Posts by: Joseph

The Columbus Dispatch reported today that State Rep. John Becker, arguably the most extreme and misinformed Republican in the entire Ohio General Assembly, has plans to revise his bill to ban insurance coverage for birth control.   The current version of the bill would make it illegal to use IUDs.  When originally asked about the ban, Becker said he believed IUDs caused abortions, a claim that has no basis in reality.  “This is just a personal view,” said Becker.  “I’m not a medical doctor.”  

According today’s Dispatch article, Becker is now planning to remove the IUD ban from his bill because he suddenly realized that IUDs actually [...]

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Charter school advocates attending a luncheon at the Ohio Statehouse last Thursday received some unexpected information from some uninvited guests when volunteers from the Ohio Friends of Public Education (OFPE) and Moving Ohio Forward (MOF) arrived to distribute handouts to the group.   One of the attendees and scheduled speakers was millionaire ECOT founder Willliam Lager.

According to MOF, the volunteers “provided luncheon guests with a ‘fact sheet’ that highlights both ECOT’s record of failure in educating Ohio students —and its record of success in obtaining millions of dollars in funding from Ohio taxpayers. The fact sheet also summarizes the campaign contributions ECOT [...]

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The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Heritage Foundation and a bunch of other anti-same sex marriage groups are in DC today for what they are calling the March for Marriage.   According to the website for the event, the “March powerfully proclaims that marriage as the union of one man and one woman is our culture’s best means of linking mothers and fathers to one another and to their children.”

Speakers at the event include Mike Huckabee and, of course, Rick “gay marriage is like man on dog sex” Santorum.    Representatives from NOM and Heritage will also speak.  Both groups have [...]

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Governor John Kasich appointed Republican Cathye Smith Flory from Hocking County to the State School Board yesterday, filling the seat left open when Darryl Mehaffie resigned last week.

Flory previously served 12 years  on the Logan-Hocking Board of Education.

In a 2005 Meet the Candidates Night, Flory was one of two Logan-Hocking school board candidates who wanted Creationism should be taught alongside actual science in public schools.

According to an article on LoganDaily.com, Flory and another candidate agreed that “children should be taught the various theories and decide for themselves what is right for them.”   

Today, class, we will be watching [...]

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On Friday, Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s office announced that her chief of staff and an administrative assistant were resigning after an investigation by Plunderbund revealed Laura Johnson and her assistant Heather Brandt had been billing the state for hours they were not working.   Plunderbund initiated the investigation after receiving a tip that Johnson and Brandt had been working on the Kasich/Taylor reelection campaign while being paid by the state.

Both Johnson and Brandt were paid employees of the Kasich/Taylor campaign in 2010.  Brandt continued to be paid by the campaign for all of 2011, long after the election was over and Kasich and Taylor had taken office.   Monthly payments [...]

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Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s chief of staff and her administrative assistant resigned today after a record request from Plunderbund revealed that Laura Johnson and her assistant Heather Brandt had been billing the state for hours they were not working.

The Associated Press released their story about the resignation at 2:36 PM today.   The Ohio Department of Administrative Services finally released the records to us 2:40 PM, four minutes after the story was published online.

Plunderbund filed the request after receiving a tip that Johnson and Brandt had been stealing state time, working on John Kasich’s reelection campaign while being paid by the [...]

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Last week the Taliban released Bowe Bergdahl, an Idaho native and sergeant in the United State Army.  He had been their prisoner for five years.  The release was negotiated by the Obama Administration in exchange for the transfer of five Taliban-associated prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar, where they will be held in custody for at least another year.

Initial responses from politicians on both sides of the aisle were very positive.  Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci, for example, tweeted: “So glad to hear that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is coming home safely. He’s a true American hero”.

But it didn’t take long for [...]

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Last month the Cincinnati Enquirer highlighted the growing tension between local law enforcement officials and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office over the AG’s plan to replace the local crime lab in Hamilton County with a new, state-run crime lab in Butler County.

Local law enforcement leaders and the county coroner complained that Mike DeWine had not included them in these discussions.  Emails obtained by Plunderbund confirm this account.

The emails show that county administrators and the AG’s office spent months discussing plans for a regional crime lab in Southwest Ohio without ever consulting local law enforcement, who use the crime lab every day, or the county [...]

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During oral arguments in front of the Ohio Supreme Court last week, lawyers for the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) claimed they couldn’t release the records we requested in 2012 from ODPS Director Tom Charles because terrorists might be able to review the documents and somehow piece together security procedures used to protect Governor Kasich.   But a review of investigation records from 2010 shows that then-Inspector General Tom Charles released many documents detailing actual procedures used by troopers protecting Governor Strickland.   This, we believe, is even more evidence that Kasich’s ODPS team is refusing to honor our request for purely political reasons.

Our Supreme [...]

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Earlier this week I received a mailer from School Choice Ohio, a non-profit that promotes charter schools and private school vouchers.  The mailer discusses Kasich’s new private school voucher program which lets any student in kindergarten or first grade get a voucher to a private school if their family meets certain financial requirements.  The mailer was targeted at me, but used my kid’s name on the mailers.   This freaked me out a little bit.

According to Columbus City Schools, anyone can request information about CCS students from their student directory, this include includes name, address, phone number and even date and place of birth. [...]

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Plunderbund’s public records case against the Kasich Administration took another step forward today when our lawyer, Victoria Ullmann, and lawyers representing the Ohio Department of Public Safety presented oral arguments in front of the Ohio Supreme Court.  Media outlets around the state picked up the story including WOSU , WKSU, the Plain Dealer and even the Dispatch.

The case stems from a record request we made back in 2012 after Kasich’s office refused to release his schedules claiming the governor was receiving “daily” threats.    To verify Kasich’s claims, we requested incident reports from the Ohio Highway Patrol related to [...]

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