News and Notes: Ohio
Cross-posted at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog:
It's Friday before a holiday in the Buckeye State - what's going on?
Strickland, Brown, and Brunner to Return Donations Related to Hsu - Joining a national wave of Democratic candidates, Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) are all giving to charity the amounts of contributions received from New-York-based donor Norman Hsu (or, in Brown's case, individuals connected to him). Hsu is the subject of a 1991 warrant in California arising out of a fraud case, and is suspected of improprieties in bundling contributions purportedly from others.
Death of Two Prominent Ohio Democrats Mourned - Charlie Vanik, an outspoken liberal and 26-year member of Congress from Cleveland, died Wednesday in Florida, and Joe Shump, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party for a quarter-century ending in 1994, died Wednesday at Kettering Memorial Hospital.
Smith Promotes "Second Chance" Bill - State Sen. Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) held a forum yesterday to promote S.B. 197, her proposal to allow low-level repeat felons who have stayed out of trouble for five years to have their records sealed or expunged in order to help them find employment. Smith's proposal has gained national attention, not all of it favorable. Critics assert that multiple offenders don't deserve another chance, that employers are entitled to know the record of people they hire, and that there may be liability issues if such an employee commits another crime. However, there is broad support for the proposal among inner city residents and from those working in corrections and re-entry. Also supporting the bill is Sen. Jon Peterson (R-Delaware), who said "This bill is about redemption. There is a reason we call is the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections -- there's a redemptive quality to it, and we should be able to move forward."
Strickland Renews Vow to Reform Ohio Education System - On a visit to Kent State University to discuss Ohio's troubled education system, Gov. Strickland said "I'm owning this problem." He restated his pledge to reform Ohio schools and provide adequate, equitable funding. To date his focus has been higher education rather than elementary and secondary education, including naming former State Sen. Eric Fingerhut to the new position of chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, creating The University System of Ohio to foster collaboration and cooperation among public institutions of higher learning, and increasing funding to such institutions while restricting tuition increases.