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Amazon Lobbies Ohio to Become Friendlier to Wind Farms
Governor John Kasich and his GOP legislative allies have been peddling the notion that they gutted the green energy benchmarks, enacted during Governor Ted Strickland’s tenure, as a way to help business. So isn’t it odd that this week one of the largest and fastest growing businesses in the country is lobbying Ohio for more green energy initiatives? Amazon wants 40% of the energy used at its facilities, especially the data centers, to come from renewable sources. Amazon’s goal is being undermined by restrictions on wind farms.
New York Times: Online Charter School Enriches its Affiliates, Not Its Students
For way too long, the failures of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) have been well documented. We’ve known that CEO William Lager enriches himself with IQ Innovations and his other companies that contract with ECOT. The millions he’s given to mostly Republicans is well documented, too.
But the New York Times provided us some new information. More students attending ECOT either drop out or fail to finish in four years than at any other school in America.
ProgressOhio has said it before and we’ll say it again: ECOT must be closed.
Megyn vs Donald Causes Excessive Boredom; Larry Wilmore Gets Laughs; Hillary-Bernie Battle Continues
The Washington Post reported that the much-hyped Megyn Kelly vs. Donald Trump rematch was boooooring because of the non-responses given by The Donald. Larry Wilmore of The Nightly Show breaks down what a non-interview it was and sets Ms. Kelly straight on what it could have been.
Reports coming from Nevada indicate that Sanders campaign supporters are behaving worse than Trump’s. Multiple outlets reported on the abhorrent treatment that the Nevada Democratic Party Chair and members of the credentials committee received last weekend. Threats and harassment continue on social media.
Clinton and Sanders split the states in Tuesday’s Primary; Sanders won Oregon and the Clinton win of Kentucky – a blue-collar stronghold – took many by surprise.
Cleveland City Council Joins Cincinnati in Advancing Higher Minimum Wage; Obama Has New Guidelines for OT Pay
Each week Cleveland moves one step closer to have a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2017. Cleveland City Council’s Workforce and Community Benefits committee heard testimony in support of the proposed measure. Mayor Frank Jackson and Council President Kevin Kelly are against the initiative.
Cleveland’s action comes after Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley proposed a $15 an hour “living wage’ for full-time Cincinnati workers.
Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez were in Columbus on Wednesday to roll out the new Obama administration guidelines for paying overtime. This is a positive move toward giving working families the opportunity to make a living wage.
The Vice President called the proposal “virtuous.”
Columbus City Council Joins Cincinnati in Calls for Filling Vacant High Court Seat
Columbus City Council joined Cincinnati as part of the growing chorus that is urging the U.S. Senate to do its job and hold hearings to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. One of the key statements in Columbus’ unanimous resolution was:
That the Senate should perform its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on the President’s Supreme Court nominee by working on behalf of the people of the United States to ensure that the vacancy on the Supreme Court is filled without undue and unnecessary delay so that the Supreme Court can effectively serve its essential constitutional function as the final arbiter of the law.
Despite growing pressure here at home, Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman continues to argue that the court vacancy should be filled by the next President.
But Portman is getting some out-of-state help. David and Charles Koch and their Americans for Prosperity say they will spend $2.2 million on ads beating up Portman’s challenger, former Governor Ted Strickland.
Fearing Another 4-to-4 Vote, Supreme Court Punts on Birth Control Case
The U.S. Supreme Court has ducked deciding the highly contentious issue of contraceptive coverage for religiously affiliated non-profits and sent the case back to lower courts to decide.
The outcome was dictated by an eight-member court where justices appear to be evenly split on the central questions in the case, and comes as Senator Rob Portman and his fellow GOP Senators continue to play politics by refusing to do anything to fill the vacancy that would provide the deciding vote on this case and others.
This highly unusual decision sent the case back to the Courts of Appeals, but did so with a strong endorsement of a possible compromise that would allow employees to receive insurance coverage for birth control without requiring the non-profits to play any role in providing it.
Gov. Big Time Shuns Ohio Press, Gives First Post-Prez Dropout Interview to CNN. Classy
He’s off the Presidential campaign trail, but Governor John Kasich doesn’t seem ready to give up his place in the national spotlight – demonstrated by an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that was broadcast Monday evening.
Kasich’s decision to give his first post-Presidential run interview to Cooper was certainly a slight to Ohio reporters who have been following him around for months.
Rich Cordray to Tackle Predatory Lending Industry’s Latest Abusive Products
The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Ohio’s native son, Rich Cordray, is trying to tackle the usury practices better known as Auto Title Loans. These loans are the latest bag of tricks that the payday lending folks are using to keep the neediest citizens in a never ending cycle of debt.
Cordray and the CFPB are working to reform the lending practices that trap borrowers in an endless loop of refinancing when the loans are marketed as short-term solutions.
State Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) has a reputation for occasionally being rude. This week he exceeded his reputation by repeatedly referring to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott as “Judge Mrs. Stan Chesley.” Judge Dlott is married to Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley. Classy!
At the same hearing, Seitz also demeaned voters and the need for addressing problems at polling locations by contending that judicial remedies wouldn’t be necessary if “voters just got their keisters to the polls by 7:30.” Election Day polls close at 7:30pm.
Seitz is also leading the charge at the Ohio Statehouse to extend the current two-year freeze of the state’s renewable efficiency standards until 2020.
It is hard for Ohio progressives, especially women, not to get discouraged by the passage of new laws that hurt moms and kids, make our state hungrier and poorer, and reward greedy payday lenders and failing charter schools.
But the gathering of Ohio’s 14 Democratic women legislators left attendees uncharacteristically hopeful. You can read about it here.
WAITING FOR WEED
In an attempt to stop a comprehensive citizen-initiated ballot measure that seeks to legalize medical marijuana, the GOP leadership is moving a bill that will also legalize medical marijuana usage in Ohio. Earlier this week the Plain Dealer did a side by side comparison of the initiative and the bill.
The Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee made a couple significant changes to the legislation on Wednesday. One important change calls for oversight to fall under the all-appointed State Pharmacy Board. Senator David Burke (R-Marysville), the one pharmacist serving in the Ohio General Assembly, is supportive of this change as is long-time advocate of legalization Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).
The Bill still will not permit smoking of marijuana nor home-growing.