Trump Makes ‘Pooty Call’
President Trump has never been known to consider advice from seasoned professionals or basic human decency when making decisions, and unsurprisingly he followed that pattern in a call to Russian Dict—er, “President” Vladimir Putin. Trump congratulated the former KGB footsoldier on “winning” an “election,” if that’s what you call stuffing the ballot box and murdering people who disagree with you. As a reminder, Putin runs Russia by letting a bunch of his friends plunder both national resources and the people, poisoning defectors overseas, and feeding nationalist sentiments that include rampant anti-Americanism and homophobia. It’s the exact opposite of a democracy — a situation which Trump envies and wants to parallel in the States.
A Growing List Of Women Sues Team Trump
The line of women suing Team Trump seems to get longer every week. Two – former porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal – are fighting deals that prevent them from telling details of their respective affairs with Trump. McDougal found a way to tell her story of a ten-month affair, multiple visits every month, and Trump trying to pay her for sex to Anderson Cooper, but still can’t make money from sharing that story (for those who think that’s fine, remember that Trump literally got rich by being born and firing people on television). The third woman is suing Trump for defamation, after he called her accusation that he groped her “total fiction.” All these stories line up with what everyone knows about our esteemed President: he’s a bully who gets off by treating women like objects and has no problems intimidating them into silence. Thanks to their bravery, it looks like they will no longer remain silent.
Trump Backs Down from Shutdown Threat
Once again Trump’s had to retreat with his tail between his legs. This time might have been a record for both scale of the threat and the speed in which he backed down, as it was only a mere hours after threatening to shut down the entire U.S. government in order to get more money for his wall (you know, the one that Mexico was supposed to pay for). Per Trump’s usual MO, he held a press conference where he blamed everyone else for the bill, then promptly bent over and signed it.
Taxpayers Foot The Bill (Again) Defending Unconstitutional Abortion Bans
Ohio lawmakers continue to force taxpayers to spend millions of dollars defending blatantly unconstitutional bills. In his never-ending pursuit of ending a woman’s right to choose, Attorney General DeWine is appealing a court injunction preventing Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion ban. This is despite the fact that the law is obviously unconstitutional, and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission has estimated that the cost of defending these abortion bills is up to several million dollars — per bill. And some lawmakers are already introducing legislation to blanketly ban abortion.
Who’s Behind Attempt To Dissolve State Board of Ed?
In some of the least shocking news of the week, it turns out that proposed legislation to transform education oversight in Ohio might be linked to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandals and politicians who spent years raking in their money. Former legislator Stephen Dyer – currently at Innovation Ohio – shows that five of the eight co sponsors of HB 512 have received over $74,000 in campaign contributions from ECOT and ECOT-affiliated people.
Tax Status Lets Hospital Defund Local School
In Boardman, Ohio, earlier this week, a group of school officials, parents and area residents met to discuss just how many positions would be cut and jobs lost if a May levy fails to pass. School Board President President Jeff Barone noted to the nearly 1700 in attendance that the school district’s loss of nearly $1 million last year due to a building at Mercy Health’s St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital campus receiving a partial tax exemption expedited the current financial crisis. This exemption required the school district to refund property-tax revenue it already had received, according to The Vindicator.
Because of a tax designation, Mercy Health, a multi-million dollar organization, can avoid paying property taxes, which help fund local schools.
But school officials aren’t just blaming Mercy; they also see the state’s funding formula as a contributing factor to their current financial situation.
Happy 8th Birthday, ACA
This March 23rd, on the anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as nearing the end of Women’s History month, we’re reflecting on some of the many life-saving outcomes from the ACA. The ACA didn’t just expand coverage and reduce the number of uninsured women to historic lows. It established rules for insurance companies that outlawed gender discrimination in health coverage. The ACA stopped insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same policy, stopped insurers from selling policies that didn’t even cover basic services like birth control, maternal care or mental health, and stopped insurers from placing caps and annual limits on coverage.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s ongoing attempts to sabotage the law could take us back in time. This Republican sabotage of the ACA has driven up premiums, denied women access to preventive care like no-cost birth control, and put women at risk for being charged more for pre-existing conditions like c-sections, cancer, or depression. Across Ohio, health care consumers, providers and concerned citizens are delivering a message to lawmakers trying to sabotage the ACA: Hands Off Our Healthcare!
The best way to celebrate the ACA’s birthday is to remind lawmakers that women aren’t just the main beneficiaries of the ACA, they are also half of all voters. Women will remember health care in November.
Docs, Teachers & Students Discuss Gun Violence Epidemic
Just a week after thousands of students walked out of their classrooms to demand action from elected officials to keep them safe, and days before the #MarchForOurLives this Saturday, ProgressOhio and the Physicians Action Network hosted a panel discussion on the gun violence epidemic we are facing in Ohio and across the country. Participants included Dr. Anita Somani, Physicians Action Network, State Rep. Kristin Boggs, Molly Wassmuth, a Westerville teacher and Grandview School Board member and Rebecca Micallef, a New Albany High School student who helped organize last week’s walkout.
Wassmuth shared her perspective as an educator, saying “As educators, we are in the business of student learning. If my students are scared in me classroom, I can’t teach. Instead of arming teachers, we need more mental health specialists and school counselors in schools.”
You can watch the panel discussion here.
Ohio Legislature’s Skewed Priorities
What does Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger care about? Not civil rights or payday loan reform. The Speaker has sat on a bill for over 12 months that would ban discrimination based on gender and sexual identity. Far from a partisan bill, the business community – including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce – has not only backed the bill but actively spoken up in favor. Rosenberger is also sitting on a payday loan reform bill, presumably to keep those sweet campaign contributions flowing in before the 2018 elections. Though as Thomas Suddes from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes:
“Still, whether before or after an election, if the House’s speaker…wants a bill to reach the House floor, it will…Your move, Mr. Speaker.”
Sen. Brown Works To Protect Call Center Jobs
More than 4,200 people work at major call center operations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties – 1,000 more employees who work today at General Motors Lordstown, according to The Vindicator.
Customer-service jobs at call centers make up more than 2 million employees nationally, 180,000 of those in Ohio. In recent years, however, the Communications Workers of America reports that about 500,000 of these jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries, most notably to the Philippines and India.
That’s why Sen. Sherrod Brown is championing the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act would which would, among other things, give preference in federal contracts to companies that haven’t relocated call- center jobs overseas.
Taylor SuperPAC Race-Baits; DeWine Fires Back
Still without debates, the race for governor got a bit more interesting on the GOP side this week. Onward Ohio, a Super PAC supporting Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate Mary Taylor, came out swinging this week by calling Attorney General Mike Dewine soft on immigration, guns and China. You can view the ad here.
Team DeWine came back swinging with an ad of their own, calling Taylor ‘unfit and unqualified,’after allegations that she misused state resources, had a higher than normal turnover rate in her office, and often missed meetings.
Yet in all the mud-slinging (or truth talk, as we call it) neither candidate mentioned critical issues facing everyday Ohioans. For instance, the opioid crisis; the Hamilton County Coroner announced on Tuesday that there were 31 percent more overdose deaths in 2017 than the year before. Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco noted that the death toll was reduced by the use of Narcan, or arguably the death toll would be higher.
In any case, look for 2018 to heat up with national eyes on Ohio congressional districts once thought unwinnable because of their gerrymandered composition. Regarding OH-12, now vacant after Pat Tiberi’s resignation, GOP strategist Mark Weaver said “If Democrats win this district, they’ll win the House,” according to The Hill.