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Ohio Gov. DeWine orders state lawmakers back for special session | Reporters Roundtable

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is ordering state lawmakers to return to Columbus after the Memorial Day holiday to pass legislation that will ensure President Joe Biden is on the ballot in November. DeWine has set a special session for Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

A state law that requires a presidential candidate be certified for the ballot 90-days prior to election is creating a hurdle for Biden. This year the deadline falls on August 7—two weeks before the Democrats open their nominating convention in Chicago. Earlier this week, House Speaker Jason Stephens said the fix wasn't happening.

The governor wants lawmakers to vote on two other, much more contentious, measures that have been stuck in intraparty Republican gridlock. One that would make it easier to challenge local judges who block state laws and another forbidding foreign contributions to state ballot issue campaigns. Democrats oppose both measures.

The Republican-majority Ohio Supreme Court turned down a request to allow House Bill 68 to go into effect . The bill bans gender-affirming health care for trans youth and prohibits trans athletes in girls and women sports. The decision means House Bill 68 remains sidelined while its constitutionality is challenged in court. But nuances within the decision have raised questions about whether local county judges can pause a statewide law for all of Ohio.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb outlined his summer safety plan this week promising an "all-of-government" approach. The arrival of summer typically brings a spike in violent crime. Last May the city encountered a dramatic increase in homicide rates. So far this year, however, crime rates are lower.

The Akron Board of Education signed off this week on a budget reduction plan that will cut 285 positions from the public school district. That number includes the loss of 52 teachers. Akron is facing a budget deficit and is looking to "right-size" the district due to a decline in enrollment.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will ask voters in November to approve a combined levy and bond issue. The district is facing down a looming budget deficit and has already made millions of dollars in cuts.

Norfolk Southern will settle a lawsuitfiled by the Department of Justice in the East Palestine train derailment for $310 million. That amount includes a $15 million civil penalty. The train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in February 2023 in the Columbiana County village leading to evacuations and concerns over lingering health impacts.

We will discuss these stories and more of the week’s news on the “Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.”

-Matthew Richmond, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Abigail Bottar, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV


Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."