Gov. DeWine Determines Seven Ohio Counties Must Wear Face Coverings in Public

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week seven counties in Ohio will start wearing face coverings in public as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.

Counties that need to follow this mandate are currently in Red Alert Level 3 Public Health Emergency, according to DeWine’s press release.

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Franklin County Sees Surge in Suspected Drug Overdoses in 2020’s First Quarter

Franklin County saw a 55 percent increase in suspected drug overdose deaths for the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019’s first quarter.

Between January and March of 2020, Franklin County experienced 191 drug overdose death. During this same time span in 2019, the county saw 123 deaths.

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Gov. DeWine Unveils New Guidelines for Schools Reopening in the Fall

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday new guidelines schools will follow when they open up again in the fall.

According to the guidelines, schools will have to assess symptoms, wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread, thoroughly clean and sanitize the school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces, practice social distancing, and implement a face coverings policy.

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Ohio House Democrats Introduce Bill That Would Limit Law Enforcement’s Ability to Get Military-Grade Equipment

Ohio House Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would restrain state law enforcement’s ability to secure military grade-equipment.

House Bill (HB) 721, which was introduced by state Representatives Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Erica Crawley (D-Columbus), wants to reform Ohio’s participation in the federal program 1033. This program provides law enforcement agencies with military equipment from the Defense Logistics Agency at discounted rates or no cost.

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AG Yost Submits Brief Asking GM to Give Back Its $60 Million State Tax Credits After Breaking Agreement by Closing Lordstown Plant

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost submitted a brief to the Ohio Tax Credit Authority that demanded General Motors (GM) repay $60 million the company received in state tax credits after breaking its promise to Ohio and the Mahoning Valley.

Eleven years ago, GM started collecting tax credits for its Lordstown plant. In exchange for its tax credits, the auto giant said it would maintain Lordstown plant operations till 2028 and retain 3,700 jobs through 2040, according to Yost’s press release.

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Four Democratic Toledo City Council Members Arrested for Allegedly Accepting Bribe Payments for Official Acts

  The FBI has arrested Democratic Toledo City Council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes and Gary Johnson Tuesday for allegedly “accepting bribe payments for official acts.” Two years ago, the FBI began its investigation into the Toledo City Council for “soliciting/and or accepting cash, checks, money orders, or…

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Ohio House Democrats Introduce Three More Bills Focused on Reforming the State’s Law Enforcement Conduct

Ohio House Democrats introduced three new pieces of legislation Thursday aimed at reforming police officer conduct in the state.

With the addition of these three new proposals, House Democrats have introduced four pieces of legislation this week that focused on police conduct and procedures. House Bill 706, the first bill the Democrats introduced on Tuesday, focused on implementing more training for state law enforcement.

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Ohio Speaker of the House Threatens to Remove Capitol Square from City of Columbus

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) announced he is looking into whether the Ohio Capitol can be annexed from the City of Columbus’ city limits as a result of the city not protecting the Capitol from recent protests.

“We’re researching it currently. If Columbus isn’t interested in protecting state property we need to consider removing Cap Square from the City,” he said in an emailed statement.

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Ohio AG Tells Ohioans Who Believe Their Unemployment Compensation Overpayment Notices Were Sent By Mistake to Appeal

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost released a statement Tuesday encouraging all Ohioans who received a notification about an overpayment of unemployment compensation to appeal their cases if they think their notices were sent by mistake.

“It’s no secret that despite the state’s Herculean efforts, it was crushed with the unprecedented volume of new claims flooding in simultaneously,” Yost said. “We will aggressively pursue any cases of fraud, but we want to make sure any non-fraudulent cases referred to us for collection have been thoroughly reviewed and appealed as is your right.”

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Tennessee Highway Patrol Removes Protesters Items at Legislative Plaza After Violating Agreement

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced Tuesday night that it removed protesters’ extra equipment from the Legislative Plaza after these individuals failed to comply with an agreement made between the two sides. 

These protesters have been camping out at the plaza for the last 12 nights. In a makeshift CHOP, these demonstrators renamed the plaza the Ida B. Wells Plaza, who was an early civil rights leader.

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Ohio House Democrats Introduce Criminal Justice Reform Bill That Would Require More Training for Law Enforcement

Ohio House Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to implement more training for state law enforcement officers.

In House Bill 706, whose primary sponsors are state Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Thomas West (D-Canton), would require police to undergo training in de-escalation techniques, mental health issues, implicit bias.

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Gov. DeWine Endorses Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Dayton Area Being the New Permanent Home for the Space Force

Gov. Mike DeWine backed the idea of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and the surrounding Dayton region being the new headquarters for the United States Space Command.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton region would be excellent hosts for the U.S. Space Command’s new headquarters,” he said. “This area is already home to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and Air Force Material Command. It’s a powerful combination and a synergy that you can’t find anywhere else.”

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Gov. Mike DeWine Condemns Protest That Vandalized Ohio Statehouse

Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement on Friday showing his displeasure with the recent vandalism at the Ohio Capitol.

“I have spoken with Ohio State Highway Patrol Col. Richard Fambro about security at the Statehouse, and I shared with him my anger and disgust at the vandalism that occurred at the Ohio Statehouse yesterday. I support the right to peacefully protest. However, defacing, damaging, and vandalizing our state capitol and its grounds are wrong, and such actions are criminal,” DeWine said.

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Ohio’s May Unemployment Rate Stands at 13.7 Percent

The Ohio Department of Family Jobs and Services released numbers Friday that showed Ohio’s unemployment rate in May at 13.7 percent.

Ohio’s unemployment rate is trending in a downward direction as the state’s unemployment rate went down almost four percentage points from April to May.  As the unemployment rate continued to go down, the Buckeye State had 211,000 unemployed workers go back to work in May.

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Group Seeking to Change Ohio Election Laws Suspends Signature Collection for Its Initiative Campaign

Ohioans for Secure and Fair Election (OSFE) announced Thursday that it was suspending its ballot initiative campaign trying to make major changes to Ohio’s election laws.

“While this is certainly not the outcome we hoped, planned, organized, fundraised, or campaigned for, we come to this decision with pride in our work, appreciation for our coalition partners, and a clear vision for the future,” said Toni Webb, the campaign manager for OFSE.

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Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Starts Super PAC to Help Joe Biden Get Elected

Matt Borges, who was formerly the Ohio Republican Party chairman, has started a Super PAC with the intent of helping Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden win in November.

Borges along with former top Bush and Trump administration officials, including former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, launched Right Side PAC with the hope of getting disgruntled Republicans to vote for Biden.

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Columbus State Community College Says It Will Remove Its Christopher Columbus Statue

  Columbus State Community College (CSCC) announced Tuesday it will remove its Christopher Columbus statue that has been on its Columbus downtown campus since 1988. “In taking this action, we are being mindful of societal change and forward movement,” Columbus State Board of Trustees President Anthony Joseph said. “We do…

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Nearly 24,000 Ohioans Have to Repay Unemployment Benefits Due to Overpayments

Almost 24,000 people who received unemployment benefits will have to pay back the benefits as a result of overpayments, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) announced this week.

ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall said that there is nothing she could do about the overpayments because it’s a federal issue, not a state issue, according to News5Cleveland.

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Ohio House Unanimously Passes Bill Trying to Make Changes to the State’s Unemployment Compensation System

The Ohio House unanimously passed House Bill 614 on Thursday, which seeks to reform the state’s unemployment compensation system.

In the bill proposed by state Reps. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), it looks to modernize a system that was not prepared for the onslaught of unemployment claims this year.

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Ohio House Democrats Send a Letter to DeWine Asking for the Stoppage of Police Tear Gas Usage

Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) along with other Ohio House Democrats sent a letter on Tuesday to Gov. Mike DeWine asking that tear gas usage be banned.

“During the past week, tear gas, pepper spray and mace have all been used by police against peaceful protestors in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton and Akron,” the letter says. “We are extremely concerned about the use of tear gas and other chemical agents, which are banned under the Geneva Protocol, on the general population and the dangerous impact these agents may have on public health.”

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Gov. Mike DeWine Asks Advisory Board to Develop Minimum Standards for Mass Protests

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that he asked Ohio’s Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board (CCPAB) to begin developing uniform minimum standards related to mass protests in an effort to improve community-police relations in the state.

“These new efforts are just the start of our work to improve law enforcement accountability, transparency, training, and minority recruitment,” DeWine said. “We are working with the law enforcement community, elected officials, and community organizations as we continue to move forward.”

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Gibson’s Bakery Cross-Appeal Brief Seeks Original $33 Million in Punitive Damages from Oberlin College

Gibson’s Bakery filed a cross-appeal brief Monday after Oberlin College filed its appeals brief last week seeking to overturn a trial court’s decision which made the college pay the bakery $25 million in damages.

The damages relate to Oberlin College making defamatory statements about the bakery after three minority students plead guilty to shoplifting. After these three students plead guilty, Oberlin College students not involved in the case accused Gibson’s Bakery of racial profiling, held protests outside the bakery, and said the store had “a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.”

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Joe Biden Has His Deplorable Moment: ’10 to 15 Percent’ of Americans Are ‘Just Not Very Good People’

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth again on Thursday when he said that “10 to 15 percent” of Americans are “just not very good people.”

The former vice president made these comments while holding a town hall on Thursday night with black supporters, according to Fox News.

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Ohio Unemployment Claims Fell Below 40,000 Last Week

For the first time since mid-March, the number of Ohioans filing jobless claims has gone under 40,000, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) numbers showed.

For the week ending on May 30, more than 34,000 people asked the government for assistance. This marks the sixth consecutive week that unemployment claims have been under 100,000. Also, this is the ninth consecutive week that unemployment claims have gone down.

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Gov. DeWine Says Ohio Seeks to Improve Health and Economic Disparities in the State

Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that Ohio will put more of an effort into improving “issues of health and economic disparities, racism, and inequity.”

“I am seeking dialogue to solve these problems and seeking strategies for the implementation of reforms,” said Governor DeWine. “Whether it is in the urban core or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans who are not living up to their God-given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunities. That is wrong, and we have a moral obligation to change that.”

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More Than 1,200 Columbus City Business Leaders Pen Letter to City Council That Supports Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

  Over 1,200 Business leaders in Columbus City threw their weight behind a resolution the city passed Monday that declared racism a public health crisis. “We support the resolution because we are profoundly outraged and heartbroken that our fellow citizens continue to see themselves in the anguished face of George…

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Ohio House Representative and Ohio Elected Officials Pepper Sprayed While Protesting in Downtown Columbus

Ohio Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) and at least two other Ohio elected officials were pepper-sprayed in downtown Columbus during George Floyd protests on Saturday afternoon.

Beatty, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin were sprayed after a protester got into a scuffle with law enforcement, Fox News reported.

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Chairman of Ohio House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force Calls on Amy Acton to Resign

State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) told the Cincinnati Enquirer Thursday that he wants Ohio Health Director Amy Acton to resign from her position.

During Zeltwanger’s interview, he condemned Acton for not providing accurate information to the public and not reacting to data that went against the state’s lockdown measures.

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Gov. DeWine Calls in Ohio National Guard to Help Test All Residents and Staff in Nursing Homes

Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled Tuesday the formation of the Congregate Care Unified Response Teams that will help test residents and staff in Ohio’s nursing homes, according to the governor’s press release.

Nursing homes across America, including Ohio, have been hotspots for the coronavirus.

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Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Stops Petitioners from Gathering Electronic Signatures Amid COVID-19

Ohioans seeking to collect electronic signatures for petitions during the coronavirus must temporarily stop doing so, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. 6th District Court of Appeals said in its Tuesday judgment that even though the coronavirus has made it “difficult” for petitioners to gather signatures, it does not mean it can’t be done.

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Ohio Minority Health Strike Force Unveils Recommendations to Address Impact of Coronavirus on State’s Black Community, Mentions Nothing About Vitamin D Deficiency

Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week the recommendations that the Minority Health Strike Force established to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black community.

According to DeWine’s press release, black people make up “14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Ohio.”

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North Dakota Based Company Awarded Largest Border Wall Construction Contract Ever Given

  Federal officials gave Fisher Sand and Gravel a $1.28 billion deal to build 42 miles of the border wall along the southern border in Arizona, The Arizona Daily Star reported. This May 6 deal is the biggest contract ever given for border wall construction, according to CBS News. The…

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Ohio Sees Slight Decrease in Unemployment Numbers, More Than 1.2 Million People Have Filed Claims Over the Last Nine Weeks

  Ohio saw more than 46,000 people file for unemployment benefits last week, according to numbers released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). This marks the first time Ohio’s unemployment weekly claims have been under 50,000 when the coronavirus hit the state two months ago, and…

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Dave Yost Files Brief on Behalf of 15 Republican State AGs That Support the Federal Government’s Dropping Its Case Against Michael Flynn

Attorney General Dave Yost led an effort of 15 Republican state attorneys general to file an amicus brief Monday that supports the federal government’s position of dismissing its case against Gen. Michael Flynn.

In early May, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped all charges against the former National Security Advisor.

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Rep. Tim Ryan Wants Mitch McConnell to Support a Bill That Helps Illegal Immigrants and Hinders States’ Election Rights

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) sent a letter to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell Monday urging him to pass the HEROES Act, which is a $ 3 trillion bill aimed at helping Americans affected by the coronavirus.

“On Friday, The House of Representatives acted by passing the Heroes Act, a bold legislative package that responds to the challenges this pandemic poses to our nation,” he said. “Americans are depending on their Representatives and Senators to take swift and immediate action to bring relief. I write today to urge you to immediately bring up the Heroes Act for consideration in the Senate.”

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Gov. DeWine Tells Kentucky Democratic Senate Candidate Amy McGrath to Stop Using His Image in Ads Against Sen. Mitch McConnell

Gov. Mike DeWine released a statement asking that Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath not use his image in an “attack ad” against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Ohioans are focused exclusively on getting through COVID-19 and getting our people back to work, and I’m proud to work with partners at the local and federal level to get it done. It’s for that reason that I’m particularly disappointed with an attack ad by Amy McGrath that uses my image against my friend, Mitch McConnell,” DeWine said in a statement Saturday.

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Tennessee Lifts Restaurants and Retail Capacity Restrictions

Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday that Tennessee is lifting its capacity restrictions for restaurants and retail on May 22.

“Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen. Thanks to their continued efforts, we’re able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way,” Lee said.

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Ohio Unemployment Numbers Continue to Fall as Economy Opens Up

Ohio received a little over 51,000 unemployment claims last week, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS).

This marks the third consecutive week that unemployment claims have been less than 100,000. Furthermore, the number of jobless claims people have filed has reduced over 40,000 claims in the last two weeks.

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Gov. Tim Walz Extends Peacetime Emergency Order Until Mid-June

Gov. Tim Walz announced late Wednesday that he will extend Minnesota’s peacetime emergency order for thirty days.

“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said. “The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us – an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.”

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Ohio’s Franklin County Experiences 11 Overdose Deaths This Past Weekend

Franklin County in Ohio saw another surge in drug-related overdoses last weekend, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Dr. Anahi Ortiz, the Franklin County coroner, told The Dispatch that 11 people had died.

Since the Wuhan virus came to Ohio, Franklin County has been one of state’s hardest-hit areas in terms of overdoses.

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Ohio Reevaluating Policy About Ohioans Who Refuse to Work Amid Coronavirus After a Recent Hack on Its Unemployment Website

Ohio officials are rethinking the policy of removing unemployment benefits for workers who refuse to work during the COVID-19 ordeal, according to the cleveland.com.

On Friday, VICE reported someone hacked into the state’s unemployment benefits system website. This hack allowed people to send “junk data” to part of the website where employers “can report employees who quit or refuse work when it is available due to COVID-19.”

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Gov. DeWine Puts His Foot Down Against Ohio House Republicans Trying to Limit the State’s Health Department Powers

Gov. Mike DeWine took a stand Thursday against Ohio House Republicans who are trying to limit the Ohio Department of Health (ODH)’s powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, House Republicans on the House State and Local Government Committee (HSLGC) passed an amendment to a 2019 regulatory reform bill that would limit ODH’s orders to two weeks, The Ohio Star reported.

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Gov. DeWine Announces Bars, Restaurants and Personal Care Services Can Open on May 15 in Some Capacity

Ohioans waiting to go to bars, eat at restaurants, get their hair cut, or nails done will not have to wait much longer, as Gov. Mike DeWine announced that next Friday these businesses will open in some capacity.

“Reopening Ohio is a risk, but it’s also a risk if you don’t move forward. We’re on a dangerous road that has never been traveled before in Ohio and the danger is that we relax and stop taking precautions,” DeWine said. “All of us collectively control this. I ask you to take calculated risks and make good judgments. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing face coverings. If you aren’t concerned with what happens to you, do it for others.”

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DOJ Drops Case Against Michael Flynn

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion on Thursday to dismiss its case against Michael Flynn.

“The United States of America hereby moves to dismiss with prejudice the criminal information filed against Michael T. Flynn pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a), the motion reads. “The Government has determined, pursuant to the Principles of Federal Prosecution and based on extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances, that continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”

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Texas Supreme Court Orders Release of Shelley Luther After She Was Jailed for Trying to Reopen Her Salon

The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the release of Shelly Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was sent to jail for violating the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order.

State District Judge Eric Moyé on Tuesday sentenced the owner of the Salon A La Mode to seven days behind bars for “disobeying a judge’s temporary restraining order prohibiting her from operating her salon,” according to CBS-DFW.

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