Government & Politics

Political news

a photo of governor Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the state budget 17 days after the constitutionally mandated deadline and 10 hours after a temporary budget expired. And when DeWine signed it, he included 25 vetoes.

a photo of a store selling CBD oils

Most of the attention on lawmakers focused on their approval of a state budget 17 days after the deadline. But they also passed a bill to decriminalize hemp and license its cultivation.

Republican Rep. Kyle Koehler said Ohio is one of a handful of states that hasn’t allowed hemp cultivation. 

“It is imperative that Ohio moves quickly so that our farmers can take advantage of a domestic hemp marketplace and catch up with our neighboring states,” he said.

a photo of Lake Erie shoreline

Now that the budget is signed, Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s already thinking about how to pay for water quality in Lake Erie after that two-year budget cycle ends.

DeWine wanted to front-load funding for clean Lake Erie initiatives by creating the H2Ohio Fund and putting $900 million in for the next decade.

Instead, lawmakers put $172 million in for the next two years. DeWine said he wants to take any surplus funds, which have been going to the state’s rainy day fund, and put those funds towards Lake Erie.

Updated at 10:44 p.m. ET

For the first time, a federal court in Ohio is releasing a trove of data that offers far more detail about the size and scope of the nation's opioid epidemic — and about the role played by drug companies and pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Johnson & Johnson that profited from the rapid growth of prescription opioid sales.

photo of entrance to FirstEnergy Solutions' Perry Nuclear plant

The sweeping energy bill that would save nuclear plants from shutting down while making big cuts to renewable and efficiency policies has stalled. The house speaker says some of the representatives who would’ve voted “yes” on the measure weren’t present, so he put off the vote.

“We had four ‘yes’ votes when the bill left the House that were not here today.”


Finally, Ohio almost has a new two-year operating budget. Lawmakers who failed to meet the constitutional June 30th deadline worked from a temporary budget while deadlocked over tax cuts, education spending and more. But on the last possible day to pass a budget or another extension, lawmakers came together to pass a new $69 billion two-year budget to send to Gov. Mike DeWine. 

Updated at 6:12 p.m. ET

Homeland Security acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan says the U.S. has apprehended more than 800,000 migrants attempting to enter the country since last October, calling the numbers staggering and unprecedented, and that the influx has "challenged and overwhelmed every aspect of our border and immigration enforcement system."

Still, McAleenan said DHS "made significant strides in its effort to secure the border and help and protect migrants in our custody."

photo of Lorain City Schools logo

In the state budget, legislators have agreed to a one year moratorium on state takeovers of failing school districts. That means districts like Dayton and Canton will not be put under the control of academic distress commissions. 

But, it’s not clear yet what that means for three school districts that have been under state control since 2015 when House Bill 70 was approved.

a photo of cleveland st patricks day parade

The two-year operating budget will move next year’s presidential primary to St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Republicans moved it to after March 15 so they could award all delegates to a single candidate. And they did it over the objections of Democrats.

photo of Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown said trusting Facebook with your hard-earned money is delusional.

Facebook is developing a digital currency called Libra. The man in charge of the project is Calibra CEO David Marcus. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Tuesday.

photo of a school hallway

Ohio’s high school graduation requirements are changing, with a new set of recommendations for incoming freshmen made by a group of businesses, a charter schools organization and some public schools. And the law that allows the state to take over academically distressed school districts was put on hold. Both of those provisions are in the new two-year state budget approved by lawmakers.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is tapping into the national organization’s emergency funds to be able to provide birth control and other health care services to low income women. This move allows the organization to comply with a Trump administration order that bans federal dollars from going to clinics that refer clients for abortions. 

Weeks from retirement, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney arrived at a council hearing with his personal attorney and refused to answer almost any questions about the county jail system.

a photo of the budget conference committee

Ohio House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal on a $69 billion two-year spending plan. The plan will be up for a vote Wednesday in the full House and Senate. It comes just in time as the current interim budget expires Wednesday.

A bipartisan committee with representatives and senators hashed out what is expected to be the done deal between the two chambers.

a photo of Senator Rob Portman

Government officials discussed their proposals to relieve crowded border detention facilities.

Senator Rob Portman visited a few of these facilities that hold undocumented immigrants over the weekend. He visited the facilities with Vice President Mike Pence.

Portman said lack of funding is one of the reasons why facilities are crowded with poor conditions. He said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was left out of the emergency border funding earlier this year.

photo of a U.S. border crossing

Immigrants facing final deportation orders in Northeast Ohio were keeping wary watch this weekend. While ICE arrests in major cities never materialized, small immigrant communities remain afraid.

Among the hundreds of thousands of people facing final orders of removal from immigration judges is a 19 year old woman in Northeast Ohio, whom we’re not identifying by name. Her mother brought her from Honduras when she was 13, after she was sexually abused for three years, stabbed and threatened by gangs.

Photo of Senator Sherrod Brown and his wife, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Connie Schultz

Sen. Sherrod Brown said he was denied access to several immigration detention facilities along the border on Sunday.

Brown said Customs and Border Protection agents told him they couldn’t get people to work on Sundays. Brown said he doesn’t buy that.

“I don’t blame the people that were on duty there, they are federal employees that are mostly doing their jobs; I blame the president and the vice-president and the top people at these agencies.”  

Photo of handicap sign
Steve Johnson /

Plans to change the logo the state uses on handicap accessible signs are on hold. The transportation budget that just went into effect requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to use a new logo.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko said the current accessibility logo is of a person sitting in a wheelchair, waiting for someone to push him or her. Ohio lawmakers agreed to switch to a new logo that depicts a more dynamic character. 

a photo of Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine said the state is keeping a close eye on the Cuyahoga County jail system and the problems it has had with inmate deaths and use of force. DeWine added that fixing those problems might require a bigger picture solution.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is ramping up its jail inspection team by adding more inspectors, including a registered nurse.

photo of Elizabeth Perez

The Latina community is preparing for another round of ICE raids this weekend. Raids are expected to happen in large cities like Los Angeles and Houston, but an organization in northeast Ohio said immigrants here are also at risk. Veronica Dahlberg, founder of HOLA Ohio, said ICE rarely will give out all locations of raids, so Latina people should prepare.

A photo of Sen. Dave Burke

It’s almost two weeks into the state’s new budget year, and there’s still no permanent two-year operating budget. Lawmakers from the House and Senate are both defending their versions of the budget, which include big tax changes and new programs dealing with the opioid crisis, children’s initiatives and the environment. 

Immigrant communities are bracing for nationwide raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin on Sunday, planning protests and working with legal aid groups to provide advice to those affected.

The raids are expected to target recently arrived migrant families who have already received final orders of removal from an immigration judge.

Some states have been asked to provide photos from driver’s licenses so the feds can use facial recognition software for identification and location purposes.

President Trump is speaking from the White House about his administration's push to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Watch his remarks live.

Sherrod Brown in Cleveland

Senator Sherrod Brown  will visit the U.S.-Mexico Border in El Paso, Texas this Sunday. Brown and other senators have called for an investigation into contractors who are running immigrant detention centers. Brown said they are being paid as much $750 per child, per day, and the conditions are inhumane.

“We want to investigate because we wonder why they are getting paid and why they are doing so little. And what their connection is and are they even qualified to do this,” Brown said.