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Lawmkers want Ohio to be a leader in blockchain technology: Capitol Letter

August 24, 2018

Lawmkers want Ohio to be a leader in blockchain technology: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings Backing blockchain: A cadre of House GOP lawmakers and business executives assembled Thursday to tout the benefits of blockchain and urge greater support for the technology. Cleveland.com’s Jackie Borchardt reports that lawmakers are still in the early stages of deciding how blockchain could be used in government, such as keeping birth certificates and other vital statistics.  

Leneghan loses again: The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday threw out Melanie Leneghan’s long-shot attempt to overturn Troy Balderson’s narrow 12th Congressional District GOP primary victory over her in May. As cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer reports, Leneghan claimed the election should be handed to her because Muskingum County elections officials prematurely opened some ballot boxes, but the court found that she offered no evidence that vote counts were changed. The ruling comes as no surprise, given that Balderson already ran in (and is likely to officially win) the Aug. 7 special election for the Central Ohio seat.

Whoops: The Muskingum County Board of Elections convened Thursday to accept three 12th District special-election absentee ballots that were overlooked in the initial vote count because they were mistakenly left in a cubby hole. “They were on a shelf that was too high for anybody to see,” board of elections director Tim Thompson explained to cleveland.com. “I caught them on Tuesday – I’m a little bit taller than the rest of [the staff].” Even though two of the ballots were for Democrat Danny O’Connor (the third was for Balderson), Balderson still won the county by more than 4,000 votes. 

Joe-mentum: Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Rich Cordray’s getting a financial boost from Joe Biden. The ex-VP is scheduled to attend an “afternoon coffee and conversation” with Cordray on Sept. 6 in New York City. Tickets run as high as $10,000 each, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow.

Prison savings: A new Policy Matters Ohio study found Ohio Issue 1 could save an estimated $136 million per year and redirect those funds toward drug treatment and crime victim services. The liberal-leaning think tank is a member of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, which is backing the November ballot measure also known as the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment. The amendment would reclassify drug possession crimes as misdemeanors, which the study says would reduce Ohio’s overcrowded prisons by about 10,000 inmates a year.  

Renacci gets social: In a series of Facebook ads earlier this month, Rep. Jim Renacci touted his vote for a popular children’s health-insurance plan, writes cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias. The buy, which cost Renacci’s office between $10,100 and $20,500, could be the largest Facebook buy from any Ohio House member since at least 2016. (As a side note, the story makes use of a cool new Facebook tool that shares financial and targeting information for all of the site’s political ads.)

Aftab sued: Aftab Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts and Democratic congressional candidate, has been sued by a former employee, according to WXIX. The ex-employee, Brittney Heitman, alleges Pureval broke a non-disclosure agreement by describing his efforts to rid the courthouse of political patronage after he was elected. Pureval is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Chabot. 

Batter up: Pureval released a campy new ad this week — “Slugger” — featuring himself on the softball diamond. Meanwhile, Republicans cried foul at his perceived fashion faux paux — Pureval wore jeans with his baseball tee. 

Dave downgraded: Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball has decreased U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce’s odds of re-election, moving his rating of this year’s Ohio’s 14th Congressional District race from “Likely Republican” to “Leans Republican.” Kondik stated that “a potential suburban revolt against Trump in this district is a challenge for Joyce,” who’s running for a fourth term against Democrat Betsy Rader.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from Rep. Andrew Brenner’s financial disclosure statement. The Delaware County Republican is seeking a seat in the Ohio Senate.   

1. Brenner reported earning $1,000 to $9,999 as an agent at the Brenner Insurance Group last year. He earned $73,111 as a legislator. He collected $10,000 to $24,999 in rental income from a property in Delaware city.

2.  He is a trustee with the Sunbury-Galena Rotary and co-owner of Cedar Grove Properties LLC. 

3. He owed at least $1,000 at some time in 2017 to Discover Card, Ford Credit, America’s Serving Company, Clark Schaefer Hackett CPA firm, Nelnet Student Loan Servicing, Chase, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, Chase Credit Card Services and Comenity Capital Services. His campaign committee owed him at least $1,000 in 2017.

4. The state reimbursed him $1,036.26 in mileage between home and Columbus. His campaign committee reimbursed him $1,444.78. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce picked up lodging worth $138.01 at its Policy Conference at Salt Fork. The Foundation for Excellence in Education, which was founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, paid for travel last year worth $554.70 and reimbursed him $370 for 2016 travel. 

5. Brenner, chairman of the House Education Committee, received a $49 ticket to a charity ball from Zaner-Bloser, which publishes handwriting programs. He received a $22 meal at a School Choice Ohio Inc. reception. Dublin city gave him free admission and entrance to a reception for its Dublin Irish Festival, worth $50. The Columbus housing and addiction treatment nonprofit Alvis Inc. paid his $50 attendance to its luncheon.

Birthdays Friday, Aug. 24: state Rep. Nino Vitale

Saturday, Aug. 25: Secretary of State Jon Husted

Sunday, Aug. 26: state Sen. Frank Hoagland and state Rep. Scott Wiggam

Straight From The Source

″.@Jim_Jordan was my favorite Congressman before it was cool.”

-State Rep. Christina Hagan, who was among 15 Republican state lawmakers who signed on to a letter backing U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana to become speaker of the House next year.

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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