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Facebook co-founders’ groups give $2 million to Issue 1 campaign: Capitol Letter

August 23, 2018

Facebook co-founders’ groups give $2 million to Issue 1 campaign: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings  Zuck’s bucks: Philanthropic organizations funded by Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz have contributed $2 million to the campaign pushing Ohio Issue 1, reports cleveland.com’s Jackie Borchardt. The measure would eliminate prison sentences for nonviolent, low-level drug possession convictions, allow inmates to earn early release and divert savings to drug treatment and crime victims services.

To the letter: State Rep. Emilia Sykes sent Gov. John Kasich a letter this week asking him to force two of his agencies into mediation over her discrimination complaints before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock reports. The departments of Administrative Services and Public Safety have declined mediation to resolve Sykes’ allegations of discrimination by security in the Statehouse and the Vern Riffe Center. 

A civil discussion: Democratic State Rep. Kathleen Clyde and Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose, the two major candidates for secretary of state, appeared Wednesday at a Cleveland-area forum and “largely agreed on what the biggest challenges are that face democracy today,” cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias reports. “Both said gerrymandering and a lack of transparency in the campaign finance system are contributing to a third big problem, a lack of civility in politics,” Tobias writes.

tl;dr Balderson’s gonna win: Democrats hoped that Republican Troy Balderson’s narrow 1,754-vote lead over Danny O’Connor in the Aug. 7 12th Congressional District special election would shrink once the remaining absentee and provisional ballots were tallied. But with four of the seven counties reporting official results, Balderson has increased his lead by 384 votes, to 2,138 votes. The remaining three counties will certify their totals by Friday. But there are only about 3,600 outstanding ballots (at most) in those counties left, meaning O’Connor would have to capture an unrealistic 67 percent of those votes to win. Tough stuff: Republican Mike DeWine’s first commercial in his general election campaign for governor attacks Democratic opponent Richard Cordray on the issue of untested sexual assault kits, saying Cordray “left serial rapists free to strike again” while DeWine helped put rapists in prison, reports cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson. Cordray called the attack misleading and “beneath the dignity of the office we are both seeking.”

No limit: In the wake of news that priests abused 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, we asked DeWine’s office whether the attorney general favors Ohio’s current 25-year statute of limitations for rape cases. The answer, from DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney, is that DeWine favors no statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. It’s up to state lawmakers, though, to make any change to the law.

Miller Time: Cordray is set to take a break from his own campaign to attend a fundraiser for state Rep. Adam Miller, a Columbus Democrat, next Tuesday evening at BrewDog’s Franklinton bar. Miller is running for re-election against Republican John Rush, whom Miller beat in 2016. On message: During a Cleveland appearance Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stuck to talking about efforts by the Justice Department and local federal prosecutors to combat the opioid epidemic, reports Eric Heisig of cleveland.com. Sessions didn’t comment directly on Tuesday’s news about the criminal cases involving former Trump campaign associates.  Congress weighs in, sort of: The news that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign violations didn’t elicit much of a forceful response from Ohio Republicans in Congress, per a report from the Columbus Dispatch’s Jessica Wehrman. But U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who is relying on Trump’s support in his campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, expressed concern that Democrats would try to impeach Trump if they win in November, Wehrman reports.  

Another clinic faces shutdown: A judge’s ruling could result in the closure of the Dayton area’s last surgical abortion clinic, writes Catherine Candisky of the Dispatch. “If the clinic closes, Ohio will have six abortion clinics statewide — down from 16 in 2011 when Republican Gov. John Kasich took office and GOP lawmakers began enacting more restrictions,” Candisky writes.

Remember when? Ohio’s congressional delegation largely voted along party lines over whether to impeach former President Bill Clinton, writes Steve Koff, who reported on Ohio politics and policy for years in Washington for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com. Koff also shows how DeWine, then a U.S. senator, voted on articles of impeachment. His Tweets come at a time when many President Donald Trump critics would like to see him removed.   No NDAs: A Democratic state lawmaker wants to ban publicly funded non-disclosure agreements, according to Ohio Public Radio reporter Andy Chow. Rep. Kristin Boggs’ proposal stems from the controversy surrounding ECOT, the now-closed online charter school that “spent more than $500,000 on severance packages with non-disclosure agreements attached,” Chow reports.

Prison veterans: Last week, cleveland.com listed the top 10 oldest and youngest inmates in Ohio. Now, politics reporter Jeremy Pelzer has found the top 10 longest continually serving inmates in the state.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from the April 9 ethics filing of state Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat: 1. Besides her $60,584 lawmaker salary, the only other income she reported from last year were state and local income-tax refunds of less than $1,000 each. 2. She is enrolled in the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, as well as the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Her only other reported investment is in the Public Employees Deferred Compensation program. 3. At some point during 2017, she owed at least $1,000 to the U.S. Department of Education, Third Federal Bank, Target, PNC Bank, and American Express. 4. The state reimbursed her a higher-than-average $6,843 in mileage from her Cleveland home to Columbus. 5. Expenditures made on her behalf last year include $276 by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce for its Salt Fork State Park policy conference, $192 by the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association for baseball tickets, and $178 by the Cleveland Orchestra for its opening night at Blossom Music Center.

On The Move

Lee Schreiner, a retired teacher of 37 years from the Columbus area, was recently selected as the Ohio School Boards Association’s 2019 president-elect nominee. If elected during the association’s conference in November, he will become its president in 2020, following his term as president-elect.

Birthdays Rep. Laura Lanese

Straight From The Source

“I’m going to try it and I’m going to wear a helmet. To be educated about it, I need to take a ride.”

- State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, who tweeted a photo of herself Wednesday on an electric scooter in Capitol Square, but later confessed to cleveland.com that she did not ride it. But she said she plans to after talking to several riders about the new technology descending on Ohio’s cities.

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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