The abortion rights constitutional amendment campaign will largely use a trained volunteer signature collector: the Capitol Letter

The rotunda rumbles

Sign of the times: The coalition behind the Ohio abortion constitutional amendment proposal will use mostly trained volunteers to collect signatures for the November ballot, with some paid signature collectors. The campaign has yet to start collecting signatures. About 413,000 were needed by July 5, Laura Hancock reported.

Not pictured: The portrait of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder no longer hangs in the Ohio Statehouse. Jeremy Pelzer reported that the portrait was removed Wednesday after Household and one of its defendants, former Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges, were convicted of racketeering last week in Cincinnati federal court. The homeowner was kicked out of the House in 2021 after he was indicted in a $60 million conspiracy to pay a bailout worth more than $1 billion to Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.

Railing against rail proposal: Rail industry representatives spoke out on Thursday against rail safety provisions being pushed into the state’s transportation budget bill, saying they were in a hurry and would put a financial strain on smaller railroads. As Pelzer reports, Ohio Senate Transportation Committee Chair Stephanie Kunze also provided further details on the proposal to increase speed limits on many two-lane streets, and the president of the Brunswick city council applauded the committee’s decision to remove language that would result in a highway interchange. in a residential area of ​​the city.

Train fare: US Senator Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, on Thursday joined both Pennsylvania US Senators in introducing legislation that would create a new fund, paid for by companies that ship and transport materials by rail, to be used to reimburse local first responders. for the fees they incurred when the train derailed, wrote Sabrina Eaton. It was prompted by the experiences of first responders in Pennsylvania and Ohio responding to the Norfolk Southern derailment on February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, which spilled toxic chemicals.

Transit cash: Describing public transportation as a “connection network between neighborhoods and citizens,” the chief executive of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority on Thursday told a US Senate Committee that the historic increase in federal transit funding has made “a huge impact in Greater Cleveland,” Eaton wrote. The 30% increase in formula funding for the next five years from the Infrastructure Investment and Works Act 2021 will help GCRTA plan and complete several projects, including the rehabilitation of the Waterfront Bridge serving downtown, FirstEnergy Stadium, Great Lakes Science Museum, Home Arrange in an East Bank residential and entertainment district, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, GRCTA India CEO Birdsong Terry told a committee chaired by Brown.

Trading fraud: Brown teamed with GOP North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis on Wednesday to introduce legislation that would strengthen enforcement of US trade laws and give US companies the ability to take action against foreign competitors who try to circumvent US trade laws by driving their goods through the country. other. to avoid punishment. ” Ohioans know all too well how foreign competitors cheat the rules to steal American jobs , ” said the statement from Brown . “This is a continuous battle.”

Back behind bars: Matthew Slatzer, a North Cantonese neo-Nazi who rose to prominence during the April 2020 pandemic protests at the Ohio Statehouse for his sign showing a rodent with a Star of David and the words “the true plague”, was sentenced to four months in federal prison in part because he helped hand out flyers in Wadsworth ahead of a drag queen event that attracted white supremacists and violent clashes, Adam Ferrise reported. It was a probation violation for Slatzer, who said he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Appointment inquiries: It remains unclear if or when Justin Pizzulli will become a member of the Ohio House of Representatives following House Speaker Jason Stephens’ sudden decision to cancel voting on his appointment more than two weeks ago. House Republicans aligned with Stephens’ intra-caucus adversary, Rep. Derek Merrin, said they had a say in preventing Pizzulli, a Norfolk Southern train conductor, from being named to replace the former Rep. Brian Baldridge. Merrin said Thursday they would instead like to see one of the other three candidates named instead: Gina Collinsworth, who lost to Baldridge in the 2018 GOP primary; Portsmouth City Council Member Joseph Sandlin; or former County Commissioner Adams Ty Pell. The House has not met since the annulled vote in Pizzulli; Stephens has canceled session days scheduled for March 8 and 22.

Hair politics: US representatives Shontel Brown of Warrensville Heights and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, both Democrats, asked the Food and Drug Administration to review the safety of chemical hair straighteners, The Root reports. The couple wanted the FDA to determine whether the product contained a carcinogen that could cause uterine cancer. “As a result of anti-Black sentiments, Black women have been subjected to unfair scrutiny and forced to undergo extreme politicization of hair,” they wrote. “Therefore, generations of black women adapted to straightening their hair in an effort to achieve social and economic advancement.”

Records of violations of the law: The Hamilton County Court clerk violated the state’s public records law in 2021 when he refused to provide documents to an inmate about the Cincinnati Enquirer’s pursuit of court records in a criminal case. The Ohio Supreme Court ordered the clerk’s office to pay $1,000 to the inmate. Democrat Aftab Pureval, now mayor of Cincinnati, was running the clerk’s office at the time, reports Kevin Grasha of the Enquirer.

Supreme Court race: The Sabato Crystal Ball of the University of Virginia Center for Politics sees next year’s race for three Ohio Supreme Court seats going to continue to be fiercely partisan. The Ohio legislature recently required party labels on Supreme Court general election ballots, starting in November 2022. Judge Michael Donnelly, a Democrat, said he is seeking re-election. Justice Melody Stewart, a Democrat, has yet to announce whether she will seek re-election. Republican Justice Joe Deters, who gained statewide name recognition after serving as Ohio treasurer, must run to keep his seat, or he could challenge Donnelly or Stewart.

Investigation completed: Lack of training, failure to address certain hazards and problems implementing safe work practices during “failure” system conditions are some of the safety violations the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found in its investigation of the BP Products North America refinery in the September explosion that killed two Ohio workers. It has proposed a $150,000 fine, Blade’s Luke Ramseth and David Jacobs report.

Their split: Several Ohio Democrats, including Nina Turner and Tim Ryan, are frustrated with President Joe Biden for not visiting East Palestine to empathize with residents, reports Hill’s Caroline Vakil. But there are divisions among Ohio Democrats, as others — such as US Senator Sherrod Brown — say it is more important that the Biden administration respond to the incident, which they say is evident from the many officials in place from the US Environmental Protection Agency, National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies. .

Buckeye Brain Teaser

Question: Last month, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted made several administrative steps to prepare to run to replace limited-term Governor Mike DeWine in 2026. Who was the last Ohio lieutenant governor to be immediately elected governor in his next term?

Email your feedback to [email protected]. The first correct respondent will be named in next week’s newsletter.

Thanks to everyone who answered last week’s trivia questions:

This reporter is the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize. What’s his name and where did he grow up in Ohio?

Answer: In time for Women’s History Month, Anne O’Hare McCormick was born in England but spent part of her childhood in Columbus, graduating from St. Louis. Mary of the Springs Academy. He followed his family to Cleveland, then moved to Dayton when he married. McCormick became known for his reports from Europe, observing the rise of fascism and Benito Mussolini. She was the first woman on the editorial board of the New York Times, from 1936 to 1954, and the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for foreign correspondence in 1937.

Tom Needles of the Whitehall and Compass Consulting Group was the first to answer correctly.


Rep. US Emilia Sykes, an Akron Democrat, is among 18 House incumbents to get support and fundraising assistance from EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, Roll Call reports.

Cameron Keir has left his job as press secretary for the Ohio Democratic Party to become communications director for Mayor of Columbus Andrew Ginther’s re-election campaign.


Friday: US Representative Dave Joyce

Saturday: State Representative Richard Brown

Sunday: Matt Damschroder, director of the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services; Cameron Sagester, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party

Straight From The Source

“Public transport can sometimes be a thankless job, but I would say that, as a father of a five year old, three year old and one year old, five and three year old are boys, outside of firefighters, bus drivers may is the coolest profession in the world to my two children, or at least to my two sons. So, know that there is an army of kids who love what you do and appreciate it.”

– US Senator JD Vance, a Republican from Cincinnati, at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on public transit.

The Capitol Letter is a daily briefing that provides concise, timely information for those who are most concerned about the decisions made by state governments. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can register Here to get the Capitol Letter in your email box every weekday for free.

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