It’s Mueller Time: Trump Campaign Manager, Top Aide Indicted and the Russians Catch a Catfish
Shortly after becoming a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign in 2016, George Papadopoulos began meeting with “a woman he believed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece,” according to a newly unsealed indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The woman wanted to help Papadopoulos arrange meetings between representatives of Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Maybe, the woman said, she could even get the two men to meet face-to-face.
Social media has made public understanding of the legal system a bit easier, and in a time when major media outlets are heralded as “fake news,” showing actual legal briefs and indictments has become more popular and, apparently, more trustworthy according to slate.com.
ProgressOhio Wants Money from Sexual Harasser to Go to Women’s Groups; Right to Life Boss Steps in It
ProgressOhio Executive Director Sandy Theis called on the Ohio Republican Senate Campaign Committee to give the estimated $610,000 that disgraced former State Sen. Cliff Hite had contributed to the Senate GOP campaign effort to charities that help women. Theis told the Toledo Blade, “Here is a guy who was clearly and aggressively preying on a woman, at least one that we know of. Leadership was able to move quickly to deal with that problem when they haven’t been able to deal with one of the biggest problems facing the state, rising infant mortality.”
Theis suggested that the Campaign Committee give the money to groups like the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Women Have Options, and Ohio NOW.
Rumors swirled around the Ohio Statehouse this week until public records were released identifying complaints of harassment or discrimination filed against three members of the Ohio House. Check out the details at Cleveland.com.
Good News for Medicaid but Future of Children’s Health Insurance Program Uncertain
Earlier this week the Ohio Controlling Board unanimously voted to authorize spending for Ohio’s share of the Medicaid Expansion program. Ahead of the vote, Medicaid Director Barbara Sears told the Board that failing to authorize Ohio’s $264 million share of program spending risked “devastating” consequences for program providers and the three million Ohioans that Medicaid serves.
The Kasich administration said that “without funding approval, it would have had to cut provider payments 16 percent beginning in January to keep the state budget in balance, affecting areas including home health, behavioral health, hospitals, doctors and others,” according to the Associated Press.
But Ohio families aren’t out of the woods yet. Children in Ohio and across the country are anxiously awaiting a plan from Congress regarding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Federal funding for the CHIP expired a month ago, and states are asking for help from the Trump administration to maintain coverage until Congress reaches a deal to extend it. The CHIP program covers 9 million children across the country, leaving advocates and providers in a panic while funding remains up in the air.
Ohio’s Assault on Abortion Rights Continues; Clinic Protection Bill Gets a Hearing
The Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would ban abortion after the diagnosis of Down syndrome, marking the State’s 20th bill attacking women’s reproductive rights in the past decade. The bill penalizes physicians who perform abortions based on the Down syndrome diagnosis with a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison, fines and the possible loss of their medical license.
Opponents of the bill say that, aside from being likely unconstitutional, the bill creates a hierarchy of disabilities, putting Down syndrome at the top.
Representatives Michele Lepore-Hagan and Stephanie Howse introduced a bill in the Ohio House aimed at protecting women’s health clinics by creating a “safe-area,” as threats on both patients and providers have escalated across the state. The bill has yet to have a hearing.
Ohio’s Embrace of Clean Energy under Fire by Fossil Fuel Industry – Again
Just a decade after approving clean energy standards 93-1 in the Ohio legislature, this in-depth examination shows why Ohio Republicans are now leading the charge to roll-back the same measures. From corporate special interests to right-wing think tanks, proposed roll-backs on energy standards are part of a national campaign to misinform the public about the economic impacts of good clean energy policies. As the Sierra Club said in a Halloween email:
Ohio residents have saved over $1 billion directly on their electric bills and Ohio leads the Midwest in clean energy manufacturing, sustaining 100,000 clean energy jobs.
But now, some state legislators are once again trying to pull a trick for the dirty fuel industries and pushing through legislation that would lower Ohio’s goals for renewable energy and efficiency investments, and change the goals to voluntary rather than enforceable.
Tell your legislators to vote no on more zombie backwards energy bills like HB 114, that threaten Ohio’s clean energy jobs and energy cost savings.
John Boehner Dishes on the “Idiots’ and “Assholes’’ in the GOP
Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner gave a candid interview to Vanity Fair, sharing his thoughts on the GOP, President Trump, and other conservatives.
Regarding Freedom Caucus Co-Founder Rep. Jim Jordan, Boehner said “Jordan was a terrorist as a legislator going back to his days in the Ohio House and Senate…A terrorist. A legislative terrorist.”
He had even more harsh words for former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, which we can’t print here.
U.S. Supreme Court Postpones Arguments on Ohio’s Voter Purge Case
Oral arguments in a U.S. Supreme Court case that challenged Ohio’s voter purge laws set for this week were rescheduled. One of the attorneys scheduled to present in the case faced an unexpected medical emergency, and parties are planning to reschedule arguments for early next year.
Voters from all over the state came to the second hearing of the Congressional Working Group on Wednesday. Three people from Mercer County testified about the importance of fair districts. Each of them were from a different congressional district!
Michael Li from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University testified that Ohio is one of the six of the worst gerrymandered states in the entire country.
Looking Ahead to ‘18
O’Neill Says He’s Running for Gov.; Rosenberger Says He’s Not Running for Auditor
Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill announced his candidacy for governor, sort of. Barred from running for re-election for the Court due to age limits, O’Neill has long hinted at a potential candidacy. He currently has no intention to resign from the bench early, stating that he is not “technically” a candidate until he files a petition in February 2018. O’Neill intends to make marijuana legalization and a $15-an-hour minimum wage key components of his campaign.
Can a sitting judge run for another office? Can this judge, with a somewhat checkered political reputation, prevail? The Cincinnati Enquirer has a great Pro-Con list on O’Neill’s candidacy.
In other news, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger has decided not to run for state auditor next year, leaving a clear path for Rep. Keith Faber to clinch the GOP nomination. Faber will likely face former Congressman Zack Space in the general election, which is still a year away.
Progressive Action Calendar Alerts
November 6: Breaking Our Silence – Abortion Stories from My Abortion My Life
November 7: ELECTION DAY!!! Find your polling location here
November 8: The Resistance Turns One Happy Hour
November 11: “Talk, Don’t Nuke” Rally with Cleveland Peace Action