Ashland, Ohio – An Ohio judge ruled that the Director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) does not have the authority to issue mask mandates, social distancing or other types of mandates since Ohio law does not give the agency such stated or implied authority.
Ashland County Common Pleas Judge Ron Forsthoefel wrote that the ODH only has ultimate authority in matters of isolation and quarantine – matters the legislature defined in Senate Bill22, the law enacted when the General Assembly overrode Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of the bill last month.
The case Forsthoefel judged involved Cattlemans Restaurant and the Ashland County Health Department – the latter which issued a cease and desist order against the restaurant for an alleged violation of the COVID-related Dine Safe Order.
Former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton released a statement Tuesday revealing that she will not seek the 2022 Ohio Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.
“It has been a tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run for the U.S. Senate. Like many of you, I have a profound reverence for the office, and for those who have answered the calling to public service,” wrote Acton
During the Monday COVID briefing Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud would release a consolidated order to simplify state-imposed COVID restrictions.
The “order does consolidate several orders and transfers important items we want to focus on into one order,” said McCloud. The crux of the order will be “the mask, staying in smaller groups, distancing from others, sanitizing.”
David DeVillers is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio who secured an indictment against then-Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder and four others in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.
While Mike DeWine was Attorney General in 2018, he awarded DeVillers the Mark Losey Distinguished Law Enforcement Service Award.
This week the Republican Governor announced DeVillers will be joining a public-private partnership between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and a select group of talent on loan from a few of Ohio’s largest businesses.
Wednesday the Ohio General Assembly (GA) did something that doesn’t often happen – the Republican supermajority delivered veto override votes in both chambers to undo what a Governor from their own party did just one day earlier.
Senate Bill 22 (SB22) is a law that establishes legislative oversight of emergency, standing and special orders issued by state leaders and agencies – giving the General Assembly the power to rescind orders with a concurrent resolution (a simple majority vote of both the House and the Senate) instead of passing a law that requires the Governor’s approval.
Below is a simple list of what the new law does and doesn’t do.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Four lawmakers – State Senators Matt Dolan (R-Cuyahoga) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Dublin), and State Representatives Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) and Andrea White (R-Kettering) – were the sole Republicans that did not cast a vote to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a measure that limits his authority to issue orders during an emergency.
Senate Bill 22 (SB22) is aimed at rebalancing power by giving the Ohio Legislature oversight of government rules and orders. Chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) was the point man in the lower chamber on the legislation, which passed overwhelmingly earlier this month.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just one day following Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill 22 (SB 22) – legislation aimed at rebalancing power by giving the Ohio Legislature oversight of government rules and orders – the Senate and House both took up the bill and both chambers voted to override the veto.
SB22 will become law in 90 days.
The Senate was first and voted 23-10. Minutes later the House began floor debate and then voted to override 62-37.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – During a Monday COVID briefing, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine said he will veto Senate Bill 22 (SB22) on Tuesday – a proposed law that provides scope and duration to government power during public health emergencies. After the veto, the bill would then go where it originated, the Ohio Senate. There it could be brought to a veto-override vote.
Ohio Senator Andrew Brenner (R-District 19) told The Ohio Star he believes the upper chamber will consider and override the bill as early as Wednesday – an override would require 20 “yes” votes. It passed the Senate 25-8 the first time.
Last July, Neil Clark was arrested by FBI agents after a federal grand jury indicted him along with corporate entity Generation Now, then-Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder (R-Glenford), former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges, and political operatives Juan Cespedes and Jeffrey Longstreth. Monday, Clark was found dead in Florida.
In February, Franklin County farmer Joe Blystone announced his GOP candidacy for Governor of the State of Ohio.
Like South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, Blystone is a rancher and small business owner who believes in medical freedom and opposed mandatory mask orders during Ohio’s COVID response. Unlike Noem, his bid for governor is his first political contest.
Blystone has given himself the moniker “Constitutional Republican” and calls himself “a man of the people who don’t have a voice anymore.”
J.D. Vance is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2022 U.S. Senate in Ohio.
“All signs point to J.D. launching a run in the coming months,” a source told the Washington Times. In a video sent to The Star, Vance appears to be the first high-profile candidate who will not position himself as a Trump Republican – if his views from 2016 and 2017 remain.
Monday morning Cleveland businessman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbons announced a statewide tour during which he will listen to what Ohio voters have to say as he considers a run for office in 2022.
“This listening tour will allow me the opportunity to meet directly with the voters who understand that we can’t afford to send another politician or party insider to Washington. We need to send someone with a business background, who will fight for working-class Ohioans, who’s unafraid to stand up to his own party and who will always tell the truth,” said Gibbons.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wednesday afternoon Senate Bill 22 passed the Ohio House by a vote of 57 to 37. Five Republicans did not cast a vote – Paul Zeltwanger (Mason), Tracy Richardson (Marysville), Mike Loychik (Bazetta), Jeff LaRe (Violet Twp.), and Ron Ferguson (Wintersville).
One Republican, Nino Vitale, voted against the bill despite being an outspoken opponent to the DeWine Administration’s pandemic health orders. Vitale was also one of a handful of lawmakers who supported articles of impeachment based on alleged executive overreach during the state’s handling of COVID.
The Senate concurred on the House changes so now SB22 will be sent to Governor DeWine where he has the choice to approve, veto or do nothing – in the event of the latter, the bill would become a law after 10 days.
Last week, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents made an unannounced visit to the home of a Marysville woman who was in Washington, D.C. on January 6 – the day a crowd entered the U.S. Capitol and the incident turned violent, resulting in an officer fatally shooting a woman and four others dying from medical emergencies.
It’s been over seven months since the FBI announced a criminal complaint stemming from Ohio House Bill 6 (HB6). Arrests were made for what feds call a bribery and racketeering plan bankrolled by First Energy Solutions to elect state representatives and a House Speaker that would ensure the bill passed (and stopped efforts to repeal it) – giving a $1.3 billion bailout to two Ohio nuclear energy plants. A new report lays out the $1M relationship between First Energy companies and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s campaign.
Republican Governor Mike DeWine offered Ohioans a new “deal” late Thursday, saying, “When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders in the state will come off.”
The announcement came in a specially called press briefing that started at 5:30 p.m., during which DeWine encouraged Ohioans to take the of the COVID vaccine and to stay the course with nonpharmacological interventions: masks, distancing, state orders that limit crowds and limits on long personal contact.
It was spring of 2020 and three friends were sitting in their regular gathering place in the Short North – the district just north of downtown Columbus.
“We were looking around at all these businesses downtown; boarded up, closed or empty – more employees than customers,” said Lad Dilgard, a management consultant and real estate investor.
He continued “behind every one of those is a story; the story of an entrepreneur, manager, supplier, landlord, employees and customers. There are horror stories going on. COVID-craziness with all the lockdowns. We wanted to give businesses some visibility. What they’re going through and the collateral damage they are suffering.”
Fast forward to March 2021 – after weekly Saturday morning sessions during which one of the three buddies would bring breakfast and another lunch, the trio released a short film under the banner of their own production company, Fire Owl – Behind the Mandates: Untold stories of local businesses.
Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel (R) called on Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine to remove all COVID mandates and re-open businesses 100 percent. “Mike DeWine and Amy Acton have done a horrible job handling the COVID response and completely trampled on the freedoms, liberties, and livelihoods of everyday Ohioans. Today I call for Ohio to fully re-open and allow Ohioans to get back to work, get their kids back to school, and remove our statewide mask mandate,” Mandel said.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Monday U.S. Senate candidate Jane Timken called for U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) to resign.
“It is clear Congressman Gonzalez’s wrongful decision to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to impeach President Trump has undermined his ability to effectively represent the people of the 16th District,” Timken wrote in her statement.
Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) said Saturday he is looking closely at either a run for the U.S. Senate or a bid for the Ohio Governor’s chair in ’22.
“I have considered the Ohio Senate, you know, senator for the state of Ohio. I was surprised that Senator Portman wasn’t running. And, look, it’s flattering to have my name come up in that race and frankly, in the governor’s race. So we’re taking a hard look at our options,” Davidson told FoxNews.
The Ohio Star interviewed one of Davidson’s top aides on Monday who confirmed the Congressman is looking at both races “he’s definitely looking at it; quite a few people have reached out and urged him to ‘please take a look at it,’ so he is.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) voted 53-11 on Friday to elect Bob Paduchik chairman over candidate John Becker.
Paduchik will replace Jane Timken who resigned just weeks following her mid-January re-election to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will not be sought by the incumbent and two-term winner Rob Portman (R-OH).
The Ohio Republican Party (ORP) will select its next leader Friday when the State Central Committee (SCC) members cast their votes for chairman.
SCC members will meet in person at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center or join the meeting virtually. The SCC currently has 65 members who are eligible to vote as opposed to their traditional roster of 66 – one seat is vacant. The Ohio GOP leader will be decided by a simple majority vote.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all United States and State of Ohio flags to be lowered Tuesday to half-staff on all buildings and public grounds throughout the state until sunset on Friday. The proclamation is in lockstep with the president of the United States who…
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senate Bill to Establish Legislative Oversite of Governor’s and Agency Orders Now in Ohio House
Last Wednesday Ohio Senate Bill 22 (SB22) passed the upper chamber 25-8 – all Republicans were in favor, all Democrats opposed.
SB22 was introduced by primary sponsors Terry Johnson (R-District 14) and Rob McColley (R-District 1) and establishes legislative oversight to the Governor’s and health orders.
In its original form, the bill granted the General Assembly authority to immediately rescind a public health state of emergency declaration along with rules and orders the Governor and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued related to a public a health state of emergency.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) introduced a bill Wednesday that would both expunge the records of businesses cited for COVID violations and return fines and penalties paid. Upon its introduction, House Bill 127 was assigned to the House State and Local Government Committee on Thursday. HB127…
Jane Timken, former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP), announced Thursday she will seek the 2022 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that is currently occupied by Republican Rob Portman who announced last month he will retire from federal politics at the end of his current term.
Scammers took nearly all of the $330 million in reported improper payments the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services made with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, Director Kimberly Henderson said earlier this month. That amount was funneled, in part, through 56,000 fake claims which were identified in December. There were also overpayments on legitimate claims.
But there may be more fraud – much more – that is not yet reported.
Whether the $330 million is from misappropriation that happened in December alone, or is a pile of results spanning several months, is unknown. Henderson said total losses will likely be pinpointed at the end of February.
“They should be able to pinpoint the amount weekly, or monthly,” said Ohio State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova). He continued, “we need to get checks and balances in place to ensure money isn’t stolen in the first place.”
One Ohio State Senator told The Ohio Star the Director has signaled to him that the amount of money lost in ODJFS processing is likely in the ballpark of $1B.
During his COVID briefing, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced the statewide curfew – which had been amended to begin at 11:00 p.m. from its original 10 o’clock start – expired Thursday and that he would not extend the order.
During a COVID briefing last week Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the statewide curfew could be lifted as early as this week if COVID hospitalizations stayed below 2,500 for seven consecutive days.
Over the last week, inpatient beds filled with COVID confirmed and probable patients numbered as follows:
Late last week, several media outlets reported Dr. Amy Acton resigned as Director of Human:Kind – a Columbus Foundation project – a move that feeds speculation she is preparing to run for US Senate in 2022.
This is the third resignation by Acton in less than a year.
The first was when she left the post of Director at the Ohio Department of Health in June in the middle of the COVID pandemic and amidst rising opposition to the state’s COVID policies – mandates one judge called “arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jane Timken announced Friday her immediate resignation as Chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP). The message came during a spur of the moment meeting of the Ohio Republican Central Committee during which Timken did not say whether she was leaving to pursue a seat in…
COLUMBUS, Ohio – As The Ohio Star reported, the House GOP chose Robert R. Cupp (R-Shawnee Twp.) to be the speaker of the house with Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) serving as speaker pro tempore. The majority leader is Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) with Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) serving as assistant majority leader. Also, Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport) will serve as majority whip and Representative Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) will act as assistant majority whip.
U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) wasted no time expressing his interest in the U.S. Senate seat Republican Rob Portman announced he will not seek again in 2022. On January 25, the day of Portman’s announcement, Ryan said he was “looking seriously at it.”
Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs after the establishment Republican announced he would not run for re-election in 2022. Portman cited gridlock and more time with family as primary reasons driving his decision to step away from federal politics – ending his 33 year career since his first political job as a legal aid to President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
Following the announcement, the Ohio rumor mill swirled with talk about many prospective Republican replacements.
Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) is a strong Trump advocate and member of the House Freedom Caucus who has represented Ohio in D.C. since 2007. His spokesperson said the congressman was honored by the overwhelming support to run for U.S. Senate but is solely focused on representing Ohio’s Fourth District and would not be running.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Michael DeWine (R) announced on Friday the vaccination schedule for Ohio K-12 schools – public, private and career-tech.
DeWine’s administration identified school personnel required for in-person learning and laid out a four-week schedule for those eligible to receive their first jab containing one of the vaccines the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted authorization for emergency use – Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
State Senators Terry Johnson (R-District 14) and Rob McColley (R-District 1) introduced Senate Bill 22 Tuesday, a proposed law aimed at providing oversight to the emergency declarations made by the governor, as well as the governor’s and health orders that flow from the state of emergency.
SB22 gives the legislature the authority, by passing a joint resolution, to immediately rescind a public health state of emergency declaration, as well as related rules and orders.
Ohio’s statewide curfew will be extended after COVID-related hospitalizations dipped below 3,500 for the seventh consecutive day on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Ohio Governor Michael DeWine (R) announced that the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommended altering the statewide curfew to 11:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. when COVID-related hospitalizations fall below 3,500 for seven consecutive days. Tuesday was the sixth consecutive day, Wednesday the seventh.
The day after Ohio Governor Richard Michael DeWine (R) ordered hundreds of millions in spending cuts to state government, he and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced six projects set to receive tax assistance approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (OTCA).
The six businesses are Jo-Ann Stores LLC, Kalera Inc., Cross Country Mortgage LLC, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, CBTS Technology Solutions, LLC and High Road Holdings LLC.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) will not seek a third term representing Ohio in Washington. “Today, I am announcing that I have made a decision not to run again in 2022,” said the institutional Republican in a Monday morning press statement.
“This doesn’t mean I’m leaving now – I still have two more years in my term and I intend to use that time to get a lot done.” He said he looks forward to being able to focus all his energy during the remainder of his term on legislation and challenges facing America instead of dividing his efforts to raise money and campaign.
Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) announced last week through a released statement the upper chamber’s committee structure and leadership for the 134th General Assembly.
“Every new General Assembly crafts new committees to more closely reflect the pressing issues of the time,” Huffman said in the press release. “I believe it is important to allow Senators to more closely focus on those challenges through fewer committees, giving them more time to research and develop a more expert level of understanding on the issues.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Michael DeWine wrote a letter to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Nominating Commission Wednesday telling them to offer new candidates for the vacancy left by the resignation of former PUCO Chairman Samuel Randazzo. DeWine rejected the slate of four finalists screened by…