State Of The Union: Divided
On Tuesday, President Trump continued trying to sell the American people a delusional reality that has no grounding in the facts – a first year spent on petty feuds, few accomplishments despite Republican control of government, and a Russia investigation that gets closer to Trump every day. Yet another example of Trump’s willingness to financially benefit from being president, donors to his campaign had their names flash up on the livestream.
To get us through the speech, ProgressOhio made a State of the Union BINGO card.
Speaking of Russia, after a week spent attacking law enforcement officials at the FBI, Trump released a partisan, cherry-picked memo written by Republican attack dog Representative Nunes. Their goal is to erode trust in Special Prosecutor Mueller’s investigation, whose new target may be Communications Director Hope Hicks due to her allegedly promising that some of Trump Jr.’s damning emails wouldn’t get out to the public.
Top Consumer Health Watchdog Resigns After Being Outed For Buying Stock In Tobacco
Just one day after Trump’s State of the Union, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned in shame after a Politico investigation found she invested in tobacco stock just a month after taking the job. She had already been under scrutiny for conflicts of interest related to food and drug companies, but it was investments in what the CDC itself calls the “leading cause of preventable death” in America that got her kicked out. What are the chances her next move is to just come out in the open and become a lobbyist for the tobacco industry?
Cleveland Indians Ditch Chief Wahoo After Years Of Controversy
After years of denial, the Cleveland Indians are finally bowing to pressure from Native American activists, Major League Baseball, and common decency by removing Chief Wahoo from player uniforms. Read a history of the controversial logo, which originated in either 1932 or 1947.
Reminder: Trump tried to sell the Tribe back in the 1980s, a fact that ProgressOhio reminded 2016 World Series attendees by flying a plane over the stadium during Game 2.
Legislators Forced to Apologize After C-Word, Other Crude Remarks Towards Women
Several men in the Ohio Legislature had to apologize after saying crude, offensive remarks during a “roast” going-away party. Representative Seitz and Senator Huffman both made disgusting remarks that targeted their own colleagues. Huffman, whose comments went so far as to reference the “c-word” may still face disciplinary action, though it appears that despite the fact some lawmakers are calling on him to resign, Seitz may get away with just an apology.
Paid Family Leave Bill Introduced; Safe Staffing Bill Gets Hearing
Some female democratic legislators are pushing for a bill that would require 12 weeks of paid family leave. At a press conference earlier this week, Rep. Kristin Boggs said that “By adopting a statewide paid family leave policy, we believe we are sending a message across the country that Ohio is a place where you can work and raise a family.”
Supporters of the bill say women who use paid family leave are 39% less likely to receive public assistance. Read more here.
Nurses and health care advocates are looking to make Ohio the 19th state to prohibit nurse mandatory overtime. House Bill 456 received sponsor testimony and discussed why nurse fatigue, a consequence of mandatory overtime, poses dangers to patient care.
ECOT Scandal Leaves State Scrambling To Recover Millions
The recent closure of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), has left Ohio with limited options to recover the millions the school swindled from taxpayers. Thankfully it seems like there may be other options, like going after assets of ECOT founder William Lager and the companies he created to reap millions in profit off of the school.
Good Govt. Groups Call For Ethics Probe Over ECOT
ProgressOhio and Common Cause teamed up to file a complaint against Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell, who seems prepared to hear ECOT’s court appeal despite having a cozy relationship with the school and its founder, Lager. Following a pattern of Ohio politicians looking the other way, O’Donnell has been the sole judge supporting ECOT in the past while raking in thousands of campaign contributions, speaking at ECOT’s commencement, and using state resources to promote the school.
2018 ELECTION UPDATES
Complaint Alleges DeWine’s Son Improperly Heard Dad’s Cases
A special disciplinary counsel filed a complaint claiming Justice Pat DeWine violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by failing to disqualify himself from cases involving his father, Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is running for governor.
Justice DeWine is also accused of improperly using his influence in asking Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to hire his son for a summer job; Deters hired another of DeWine’s sons the previous summer.
The complaint states that “A reasonable mind could conclude that a litigant appearing before the Supreme Court, opposite an assistant attorney general, will not get an impartial decision.”
Pillich Takes A Swing At Cordray; Schiavoni Defends Citizen Activist
Earlier this week, former State Rep. and candidate for governor Connie Pillich took her political gloves off took a swing at Richard Cordray and said: “If we want to win in Ohio in 2018, Democrats have to understand that we cannot beat (Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate) Mike DeWine with our own version of Mike DeWine.” Read more here from The Columbus Dispatch.
Also this week, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni defended citizen activist Mia Lewis as she was testifying on redistricting reform. State Sen. Coley repeatedly interrupted Lewis, saying, “Let me ask you a question. You respond to my question. That’s the way the system works very well.”
Then State Sen. Joe Schiavoni stepped in. “You’re over here saying this is how this works, this is how this works and you are yelling at the witness. And then you are laughing at the witness. This is not how this is supposed to work. This is ridiculous the way that you treated her,” Schiavoni said.
Lewis says it was her first time testifying in front of Coley and this panel.