End of the road: Ohio House and Senate negotiators working toward a compromise Thursday night on the state transportation budget settled on $70 million for public transit. But they couldn’t agree on an amount for a gas tax increase.
Behind the scenes: Earlier Thursday evening, Gov. Mike DeWine had announced a deal with the House to increase the gas tax by 11 cents, Hancock reports. However, the Senate still wasn’t on board and later sunk that deal. Follow cleveland.com today for the latest developments as the two sides try to get the budget resolved by Sunday.
Work cut out for them: DeWine’s administration is reviewing a Wednesday court ruling in which a federal judge in Washington, D.C. struck down Arkansas and Kentucky’s attempts to establish work requirements for their Medicaid programs, cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias writes. Although the ruling doesn’t directly affect Ohio’s efforts to set up its own work requirements, the general arguments in the case may be a preview of what’s in store if Ohio’s program ends up in court someday.
Pre-existing problems? DeWine says if Obamacare is overturned, he’ll push for Ohio to create its own ban on insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But as cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer found out, there are concerns that any state-level rules would be inadequate and spark a court battle.
Not feeling the fee: Ohio’s state government has been sued for charging state drivers a $1.50 lamination fee on new driver’s licenses, even though registars no longer laminate on site, reports Jo Ingles for the Statehouse News Bureau. The attorney filing suit? None other than Marc Dann, the former Democratic Ohio attorney general.
What’s in a name? Having trouble figuring out how to pronounce Beto, Kamala or any of the other 2020 Democrats’ names? Don’t fret. Cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson has you covered with a handy pronunciation guide.
Hemp happenings: The Ohio Senate passed a bill Thursday afternoon that would allow people to legally grow, process, sell and research industrial hemp and its derivatives, such as CBD oil, Hancock writes. This bill comes after Congress in the Farm Bill removed hemp from the controlled substances list.
Reversing course: President Donald Trump, less than a month after proposing a budget that would gut Great Lakes cleanup efforts, told a rally in Michigan Thursday night that he wanted to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton reports.
Ohio Dems support transgender troops: The U.S. House on Thursday voted 238 to 185 to reject Trump’s ban on transgender troops, Eaton reports. All Ohio’s Republicans backed the ban, while the state’s Democrats voted to reject it, with the exception of Rep. Tim Ryan, who would have rejected the ban, but missed the vote because of “miscommunication over its timing.”
Calling foul: Ryan said that General Motors made an error by featuring the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS, which is made in Mexico, at the Detroit Tigers Opening Day game Thursday.“ In the wake of GM closing five plants across the country, it’s a slap in the face for American workers to showcase foreign-made cars alongside America’s pastime,” Ryan said in a statement.
How do you do, fellow kids: A youth-outreach effort from the anchor team at WTOL 11 in Toledo got national attention on Thursday. The Washington Post is among the media outlets that took note after the slang-heavy web video, meant to encourage Toledo Public School students during standardized testing week, went viral. “Yeet! Stay woke, be on fleek and get that Gucci breakfast,” says one anchor in a representative portion of the video.
Gimme shelter: Syndicated, Ohio-based columnist Connie Schultz pointed out a little-noticed provision in Ohio Senate Bill 86 in her Wednesday column. The bill, a collection of special designations, license-plate creations and road-renaming, also designated the “shelter pet” as Ohio’s official pet. Schultz noted the U.S.Humane Society lauded the move as “helping raise public awareness for shelter animals and shelters throughout Ohio which are full of wonderful family-ready pets.”
Buckeye Brain Tease
Question: Ohio’s $649.1 billion gross domestic product made it the country’s seventh largest last year. If Ohio was its own nation, where would its economy rank? Email your response to [email protected] The first correct respondent will be mentioned in next week’s newsletter.
Thanks for responding to last week’s trivia question! As a reminder, it was: “Name the alt rock band that formed in Dayton with twins as the vocalists — including one who played for The Pixies.”
Last week’s answer: The Breeders. Kim Deal was in the influential band The Pixies. She moved back to Dayton in 2003 to care for her mother. Her twin, Kelley Deal, lives down the street. The Breeders practice in Kim’s basement, according to an article last year in Vice.
Capitol Letter reader and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who hails from Dayton, was the first to send in the correct answer. Thanks to everyone who responded!
On The Move
Lindsey Short, a legislative aide for state Rep. Niraj Antani, is leaving the Statehouse to join Government Edge, a Columbus lobbying firm.
Luke Stedke, deputy director of communications and marketing for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, has accepted a new job as communications director for DriveOhio, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s program for smart/autonomous vehicles.Ohio Highway Patrol Capt.
Robin R. Schmutz was promoted to the rank of major and will transfer from her assignment in the Office of Personnel to serve as commander in the Office of Security and Communications.
Capt. Chuck A. Jones was promoted to the rank of major. He works in the Office of Training, Recruitment and Diversity.
Capt. Gary Allen was promoted to the rank of major and will transfer from his current assignment in the Ohio Investigative Unit to serve as commander of the Office of Criminal Investigations.