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Government & Politics
2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Kasich Defends School Cuts, Endorses Mary Taylor, Agrees with President Trump on Sanctuary Cities

John Kasich

There were a lot of topics covered by Gov. John Kasich in a speech to a group of newspaper executives and editors today. He focused mostly on his budget, but also some other hot topics including whom he wants to see replace him in 2018. 

Kasich was asked how half of Ohio’s school districts -- which would lose money under his two-year budget -- should handle those cuts. He said for a specific district, he would want to know if the district was losing students. If so, he said, it probably should get less money from the state, and turn to local funding sources.

“Why don’t they put a levy on? Because if they put a levy on, guess how much of the money goes into the schools? 100 percent. So that’s the most efficient way. Now, I don’t know what their circumstance is.”

Kasich said he’d like to see districts with high incomes and rising property values get less state funding, an idea he hinted was rejected by state lawmakers.

Sanctuary Cities
Republican and Democratic state lawmakers are working up dueling bills on sanctuary cities – communities that say they’ll shield undocumented immigrants from prosecution that are based on their immigration status. Kasich, who has parted with President Trump on other issues, agreed with him on this one.

Kasich on sanctuary cities

“I think the president is right on this and I think this is a bad, bad thing. When people break the law, they need to be held accountable for something like coming in here illegally or – no, I don’t believe in sanctuary cities.”

Cincinnati and Columbus recently passed sanctuary cities  legislation – Oberlin, Lorain and Dayton also have similar measures. A Republican-sponsored bill would ban sanctuary cities and make local officials criminally liable for crimes committed by imigrants. A Democratic-backed bill would specifically permit cities to pass such legislation.

Weighing in on the Pastor Protection Act
A bill on religious freedom -- which some see as a swipe at the LGBTQ community --  was introduced in the Ohio Statehouse last year and has returned. The so-called “Pastor Protection Act” got its first hearing Wednesday, the day after it was introduced. 

Kasich on Pastor Protection Act

Kasich, who doesn’t usually comment on pending legislation, said if it simply guarantees a clergy member can refuse to perform a marriage, he’s OK with that.

“I have to see what the bill does. But I don’t think it’s going to be some sweeping Indiana or North Carolina bill is my understanding.”

Civil rights groups say the bill is unnecessary because no clergy members have been forced to perform marriages outside their beliefs. Similar proposals passed in other states have been rejected because of threats of boycotts by businesses.

Kasich's eyes his replacement for next year
Kasich acknowledged he does have a preference among the Republicans who’ve expressed an interest in running for governor,  in 2018 though he said in the presidential race endorsements didn’t mean much.

Kasich backs Taylor for governor

“I’m going to be for Mary Taylor if she runs; I’ve already said that. She’s the lieutenant governor and she has been a good partner, ... But we don’t have any declared candidates, so we’ll see how this all goes.”

There had been reports that Kasich was upset with Taylor for supporting Jane Timken over his choice Matt Borges in last month’s election for state party chair. Taylor has been more coy about her plans than Attorney General Mike DeWine, who's said he is running for governor, and Secretary of State Jon Husted, who's indicated he might. Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci is also reportedly investigating a run.

Kasich is term-limited -- as are all non-judicial state officeholders.