, but the prosecutors changed the charges in part because the boys allegedly lacked remorse, the Columbus Dispatch’s Sheridan Hendrix reports.
Salt of the earth: Environmental groups are warning that the brine that comes up during oil and gas drilling, which is used on roads in the winter, contains radioactive metallic elements that could be unsafe when they run off into the soil and groundwater, the Dispatch’s Beth Burger reports. Environmentalists are split on whether the state law that regulates radium does enough to protect the public.
Happening today: DeWine is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 52, which creates a civilian cybersecurity force organized under the Ohio Adjutant General, in a Statehouse ceremony later this morning. The bill is backed by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, and is, in part, aimed at promoting election security.
Question: In what year did Congress ratify the Ohio Constitution?
Email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first correct respondent will be mentioned in next week’s newsletter.
Thanks for responding to last week’s trivia question: Can you name Ohio’s 10 largest cities, in order?
Last week’s answer: 1. Columbus (892,533, according to the latest estimates); 2. Cleveland (383,793); 3. Cincinnati (302,605); 4. Toledo (274,975); 5. Akron (198,006); 6. Dayton (140,640); 7. Parma (78,751); 8. Canton (70,458); 9. Youngstown (64,958); 10. Lorain (64,028).
Capitol Letter reader Scott Carley of Saybrook Township in Ashtabula County was the first to send in the correct answer. Thanks to those who responded!
Amanda Minick has joined the Ohio Department of Education as deputy communications director/press secretary. She most recently worked as an oncology nurse at The James Cancer Hospital and before that, worked in communications for the NFIB in Ohio.
Friday 10/25: Stephanie Baker, Ohio Senate Republicans’ constituent communications coordinator; Danielle DeLeon Spires, legislative aide for state Rep. Mary Lightbody
Saturday 10/26: State Rep. Beth Liston
Sunday 10/27: Thomas Hayworth, legislative aide for state Rep. Tracy Richardson; Emily Swedberg, legislative aide for state Rep. Bill Dean; Jacob Cox, Ohio’s 28th governor, U.S. interior secretary (1828-1900)
“Now run statewide. That’s always made more sense.”
– Markos Moulitsas, founder of the liberal publication Daily Kos, on what Ryan should do now that he’s not running for president. Ryan has considered running for higher office numerous times, but balked at every chance.
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