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Ohio officials ask potential coronavirus carriers to self-quarantine: Capitol Letter

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 2/25/2020 By Seth A. Richardson,
a stone building that has a bench in a park: From the south, the Ohio Statehouse is flanked on the left by the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, a high rise that houses the offices of the governor and state representatives. © Laura Hancock/ From the south, the Ohio Statehouse is flanked on the left by the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, a high rise that houses the offices of the governor and state representatives.

Rotunda Rumblings

Grounded: Ohio public health officials have asked roughly 175 people who have arrived from China to self-quarantine for 14 days,’s Laura Hancock reports. Dr. Amy Action, director of the Ohio Department of Health, says the department is also stocking up on protective gear for hospital workers and is preparing to begin its own testing for coronavirus in the state.

Budding campaign: Another attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio is afoot,’s Andrew Tobias reports. A Cleveland attorney who’s also a hemp industry trade official said his group plans to file summary petitions with the state attorney general’s office later this week. That’s the first step in amending the state constitution in a process that eventually will require the group to collect more than 400,000 valid signatures from registered voters before July 1 if it wants to make the November ballot. The group otherwise was tight-lipped about its plans.

It’s pronounced Ne-VAD-uh:’s Seth Richardson spent two years working in Nevada, covering the 2016 election. In his latest piece, he takes a look back at his time there and dissects what the 2020 caucuses mean for Ohio’s upcoming presidential primary.

Strauss test: Lawyers for the former Ohio State University wrestlers who said Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused them wrote a letter to a federal judge on Monday saying settlement negotiations had broken down,’s Eric Heisig reports. The lawyers said the university had “not participated in the mediation process in good faith.”

Who’s the boss: Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Clyde and state Rep. Tavia Galonski would join his team as senior advisers, Richardson reports. The three politicos will focus on creating a landing pad for Biden in the run-up to the March 17 primary.

Foul on the play: A bill in the Ohio House would make it a crime to assault a referee in retaliation for their on-court decision, the Associated Press reports. Those found guilty would be convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor and have a minimum $1,500 fine and 40 hours community service.

Census Q&A: Census 2020 forms will hit the mail in a couple of weeks. The census effort from planning through tabulation costs $15.6 billion, nearly $50 a person. It’s happened every 10 years since 1790. So what’s the biggest concern for census Director Steven Dillingham? Not the old controversy about the citizenship question, it’s the possibility of a surprise getting in the way of the counting. Dillingham sat down with’s census reporter Rich Exner for a Q&A on multiple topics.

#NoFilter: Former Republican Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger loved to travel during his time in office, so much so the FBI launched an investigation looking into it, among other things. Well, as the Dayton Daily News’ Laura Bischoff reports, Rosenberger is continuing to sate his wanderlust as a private citizen, with pictures posted to the (now private) Instagram account “theatlasdrifter,” even as the FBI investigation continues.

Kaptur the flag: Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat, is making another bid to lead the powerful House Appropriations Committee, but the long-tenured lawmaker is facing challenges from members of Congress who may have more support, Politico’s Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle report. Kaptur has already been passed over for the post once, with Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut considered the favorite but Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida – and DNC infamy – launching a “long-shot bid.”

Have Marcy: Before Kaptur can make her bid for the Appropriations Committee, she first has to win re-election (in her district gerrymandered in her favor). The heavy favorite has a Democratic opponent in the primary, and four Republicans are competing for the right to face her In November, per’s Sabrina Eaton.

All about Steve: Two women are vying for a shot at taking on Cincinnati GOP Rep. Steve Chabot this time around in a seat oft-contested – though rarely competitive – by Democrats, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman reports (hard paywall). Both candidates are focusing their ire more on Chabot than Trump, Wartman writes.

Old town erode: Abnormally high water levels in Lake Erie are significantly speeding up the coastline erosion process.’s Laura Johnston details what Ohio officials are doing to combat the problem.

Where credit is due: Attorney General Dave Yost told reporters on Monday that a third of all state business tax credit and developmental loan recipients aren’t complying with the deals they made with the state, the Toledo Blade’s Jim Provance reports. Yost criticized the Developmental Services Agency for modifying the agreements after the fact to make it look like more businesses are following the rules.

In your honor: U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman introduced a resolution honoring federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Nathaniel Jones, who died in January at age 93. Jones, a Youngstown native, was the first African American federal appeals judge in Ohio and the first African American assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District.

HRC roundup: The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights organization, announced it was endorsing all of Ohio’s incumbent Democratic members of Congress for the 2020 election. HRC did not list any endorsements for non-incumbent Democrats in the primary.

Lobbying Lineup

Five organizations that have lobbied on Ohio House 94, which would ban taking oil or natural gas from the bed of Lake Erie. State lobbying filings don’t indicate which side a lobbyist is on.

1. American Petroleum Institute

2. Exxon Mobil Corporation

3. Ohio Chemistry Technology Council

4. Marathon Petroleum

5. Ohio Coal Association


Ex-Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton

Straight from the Source

“Grown-ups don’t understand what it feels like. Even when they tell me it’s a drill, I still have to hide, so I don’t believe them.”

-A North Avondale 7-year-old student, as recounted through her mother to the Cincinnati Enquirer (hard paywall) on how she felt having to go through active shooter drills. The child has gone through months of therapy and had nightmares about the drills.

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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