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Experts Predict Algae Blooms Will be Less Severe than Recent Years
There is good news for those who enjoy the wonders of Lake Erie – Ohio’s greatest natural resource. Experts predict that this year’s algae bloom will be less severe. This hopeful prediction is based on less rain than most recent years during the spring and early summer planting season. Boaters and swimmers are still expected to encounter an algae bloom it just won’t be as bad as prior years, nor is likely to threaten a municipal water supply.
Governors, Goats, Dare Devils and Elephant Ears: A Visual History of America’s Largest State Fair
The Ohio State Fair opened last week and will run through Sunday, August 7. The annual event first began in 1850. The Plain Dealer compiled photos from past Fairs that include former governors and the famous butter sculptures.
Former Ohio AG and Top Vote-Getter Betty Montgomery is Latest GOP Woman to Thump Trump; Portman Still Supports Him
Stating she is ashamed and embarrassed, former Ohio Attorney General and past top GOP vote-getter Betty Montgomery declared that she will not be voting for Donald Trump. Ms. Montgomery made it clear that she does not see a path to her voting for the GOP Presidential nominee. She said:
“I’m not abandoning my party. But at some point, the safety and security of your country and its place in the world is more important than party.”
U.S. Senator Rob Portman claims that he speaks out when he disagrees with Donald Trump’s statements but he will not retract his endorsement of Trump. Portman claims that Trump has better solutions for the U.S. economy and our safety than does Hillary Clinton. That’s interesting since Trump has yet to release a coherent or comprehensive plan on any major issue, instead he just make grandiose claims on how great things will be under his presidency.
Ohio’s AG and Secretary of State Ring Up Multimillion-Dollar Legal Fees to Defend Voter Suppression Laws
Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine, both self-described fiscal conservatives, like to spend our tax dollars on losing court cases. The latest cases involve appeals of court rulings that concluded Ohio has engaged in illegal voter suppression. Voting advocates challenged laws passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed into law by Governor John Kasich and administrative rulings made by Ohio’s top elections official Jon Husted. Subodh Chandra, the civil rights attorney who has prevailed in many voting rights cases, equates the protracted litigation to “running a Ponzi scheme against yourself.” The legal fee tally for the state on voting rights fights is in excess of $2.7 million and counting. Those funds would be better spent ensuring Ohioans can cast their votes and all properly cast votes are counted.
Black Leaders Hammer Race-Based Voting Laws; Urge Sen. Portman to Help Shore up Voting Rights Act
At a Thursday press conference in Cincinnati, State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati), who heads the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, said Ohio has been part of a nationwide effort to limit voting opportunities that specifically hurt African-Americans and other minorities. Reece was joined by black ministers outside the federal courthouse hours before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit heard a case to invalidate two Ohio voting laws passed in 2014.
“Neither your zip code nor your race should dictate whether or not your vote is counted,” Reece told the news conference. She also used the occasion to call for adding a Voter Bill Rights to the Ohio Constitution, a cause that Reece has long championed.
The case heard by the 6th Circuit centers on two Ohio laws that added new requirements for how thousands of absentee and provisional ballots are counted. A U.S. District Court judge ruled the new requirements unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appealed the ruling and on Thursday the judges heard arguments from both sides.
Civil rights lawyer Subodh Chandra told his Facebook fans the arguments seemed to go well writing:
“When the appeals-court judges are questioning whether Husted’s disenfranchisement practices even have a rational basis, things might work out.”
You can listen to the arguments here.
Wrong Again, Donald. Immigrants Are Actually Helping Ohio’s Economy
The GOP Presidential nominee’s rhetoric against immigrants was dealt a blow in Ohio this week. Global Cleveland released a report that demonstrates the positive impact immigrants have on Ohio’s economy. Immigrants paid $1.3 billion in state and local taxes in 2014. Though the report focused on documented immigrants, it also reported that undocumented workers paid $67.6 million in taxes in 2014.
Ohio Bids Farewell to Congressman Steve LaTourette and Summit County Executive Russ Pry; RIP
The passing on Wednesday of former Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette caused his former colleagues both Democratic and Republican to remember him fondly. LaTourette retired amid frustration over the growing partisanship in Congress. While his former colleagues note LaTourette’s bipartisanship and kindness, he was also known for his sharp-tongue and quick-wit. He was noted for calling the Tea Party “nutty.”
Northeast Ohio is mourning the passing of another well-respected politician, former Summit County Executive Russ Pry. The Democrat is being remembered as a kind, open and honest and a politician who was respectful of the press and the job they had to do. The Akron Beacon Journal Editorial Page Editor, Michael Douglas, memorialized Pry by saying:
“He understood the room that people needed to have their say; to disagree. He had the ability to see outside himself. He understood everybody’s roles.”
Effort to Bring a Living Wage to Cleveland Now Before Ohio Supreme Court
The Raise Up Cleveland campaign has taken its effort to increase Cleveland’s minimum wage to the Ohio Supreme Court. The campaign is doing its best to be prepared for the City Council’s rejection of its initiative by filing the necessary signatures to get on the November ballot. However, the city clerk is refusing to accept the signatures since the matter is still pending before Council. If the city prevails in court it will be allowed to run out the clock and prevent voters from deciding on the increase.
As Rainy Day Fund Tops $2 Billion, Ohioans Wonder Where to Find Money for Local Services
A rainy day has its place but critics say Ohio’s Rainy Day Fund is being built on the backs of low-income Ohioans and local governments. GOP lawmakers and Governor John Kasich like to crow about the nearly $2 billion now in the fund. State Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) pointed out that the increase in the state’s saving account has caused a decrease in the Local Government Fund which helps municipalities. This has forced municipalities to pass more levies to pay for their safety forces and infrastructure. State Senator Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville) added his criticism, accusing lawmakers of hoarding money in Columbus at the expense of local communities.
Judge Hands Planned Parenthood yet another Victory
The GOP law to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio is still on hold. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett is reviewing the law that was passed earlier in the year and was supposed to go into effect in May. The reprieve has been in place since the judge began considering the merits of the law. Abortion rights advocates anticipate that Judge Barrett’s final ruling could come next week.
E-school students performing worse than district school peers, study says
The pro-charter school community is distancing itself from the on-line charter schools as evidenced by the latest report released by the Fordham Institute. The report commissioned by the conservative, pro-charter institute claims that online students are not performing as well as students who attend brick and mortar charter schools. This report does not signal desertion of the online schools but is instead an attempt to preserve the rest of the charter school system and their funding.
ECOT Relents, Agrees to Court Order to Provide Student Log-In Records
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jenifer French handed the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) another defeat in its fight against an Ohio Department of Education (ODE) audit. ECOT tried to prevent the audit that will show whether or not its “students” are actually participating in learning on site. There is a lot of money at stake – $108 million in 2015 alone. ECOT’s spokesperson and well-known lobbyist, Neil Clark, is making accusations of incompetence at the ODE and threats of information overload in response to the court order. These tactics have lots of people wondering whether ECOT has something to hide.