When outgoing Ohio Representative Gerald Stebelton introduced House Bill 661 to increase the annual salaries of Ohio’s elected officials, he missed a grand opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.  Stebelton has long decried the current standard pay scales that teachers typically follow, pushing a merit-based pay structure for school districts.  In his bill, however, Stebelton simply seeks to update the existing legislative pay structure for elected officials where everyone gets the exact same base pay regardless of their individual efforts.  It’s beyond hypocritical.

House Bill 661 isn’t likely all [...]

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It’s only been two weeks since John Kasich won a resounding victory in what was the poorest voter turnout election since the 1940s.  But two Ohio newspapers, who dragged their journalism credentials through the mud this year by pummeling Kasich’s Democratic opponent to an early death, are again basking in the aurora of the wannabe president as he practices the high art of political engagement that he has crafted over decades.  Not answering questions, ignoring opponents and the public,  and feigning dis-interest in a race everyone knows he’s very interested in, were some of his winning ways. They will now be reborn with [...]

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News sources reported today that Ohio’s unemployment rate, which was 5.7 percent in July and August, dropped to 5.6 percent for September, “slightly better than the national rate” of 5.9 percent for September.  One headline, using monthly job statistics released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, shouted, “Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent for October.

Wow! Sounds like Gov. John Kasich is creating a lot of jobs!

While the numbers cited are accurate, they are also misleading. According to the Wall Street Journal, each state should really be judged by how well it is doing compared [...]

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Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly have devised a great new way to tackle redistricting “reform” while crowing about bipartisanship and solving exactly nothing, at least not for anybody who cares about fair elections.

And Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is pushing hard to get it done by the end of the year.

With shades of Senate Bill 5’s “last best offer” provisions, one proposal being offered by House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman, R-Lima, is an “impasse resolution” that would allow four members of the majority party to draw the districts, then go to voters to ask [...]

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Under the heading, 20 Republican wannabes to watch, POLITICO published its bulging preseason roster of possible GOP presidential candidates, largely rounding up the usual suspects. Several have been around long enough to have shrinking options for their brain throbs. (Santorum? Not again, for God’s and our sake.)

But you might find interesting POLITICO’S brief bios as will the Vegas crowd that will be laying odds while all but one of the 20 will be laying eggs.

In the middle of the list you’ll find Gov.Kasich, who seems to have fascinated the pundits by his crushing victory over an opponent [...]

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Last week, the Ohio House Education Committee, led by Gerald Stebelton, moved to eliminate the minimum salary schedule requirements from state law via House Bill 343.  The bill passed out of the committee along straight party lines, with the approving Republicans stating that this move was designed to give local school districts flexibility in negotiating salary schedules, especially advocating for merit-based pay for teachers.

Committee chairman Gerald Stebelton, a Lancaster Republican, said the longstanding teacher pay scales that increase pay based on years of experience and degrees earned by a teacher, should no longer be required by the state. [...]

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The bitter cold Thursday outside a House hearing room stood in sharp contrast to some heated moments during testimony in Columbus on HB 248, AKA “the Heartbeat Bill”, sponsored by Republican Rep. Christine Hagen.  If signed into law by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the bill would make it illegal for a woman to seek an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could occur even before a women knows she’s pregnant.

Unusual by general House procedures, today’s hearing came as a surprise to many, since it would offer both sponsor testimony and a vote. The controversial bill generally “prohibits a person [...]

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Well, Ohio, there’s another fine mess brewing in Columbus. Republicans won big in spite of the precipitous drop-off of voters this Nov. 4, which produced one of the lowest turnout of voters in the Buckeye State and across the nation since the late 1940s. GOP candidates, from governor on down, including the House and Senate, won big and can now do anything they want without fear of any Democrat doing anything to stop them. In a word, Ohio Republicans are bulletproof.

In most lame duck sessions of the General Assembly, bad bills can appear without warning as lawmakers use this [...]

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Rarely do I come across a statistic about education that stops me in my tracks, but it happened to me first thing this morning.  The Columbus City School District puts out a “Fact of the Day” each morning and today’s especially caught my eye.

 

Think about that for a second.  4,500 children and youth experiencing homelessness in Columbus.  Even considering that Columbus is the largest school district in Ohio, that number is still staggering.  The concept of that number becomes even more interesting when we put it in perspective across the entire state.

Ohio has a [...]

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I don’t blame U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for not having a firm grasp on the political philosophy of Jemmy Madison, our fourth president and known in his lifetime as the “Father of the Constitution.” Portman’s walking a wire, as he looks longingly for a place in the Grand Old Party Presidential Pageant of 2016.

I do, however, find more than a little troubling the fact that two of three members of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, constitutionally speaking, can’t find their ass with both hands. A decision last week by that court upheld anti-gay marriage laws in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and [...]

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