Ohio senators further process to name Dayton federal building for Rice

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 4:06 PM


            U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice
U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice

Ohio’s United States senators on Tuesday introduced legislation to rename Dayton’s federal building and courthouse for U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) put forth a companion version of a House of Representatives bill brought by U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH-10).

PREVIOUSLY: Judge Rice ‘incredibly honored’ federal building will be named for him

“Judge Rice has spent his career in service to Montgomery County, and it is fitting that the Dayton courthouse, where he has devoted nearly four decades of his life, bears his name,” Brown said in a joint press release from the senators’ offices. “I join Sen. Portman and Rep. Turner in gratitude for Judge Rice’s service to the Dayton community as we work together to honor his legacy.”

President Carter appointed Judge Rice to the district court bench in 1980. Judge Rice served as Chief Judge of the court from 1996 until 2003. Before that, he was an assistant county prosecutor, a municipal court judge and a common pleas court judge.

RELATED: Dayton federal building to be named for Judge Rice

“For more than four decades, Judge Rice has been a tireless advocate for justice, the people of Dayton, and the state of Ohio,” Portman said. “This is a fitting tribute to his life’s work, and I join Senator Brown and Rep. Turner in thanking him for his service.”

“Judge Rice has dedicated his entire career to serving justice in Dayton honorably,” Turner said. “Unanimously, our community panel recommended that the federal building be named after Judge Rice. I appreciate Senators Brown and Portman introducing companion legislation to my bill in the House to name this building after Judge Rice.”

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In December, Rice told this news organization he plans to continue working.

“This does not mean retirement, and I hope to remain doing what I’m doing for many years,” Rice said. “But anytime that someplace where you’ve worked for 38 years might bear your name is a flattering deal beyond any ability to describe.”

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Election 2018: Congressional redistricting plan makes May ballot

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:05 AM


            U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol

A proposal restructuring Ohio’s process for drawing its congressional maps is headed to May’s ballot.

The Ohio Ballot Board cleared the proposed constitutional amendment on redistricting Tuesday.

The proposal cleared the state Legislature with bipartisan support Feb. 6 after backers of competing proposals agreed to a compromise aimed at curbing gerrymandering.

RELATED: Ohio Senate passes major changes to congressional redistricting

That process of manipulating district boundaries for partisan gain is seen as a cause of partisanship, gridlock and incivility in Washington.

The Ohio plan would limit how counties are split into multiple districts and require more support from the minority party to put a 10-year map in place.

RELATED: Democrats reject GOP plan on redistricting

If lawmakers couldn’t reach such agreement, the map-making process would move to an existing bipartisan commission. If that failed, the majority party could make a shorter-term map under more restrictions.

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Trump action on guns: Brown, Kasich, Ohio leaders react

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:43 PM

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown called President Donald Trump’s effort Tuesday to ban devices that convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic guns “long overdue,” but said “more has to be done to protect Americans” against the growing number of mass shootings in schools.

Brown, D-Ohio, said “weapons of war do not belong on our streets,” and called for a ban on what is known as the gun show loophole which critics charge allow people to buy guns at a show without rigorous background checks.

Brown insisted he “respects” the rights of hunters and collectors and “no one intends to take away their guns. But when our children are not safe in their schools, it’s clear more has to be done to protect Americans against gun violence.”

By contrast, Rep. Steve Stivers of Upper Arlington, who heads the House Republican re-election campaign, voiced “support” for Trump’s decision, adding modifications such as bump stocks “only serve to spread shots in as wide of range and as quickly as possible, providing no legitimate sporting use and have no place in our communities.”

Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, offered a more cautious approach. Kevin Smith said “Rob supports” the review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms “and he looks forward to their decision.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted Tuesday: “Let’s give credit where credit is due. This is absolutely the right thing to do, and hopefully more will follow.”

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Ohio Secretary of State race to get national attention as 2020 looms

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:28 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

Kathleen Clyde and Frank LaRose
Kathleen Clyde and Frank LaRose

With Republicans holding two-thirds of secretary of state offices including Ohio, Democrats are focusing renewed attention and money on a statewide post once considered a sleepy political stepping stone, acknowledging they’re playing catch-up with the GOP.

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State has been motivated by what it considers efforts by some GOP secretaries to limit voter participation and unfairly pare voter rolls — allegations the GOP denies. The organization plans to raise money and provide guidance to a handful of candidates in 2018, likely in populous states that could prove important in the 2020 presidential election.

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“We’re looking around to see where we have viable candidates and where the registration will be favorable, probably in swing states, places where until recently they did have a Democratic secretary of state, where legislation has been passed that would be what we consider oppressive,” said Denise Merrill, the Connecticut secretary of state and the chairwoman of the Democratic secretaries of state association.

The Democrats will start out relatively small in this year’s election, hoping to amass about $1 million, Merrill said. The association is considering targeting races in Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico and other states with open seats or Democrats seeking re-election.

Republicans, meanwhile, are looking to hold or win secretary of state seats in places like Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Alaska.

Republican and Democratic secretaries alike have voiced concerns about Russian influence on the 2016 elections and demands for voter information from Republican President Donald Trump’s now-disbanded election fraud commission. But a battle has developed in some states over voter fraud, voter identification requirements and purging of voter rolls.

Secretaries of state, which function as a state’s top election official, burst into public consciousness on a grand scale when the disputed 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore orbited around Florida’s Katherine Harris.

“People woke up and realized that there’s a lot of power in the secretary of state’s office, electoral power,” said Merrill, who has been traveling the country to raise money from donors, including wealthy Democrats and labor unions. She credited Republicans with making a targeted approach about a decade ago, pumping millions of dollars into secretary of state races in key states.

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“It made a huge difference, and suddenly there was a swing of 10 seats in 2010 alone,” Merrill said. “It happened fairly quickly. But I think it can be reversed to some extent, because we are now paying attention.”

Ohio is pivotal

Depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules, the next secretary of state in Ohio, always pivotal in presidential elections, could decide whether to continue pruning voter rolls by targeting people who haven’t voted in a while.

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, the Democratic secretary of state candidate here, is running for an open seat against Republican state Sen. Frank LaRose. If the Supreme Court upholds pruning, which proponents argue is needed to prevent fraud, Clyde has vowed to stop it, maintaining voters’ names have been illegally removed.

She has already been endorsed by national groups such as Emily’s List, which works to elect Democratic women. She predicts it will be a multimillion-dollar race that attracts a lot of outside money.

Big money

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which focuses on state races and oversees the Republican Secretaries of State Committee, spent nearly $30 million in 2010 on state races, including secretaries of state, records show.

A “battle of ideologies” has been happening for a while concerning the integrity of elections, said Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.

There has been “a concerted effort by liberal and progressive interests to have a dialogue about election procedures,” he said, mentioning groups like iVote.

On its website, iVote said it first “went on offense by working to elect pro-voting secretaries of state in key battleground states” in 2014, noting it supports candidates that “encourage participation by expanding access for eligible voters.”

But accusations that Republican secretaries of state are trying to suppress voter turnout, especially among minority groups, to ultimately benefit GOP candidates “sound like the crocodile tears of people who failed to run good candidate who had good visions for their states,” Walter said.

He insisted GOP candidates want to make it “easier to vote and harder to cheat” by taking steps such as removing outdated information from voter lists.

“When you clean those things up,” he said, “you remove the possibility for people who are attempting to intrude into the voting process, and you also remove innocent errors.”

By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

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Mike Turner wants groomsman, fellow congressman deposed in divorce hearings

Published: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 10:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner files for divorce

Dayton Congressman Mike Turner wants California Congressman Darrell Issa deposed in his divorce proceedings, according to POLITICO.

Turner filed for divorce from his wife Majida Mourad after a year and a half of marriage.

Issa was a groomsman at the wedding in Dayton in 2015.

POLITICO says Turner gave Issa a letter in the Capitol last week asking him to give a deposition, according to unnamed sources.

We have reached out to Congressman Turner’s office for a response.

YOU CAN READ THE FULL POLITICO STORY HERE

Mourad’s attorney, Sanford Ain, said in a statement to POLITICO Monday that Turner “may have” told “third parties” that she was unfaithful, “thinking it would advantage him in the divorce.” But any claim of infidelity by Mourad “has no basis in fact,” Ain said.

Darrell Issa and Mike Turner. Ap Photo by J Scott Applewhite

“Because it has been raised, Ms. Mourad was never unfaithful to Congressman Turner during the marriage, before or after Congressman Turner filed for divorce. Any allegation of her being unfaithful to Congressman Turner is simply false and defamatory,” Ain said.

POLITICO reports that Mourad and Issa have been friends for 20 years, but there is nothing more to their relationship, according a a source close to Mourad.

“There is no truth whatsoever to these allegations,” Issa said in a statement.

RELATED: 5 things to know about Congressman Mike Turner’s soon-to-be-ex-wife

Turner filed for divorce in May and asked that Mourad be restrained from taking any of their assets, according to a divorce filing made in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Congressman Mike Turner(Associated Press)

RELATED: Turner says fiancee’s business dealings pose no conflict

“Ms. Turner is guilty of a fraudulent contract,” according to the filing, which does not elaborate on what that means.

Mourad was a registered lobbyist for the liquid natural gas export company Cheniere Energy Inc.

RELATED: Mike Turner files for divorce

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