The GOP banned foreign cash in ballot campaigns. Could it have unintended effects?: Capitol Letter

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webnexttech | The GOP banned foreign cash in ballot campaigns. Could it have unintended effects?: Capitol Letter
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Rotunda Rumblings Foreign concept: Andrew Tobias and Jeremy Pelzer take a closer look at House Bill 1, the law expanding Ohio’s ban on political contributions by foreign nationals, and what it may mean for the November election and beyond. While it remains to be seen whether the law will achieve Republicans’ main goal – preventing the liberal Sixteen Thirty Fund from writing more seven-figure checks to Ohio ballot issues – groups in and out of the state say they’re studying it to see what it means for them. Cashing out? The state of Ohio has been flush with money for the past three years, thanks to unexpectedly high tax revenue and billions in federal coronavirus funding. But as Pelzer reports, the party may soon be over, as COVID aid dwindles and tax revenues this fiscal year are hundreds of millions of dollars less than anticipated. While state finances are still in decent shape now, state officials and analysts expect that lawmakers will have some tough decisions to make during next year’s budget process about a number of expensive policy proposals, including fully funding K-12 schools, abolishing the state income tax, and addressing the state’s childcare crisis. If weed puns are a sin, I’ll see you inhale: After months of Ohioans waiting, the Ohio Division of Cannabis Control on Friday morning released applications for medical businesses to enter the recreational space. Two applications were released: One for medical licensees to become dual-use growers, processors or dispensaries serving also adult-use customers, and the industry-exclusive “10(B)” dispensary licenses that the marijuana industry, which wrote and funded the campaign to pass rec, wrote into the initiated statute to give itself. The division has until Sept. 7 to approve or deny the applications, Laura Hancock reports. Half a billion: By the end of this year, Ohioans will have paid an estimated nearly $500 million to bail out two coal plants since 2020, Jake Zuckerman reports. The bailouts were enshrined in state law by House Bill 6, the legislation at the center of four criminal convictions stemming from two bribery plots, plus an array of additional indictments and regulatory action. Better know your district: The League of Women Voters held a news conference Friday highlighting what they described as the effects of gerrymandering by Statehouse Republicans in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, ahead of Tuesday’s election when voters will decide who the district’s next representative will be. David Niven, a University of Cincinnati political scientist, said Republicans for political reasons included parts of Massillon and Youngstown, among other Northeast Ohio communities, with dissimilar cities like Marietta and Steubenville, to form a more solidly red district at the expense of convenient and unified representation for the district’s voters. Dialing in: Bernie Moreno, the Republican Senate candidate, once took credit for helping spur AT&T to offer 5G cellular data service in Cleveland, due to a community initiative he led to try to make the city a center for blockchain research. But Nick Evans writes for the Ohio Capital Journal that the company’s 5G Cleveland project predated Moreno’s Blockland project, and that Moreno’s initiative if anything served to pressure local officials to approve the company’s pre-existing plans. The Moreno campaign said in a statement Moreno’s efforts “undoubtedly helped AT&T decide to bring 5G to Cleveland.” Legal limbo: Voters in 13 states could soon weigh in on abortion rights, but in Ohio – where voters enshrined reproductive rights in the state’s constitution last year – little has changed, Bram Sable-Smith writes for Kaiser Health News. The 24-hour waiting period and other restrictions dating back to the 1980s remain in place, as court challenges to the laws have moved slowly. Big ticket: The Fraternal Order of Police support a bill that would outlaw monthly ticket quotas for law enforcement, Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports. While many police officials deny there are targets officers have to hit, the public is skeptical. House Bill 333 would put the issue to rest. Upside-down flag: The flipped American flag – which many conservatives flew after Donald Trump’s conviction, and which was flown at the home of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito – has some roots in Ohio. It originally was flown by sailors in distress, as a fast way to let other ships know they needed help. More recently, it’s become political, including after the Kent State University shooting by Ohio national guardsmen. In 1974, a student flew an upside-down flag with a peace sign attached, in protest of the Kent State killings, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled he had the right to do so, NPR’s Emma Bowman reports. Immunosuppressant: Republicans for the Rule of Law, a center-right, anti-Trump nonprofit group, has bought about $100,000 worth of digital and streaming ads criticizing Trump’s claim to the U.S. Supreme Court that he’s immune from prosecution for election interference in Georgia, according to group spokesman Tony Franquiz. The ads, which will run through June 23, are part of a larger 12-state, $2 million ad campaign. Lobbying Lineup Five organizations lobbying on Senate Bill 48, which would reduce the state’s tax for diesel and other non-gasoline products from 47 cents a gallon to 38.5 cents, the current tax for gas. The bill has only had one hearing since introduced on Feb. 7, 2023. 1. ChargePoint Inc. 2. Marathon Petroleum and its subsidiaries and affiliates 3. Butler County Transportation Improvement District 4. American Petroleum Institute 5. Ohio Contractors Association On The Move Tyler Buchanan is a new Axios Local Midwest editor, overseeing Cleveland and Columbus. Birthdays Dakota Bidgood, legislative aide to state Rep. Phil Robinson Dan Foley, manager, Great Miami Riverway Straight From The Source “Imagine each day and sleepless night, facing the prospect of being arrested and prosecuted for something that you didn’t do, and of being hauled into federal court to answer charges in an indictment headed “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. [YOUR NAME].” -Columbus attorney David Axelrod, in an opinion column in the Columbus Dispatch. Axelrod represented former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger during an FBI investigation into whether the Republican delayed passage of a payday lending reform bill as the industry offered him and other politicians a trip to London. Rosenberger resigned from the Ohio House when he learned of the investigation. The FBI cleared him without charges in late May. Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. Subscribe to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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