/Many Ohio Asian Americans feeling let down by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: Capitol Letter (via Qpute.com)
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Many Ohio Asian Americans feeling let down by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: Capitol Letter (via Qpute.com)


Dismayed and disappointed: Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s recent tweet that referred to the “Wuhan virus” and his ensuing defense of his use of the term has left many Asian Americans in Ohio feeling dismayed and disappointed in their leadership. Seth Richardson talked to a number of them who “didn’t feel his explanation – that he was attempting to criticize the Chinese government – sufficiently explained why he felt the need to use a term that many feel is, at the very least, unhelpful or, at worst, could lead to targeting people of Asian descent for violence,” Richardson writes.

Worth a shot? Evan MacDonald explores the debate about “vaccine passports,” which prove someone has been vaccinated before they travel on an airplane or enter a business such as a restaurant or movie theater. Several Ohio lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would ban state and local governments from requiring vaccine passports to enter a business. Gov. Mike DeWine says the state does not plan to create a vaccine passport program.

Weekend numbers: Another 1,677 coronavirus cases were reported on Friday, and Saturday saw 2,293 more. The Ohio Department of Health did not report case numbers on Easter Sunday. Those will be included in Monday’s report.

Quantum leap: The rapidly developing technology of quantum computing took center stage last week when the Cleveland Clinic and IBM announced a 10-year partnership with the potential for Cleveland to be the site of major scientific advancements. Emily Bamforth has a primer on what quantum computing is and what the partnership means.

Board meeting: The Democratic National Committee is unveiling a new strategy to promote President Joe Biden and Sen. Sherrod Brown, both Democrats, for their support of the American Rescue Plan – the coronavirus stimulus bill that included $1,400 direct payments to individuals. The campaign, which will be featured on a billboard near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with the words “Help is Here” prominently displayed, will also call out Republican Sen. Rob Portman for voting against the bill.

Driving change: Sometime next year, Ohioans might be able to renew their driver’s licenses online. As the Associated Press reports, people ages 21 to 65 whose current licenses or IDs were issued in person and who have photos on file with the state would be eligible. The change was part of the state’s recently approved $8.3 billion transportation budget.

Spring break: The Ohio House and Senate do not have any committee meetings or sessions planned this week. The next House session is scheduled for April 14. The next Senate session is scheduled for April 21.

‘Stand your ground’ to become law: Ohio’s controversial new “stand your ground” law takes effect Tuesday, three months after it was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine. Senate Bill 175, fast-tracked by Republicans through the Ohio General Assembly late last year over vocal objections from Democrats, makes Ohio the 36th state to no longer require people to retreat before they can justifiably hurt or kill someone in self-defense.

May I take your order: Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, in an interview for “The State of Ohio,” says lawmakers will consider using their new power to overturn DeWine’s health orders after Senate Bill 22 takes effect in mid-June. “I think it’s likely that if the emergency has not been declared to be over by the governor, that both houses and the legislature would pass the resolution called for, for that to end,” Huffman said, reports Karen Kasler for the Statehouse News Bureau. The legislature overrode DeWine’s veto to pass the law.

Looking into it: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is investigating the Columbus Zoo following a report that two top executives misused assets, the Associated Press reports. The investigation follows a Columbus Dispatch report that revealed that the pair “allowed relatives to live in houses owned or controlled by the zoo and sought tickets for family members to zoo entertainment events,” the AP said. The two have resigned.

COVID controversy: More than a week after Republicans overrode Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto on limits to his coronavirus powers, the debate over COVID-19 policies continues between GOP and Democratic lawmakers. After Democratic state Rep. Janine Boyd of Cleveland Heights told Spectrum News that Republicans didn’t work for the “greater good” and “the only sources of information” they believe are “themselves,” House Majority Leader Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, penned a letter calling Boyd’s statements “recklessly inflammatory,” enclosing an op-ed from Scott Atlas, a former coronavirus adviser to ex-President Donald Trump. Democratic state Rep. Beth Liston, a Columbus physician, wrote in a reply that Atlas is “an outlier in public health” and lawmakers shouldn’t be “misdirected by outlier opinions.”

Ready to rumble: DeWine told the Columbus Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow that he expects to have a primary opponent next year, but he also expects that he will win. However, the Greene County Republican said he doesn’t know exactly who will end up running against him and that he “certainly take(s) nothing for granted.”

Pages of persuasion: The Washington Post’s Isaac Stanley-Becker has an interesting look at the American Culture Project, a little-known nonprofit that has created Facebook pages including one called Arise Ohio, that are “part of a novel strategy by a little-known, Republican-aligned group to make today’s GOP more palatable to moderate voters ahead of the 2022 midterms by reshaping the ‘cultural narrative’ on hot-button issues.” The pages, Stanley-Becker writes, “cultivate new ways of engaging with voters by sharing practical information about everything from education to voting while also seeking to gin up anger over claims of government malfeasance.”

Here are Ohio’s five public retirement systems, in order of how heavily they were lobbied in 2020, according to a report from the Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.

1. Public Employees Retirement System (74 lobbyists hired by 41 employers)

2. State Teachers Retirement System (59 lobbyists hired by 33 employers)

3. School Employees Retirement System (54 lobbyists hired by 29 employers)

4. Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (51 lobbyists hired by 25 employers)

5. Ohio State Highway Patrol Retirement System (45 lobbyists hired by 21 employers)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has appointed Susan K. Steinhauer to the Summit County Domestic Relations Court and Bertha Garcia Helmick to the Hamilton County Municipal Court. Steinhauer will replace Judge Katarina Cook, and Garcia Helmick will replace Judge Alan C. Triggs. Both judges were elected to other judgeships.

Sunday, 4/4: Michael Halle, manager of Rich Cordray’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign; State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells; State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan; State Rep. Tracy Richardson

Monday, 4/5: Seth Richardson, cleveland.com lead political reporter

“You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”

-Ohio’s John Boehner, former U.S. House Speaker, in an excerpt of his blunt new memoir “On the House” posted by Politico Magazine. Boehner was referring to the 2010 midterm election, when he presided over the largest Republican freshman class in history. “A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington,” he wrote.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.




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