This Week in Rob Portman’s Forked Tongue:
Portman boasted about passage of his bill to help those with opioid addictions, after voting in the past against additional money to address the growing problem.
Check out our handy guide to progressive protests and other events timed with the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (RNC). In addition to GOP-sanctioned happenings, progressives will gather in Cleveland next week for town halls, panels, parades, the Slurricane Trump comedy show, voter engagement activities and other public events to counter what promises to be messages of hate and intolerance.
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, One of America’s Leading Gynoticians, Tapped by Trump to be His VP
Soon after Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bills, a Facebook page and Twitter account called Periods for Pence popped up that urged women to call the Governor’s office and share details about their menstrual cycles.
Women responded with probing questions.
According to Cosmo, some even shared transcripts of their calls to Pence’s office. Needless to say, his staff wasn’t amused.
Pence is expected to reassure social conservatives that Donald Trump meant what he said when he said women should be punished for having an abortion – and didn’t mean what he said when he changed his mind. Regardless of Trump’s views, he’s found a running mate who leads a state that literally criminalized a woman for having an abortion and who has said he “longs for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.”
Pence is among three governors with extreme anti-woman policies who have been the subject of humorous social media campaigns. Women in Kentucky have launched #AskBevinAboutMyVag to mock Governor Matt Bevin. And in Ohio, Dr. John Kasich, gynotician, runs Manned Parenthood where his boorish and patronizing personality are in full view. Dr. John often attributes unflattering comments from critics to PMS, and he appeared quite perturbed that Gov. Pence got the nod.
“Comeon ladies, Mike Pence?! I’d like to see his Gynotician degree,’’ Dr. John Kasich told his Facebook followers. “My record, on the other hand, is well-documented and punishing — perfect for the role of Trump’s VP. The hormonal devil-worshippers themselves advertise for me! #NotAModerate #AskDrKasich
Bernie Endorses Hillary; New Poll Shows Close Races in Ohio and Three Other Key States
On Tuesday, pledging to do everything he can to make certain she is our next President, Bernie Sanders gave his heart-felt endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Clinton, meanwhile, is doing her best to adopt the issues that garnered Sanders the support of so many progressives and millennials.
The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Clinton will need Sander’s help. Donald Trump is leading or tied with Clinton in four key states, including Ohio. The details of the poll can be seen here.
Kasich to Boycott RNC but Hobnob In Cleveland and Campaign for his 2020 Race for President
Governor John Kasich is continuing his anti-Trump stance by not attending the RNC. Still, his plans to run again in 2020 have him committed to courting GOP heavy-hitters and the national press. Kasich credits his conscience for the reason he reneged on his primary-season pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. He won’t say if he’ll vote for Trump.
Trump Turns Down Invite to NAACP Convention – Even Though It Will Take Place in Cincinnati.
Hoping Trump would make the trans-Ohio trip from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to the annual NAACP Convention in Cincinnati next week, NAACP officials were disappointed to learn the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee has declined to attend. That makes Trump only the fourth Presidential candidate since 1980 not to appear before the century-old civil rights group. After participating in some of the Cleveland festivities, Governor John Kasich is planning on heading to Cincinnati for the NAACP Convention. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak on Monday morning.
Preceding the NAACP Convention, and for the first time in its 49-year history, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) will hold its convention in the Queen City Friday through Sunday. The event’s theme is “The Power of the Black Vote.” It was scheduled to help kick off the National NAACP Convention and to provide Ohioans an alternative policy discussion to the National Republican Convention in Cleveland. You can learn more at ohioblackcaucus.org.
No Laughing Matter: Mayor who’s Also a Comic Indicted on Theft Charges
The Hillsboro mayor who skewed “political correctness” and said “America is going to hell in a handbasket” was accused of ripping off his local taxpayers. Republican Drew Hastings was indicted on felony counts of election fraud and theft in office. His heavy-handed and self-serving ways have drawn criticism.
Redistricting Reform Activists Tired of Waiting
On Thursday, the Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition commemorated the 272nd birthday of one of the Founding Fathers, and creator of the original gerrymander with some birthday cake. July marks the third year that the Legislative and Executive Branch Committee of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission has been studying redistricting reforms. Catherine Turcer of Common Cause Ohio on gerrymandering:
“The job isn’t finished and what’s good for the Statehouse is good for Congress.”
As Ohio Jail Population Falls, Overall Incarceration Rate Keeps Rising
The number of Ohioans being held in county jails is declining, but the total number of people incarcerated in county jails and state prisons is 50,847 – 400 less than the all-time record. The Vera Institute of Justice Incarceration Trends Project found that the increase is due to a spike in the number of inmates being held in Ohio prisons. The study also showed a wide disparity between the incarceration rates for whites and blacks.
Cleveland’s Fight for a $15/Hour Minimum Wage Offers Contrast to RNC Platform’s Focus on Social Issues
Cleveland’s campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is playing out over the back drop of the Republican National Convention. Cleveland’s 36% poverty rate, and polls showing 77% of voters support for Raise Up Cleveland, bode well for the initiative expected to be on the November ballot. In contrast, the RNC draft platform emphasizes social issues such as the party’s opposition to abortion and LBGTQ citizens and support for all things guns. The DNC platform embraces a higher minimum wage.
Auditor Yost Uses his ‘Starve the Hungry’ Program to Raise Money from Fat Cats
Last week’s edition of Ohio Week in Review reported the sharp exchange between Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Cleveland) and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost over his investigation into what he called food stamp “fraud.” Yost conceded that the problem is not widespread so Fudge suggested he audit programs that traditionally have benefitted wealthier Ohioans to see how they are doing.
Yost used his food stamp probe to help raise campaign money, and his official state website features a picture of him testifying in front of Congress about the matter.
We aren’t condoning fraud but Yost’s crusade comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Ohio is the third-hungriest state in America. Good job raising money for your next job while working to take money from those who are already struggling, Mr. Yost.
Taskforce Recommends that Ohio AG, Not Local Prosecutors, Investigate Shootings by Police
A taskforce appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor released findings of a study of ways to improve Ohio’s grand jury system. One important recommendation: strip local prosecutors of their power to investigate and prosecute cases of fatal force by police. The panel reasoned that the Ohio Attorney General is better suited for those tasks since the office does not have a close association with the local law enforcement officers. The Attorney General and prosecutors, however, are already lining up in opposition to the proposed change.
Senate Republicans Messing with GOP Gov’s Pick for the Panel that Sets Utility Prices
The Kasich administration signaled a desire to end its anti-consumer, anti-energy efficiency efforts at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) by nominating a qualified Democrat, Howard Petricoff to fill a vacancy. Not only is Petricoff from the opposing party but he’s also a lawyer who represented electricity and natural gas suppliers that would like to operate in Ohio. State Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), friend of the big utilities, said that’s problem.
That’s just part of the problem. Seitz is miffed that Kasich vetoed his bill that would have imposed a modern-day poll tax on people who went to court to extend polling hours long enough so everyone who wanted to vote can vote.
Term limits prevent Seitz from running again in the Ohio Senate. He’s running for the Ohio House and promises to teach the governor a lesson, and undermine voting rights, by re-introducing his poll tax bill.
Nina Turner Joins Legal, Health Care Advocates to Demand Action on High Court Vacancy
Former Ohio Senator Nina Turner highlighted that history is about to be “and not in a good way.’’
At a Cleveland news conference, she noted that July 19 will mark the 125th day since President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the empty U.S. Supreme Court seat, which is the longest the Senate has ever made a Supreme Court nominee wait for a vote.
“This record-breaking obstruction concocted by Senate Republicans is crippling our Supreme Court and our democracy, and Americans – including our families and children – are paying the price every day,’’ Turner said.
Knowing that many who need to be persuaded are Republicans, allies arrived in Cleveland with a large panel truck festooned with this 1987 quote from Ronald Reagan:
The time is now right to join together in a bipartisan effort to fulfill our constitutional obligation of restoring the United States Supreme Court to full strength.
Read the full blog post here.
Bill Calls for New Hotline to Anonymously Report Pay Discrimination
State Representatives Janine Boyd (D – Cleveland Heights) and Kent Smith (D-Euclid) introduced legislation that will create a hotline for anonymously reporting pay discrimination. Representative Boyd sees this as an opportunity to allow victims of wage disparity to make a report and potentially sway her GOP colleagues to do something about the issue.
Online Charter School Loses Bid to Block State Attendance Audit – And Now We Know Why
The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) tried but failed to block a restraining order that would have prevented the Ohio Department of Education from determining if the students they claim attend (and get paid a lot of money to teach) are actually attending the online school.
Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) applauded the judge’s decision that allowed the audit to go forward, calling it a victory for transparency and accountability.
Soon after getting the go-ahead, auditors headed to school, only to learn ECOT was withholding student records. Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), a close associate of ECOT pal and Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), is trying to play mediator.
The Dispatch pointed out that House GOP leaders are trying to be helpful to ECOT after ECOT has given generous contributions to their campaign accounts.
Earlier this year ProgressOhio released a report on ECOT’s owner William Lager and his related venture, IQ Innovations. Taxpayers helped build IQ’s distance learning platform but it never delivered on what it promised. After PO blew the whistle, Ohio State University, which helped prop up IQ, quietly closed it down.
Seeing a pattern?
Education Insider: Conservatives bummed by results of Ohio school-voucher study
The pro-charter and voucher Thomas B. Fordham Institute was disappointed with the results of its recent study on the performance of voucher students. The study showed that students who attend private schools on the taxpayers’ dime perform worse on standardized tests than they would if they had stayed in their public schools. While the same report showed that the public schools that the students left saw some residual benefits, the bottom line is vouchers and e-schools do a bad job educating Ohio’s children.