The duplicity and shamelessness of the Ohio legislature was on full display Thursday as two bills addressing hiking pay for lawmakers and other elected public officials now and into the future, described as competing with each other, moved from one chamber to the other.

Despite being framed as competing measures, HB 661 would further feather officials’ income nests with more taxpayer money now, while the Senate bill would delay by deferring that feathering to a commission, advertised as independent, that would be populated with appointees by the governor as well as legislative and judicial leaders. Called a pay raise [...]

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On Monday and Tuesday of next week, the State School Board of Ohio will convene again to vote on the “5 of 8″ rule that requires school districts to hire specialists in arts, music and physical education, along with librarians, guidance counselors, social workers, and nurses.  The board members who favor the change have called these requirements “outdated”.

Eliminating this change will actually open the door for school districts to avoid hiring qualified individuals in these positions.  Instead of having specialized arts educators in grades K-8, local school boards, in an attempt to cope with the Kasich Administration’s [...]

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John Boehner, who awakens each morning with a glowering game face tightly in place as the King of the Naysayers, is at it again. He has told Ohio’s Republican legislative leaders that he likes the state’s lopsided congressional districts the way they are today, thank you. So the Speaker urged his crowd to stop fooling around with them by drawing up new districts.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Boehner has talked to Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber – Republicans, of course – to stonewall any current efforts to change the district lines, saying: “I frankly [...]

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Dayton Democratic Fred Strahorn [OH-39] has been chosen to lead Ohio House Democrats forward starting early next year. Now even more of a minority party after Republicans boosted their numbers to 65 in the recently concluded midterm elections, Rep. Strahorn appears undaunted in spite of the lopsided numbers in the people’s house.

The Legislature can override a governor’s veto with a three-fifths vote of both chambers, which means GOP members will be able  to take on Gov. John Kasich if they really want to without the help of Democrats. Depending on the nature of the bill, Gov. Kasich could find more [...]

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Ohio’s House Education Committee Chair, Gerald Stebelton, had pushed for the minimum teacher salary schedule to be rendered moot when he quickly amended House Bill 343 recently.  While the committee rapidly passed that amended bill along partisan lines, support for the change apparently didn’t carry forward to the larger General Assembly.

In a flurry of events yesterday, Representative Andy Brenner backtracked on his support (after voting affirmatively as the Education Committee Vice Chair) for the bill and referred it from the full House to the House Rules and Reference Committee where the bill was “un”-amended and sent back to the [...]

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Democrats around the country struggled on Election Day 2014, and while what happened in Ohio happened everywhere, David Pepper believes it’s more important that the party get things fixed in Ohio than just about anywhere else.

“Although it was a national trend and we had some statewide issues that made it especially bad here, I don’t think pointing fingers at the national scene is the answer for Ohio,” he said in an interview this week. “It’s so important that Ohio be organized, Democrats in particular, for 2016, and then mobilize and take whatever we build in ’16 and make it [...]

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In the remaining days of Ohio’s lame duck legislature, lobbyists were as thick as thieves Tuesday at the Statehouse in Columbus, where substitute bills were accepted for two controversial bills, HB 661 and HB 5.

The former bill, controversial because it dares to set automatic pay raises for elected officials well into the future, remained in the House Finance and Appropriations committee following acceptance of a sub bill today.

The later bill, likewise controversial because  is messes with revenue sources cities depend on to operate, is widely anticipated to pass out of Senate Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, following acceptance [...]

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Portman, Not For President

On December 2, 2014 By

Well that ended quickly.

My dear Ohio, we will no longer have the presidential aspirations of Robert Jones Portman to speculate over. Mr. Portman gathered up his fedora out of the Grand Old Party ring Monday night and sauntered away from a bid for the high office of our land.

“I don’t think I can run for president and be an effective senator at the same time,” Portman said. “While I appreciate the encouragement I have received from many to run for president, my focus will remain on Ohio and running for re-election to the Senate in 2016.”

With the [...]

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What a difference a year makes in the ongoing saga of how much the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is positively affecting the growth of monthly healthcare premiums. In 2015, 42 Ohio counties will either see zero growth or falling monthly healthcare exchange premiums compared to 2014, the first year of the rollout of the ACA in states in the federal exchange marketplace.

Kaiser Health News reported Monday that insurance competition has intensified in the second year of the health marketplaces, with new carriers offering the cheapest plan in many counties. KHN provided a chart [...]

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Ohio is the quintessential swing state, its political hue such a deep purple you can almost hear a Smoke on the Water riff.

But for the second mid-term election in a row, a majority of the low numbers of voters who showed up have put the reigns of power into the hands of Republicans in all five statewide administrative office as well as both chambers of the General Assembly

The Ohio Democratic Party faced some tough losses in 2014 but can now take stock and re-emerge with renewed energy and a refined focus. In a series of interviews, Plunderbund is asking party leaders [...]

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Instead of waging another frontal attack on public union workers, a bill that tries to take another bite of the SB 5 apple awaits Senate approval in the waning days of a lame duck legislature. Voters had their chance to change Ohio’s direction, and they didn’t, so now they’re powerless onlookers to bills looking to cross the finish line in time between the end of one legislature and the start of a new one. HB 5, co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Grossman and Henne, defines statewide standards for taxable income and eliminates local income taxes on certain sources of income. The bill [...]

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