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What will Derek Merrin be like as the new Ohio House Speaker?: Capitol Letter

Rotunda rumble

There’s something about Merrin: Many around Capitol Square were surprised last week when Ohio House Republicans voted for State Representative Derek Merrin to be Speaker of the House in the next session. Jeremy Pelzer has more on Merrin’s background and why the Toledo-area Republican’s election could make the GOP-dominated legislature even more conservative.

Minuteman: 76-year-old Marcy Kaptur of Ohio will become the longest-serving woman in Congressional history after winning re-election this year in a new constituency favored by Republicans. Sabrina Eaton reports that the Toledo Democrat was first elected in 1982, some 65 years after women first entered Congress and at a time when more women were entering the workforce.

Clear as mud: On Wednesday, the state, which is defending Gov. Mike DeWine’s suspension of $300 a week in pandemic jobless payments in 2021, asked the Ohio Supreme Court to clarify a decision made the previous day. The court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal as moot in a case challenging DeWine’s decision, but it was not clear who prevailed as the state and an attorney representing the defendants both claimed victory. Unemployed Ohioans have argued that DeWine did not have the authority to refuse the money from Congress, and the state believes the governor had the legal right to do so.

insurance info: As of Nov. 1, 57,660 Ohioans have selected insurance plans on HealthCare.Gov, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This figure applies to both people renewing coverage from last year and new people selecting plans. The insurance exchange was created in the Affordable Care Act and is available to the self-employed and others who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance or government plans such as Medicare. Registration lasts until January 15th, but if people want coverage from January 1st, they need to register by December 15th. Last year, 259,999 Ohioans signed up for private plans through the exchange.

To move fast: The Columbus City Council intends to vote next month on measures that would ban ordinary citizens from owning large-caliber ammunition magazines, ban the sale of “straw man” guns (where people legally buy guns for those who can’t), and keep firearms safe demand if minors could be in danger of accessing it, said Cole Behrens of the Columbus Dispatch. The proposed rules come in response to a court order for the city to freeze state laws prohibiting cities from enacting their own gun control ordinances. Several Columbus residents and gun violence survivors spoke out in support of gun legislation during Tuesday’s city council meeting; Council members also received some written statements from opponents.

Legal Liability: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Wednesday that a doctor’s employer cannot be held liable if the doctor himself cannot be held liable, according to Court News Ohio. The ruling concerned a Montgomery County chiropractic practice where a patient alleged that her breast implant had ruptured during a visit. The patient sued the doctor and the office, but the lawsuit against the doctor who relocated to Florida was dropped because the lawsuit could not be served on him in a timely manner. The court also dismissed the lawsuit against the practice, but the patient appealed the decision, which eventually reached the state supreme court.

sauce train? Cincinnati city officials are looking to sell the Cincinnati Southern Railway, the nation’s only urban interstate railroad, to Norfolk Southern for $1.6 billion. As reported by WCPO-TV’s Felicia Jordan, the money would be put into an investment fund whose annual income would be used to maintain the infrastructure. The sale of the 337-mile railroad cannot go ahead until city voters approve it (it will likely be up for a vote in November 2023), federal agencies approve the sale, and state laws are changed to allow the money for other things used as debt settlement.

holiday break: Ohio Capitol Letter will be taking a breather for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will not publish a newsletter on Friday November 25th and Monday November 28th. We’ll be back in your inboxes on Tuesday, November 29th.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from the August 15, 2022 financial disclosure form filed by State Assemblywoman-elect Melanie Miller, an Ashland Republican:

1. Miller is the executive director of the Ashland Pregnancy Care Center, a crisis pregnancy center.

2. Miller also serves on the board of directors of America’s Hope, on the advisory board of The Salvation Army Kroc Center, on the board of directors of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and as secretary of the Ashland County Ministerial Association.

3. Her only publicly traded investment in 2021 was a retirement account with Charles Schwab.

4. Sometime in the past year, she owed at least $1,000 to Union Home Mortgage, the TJX Rewards credit card, Huntington Bank, American Express, PayPal, Bank of America, and BMW Bank of America.

5. Miller did not declare any real estate ownership (candidates are not required to declare their personal residence or property used for personal recreation).


Thursday 24.11.: Allen Trimble, 8th and 10th Governors of Ohio (1783-1870)

Friday 25.11.: Ex-MP Marlene Anielski; Sam Creech, Policy Advisor and Project Manager, InnovateOhio; Rachel Ehrlichsman, executive assistant in Gov. Mike DeWine’s office; Rob Richardson, 2018 Democratic nominee for State Treasurer; Myers Y. Cooper, 51st Governor of Ohio (1873-1958)

Saturday 26.11.: ex-stateswoman Heather Bishoff; Ex-Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof

Sunday 27.11.: Taylor Van Kirk, communications director for Senator-elect JD Vance’s 2022 campaign; ex-state senator Joe Uecker; Dan Williamson, Senior Vice President, Paul Werth Associates

Monday 28.11.: George Christy, Legislative Advisor to Rep. Brian Baldridge; Liz Connolly, Assistant Chief of Staff for the Ohio Senate Republicans; ex-Statesman Jonathan Dever; Kylynne Johnson, policy and public affairs contact, Ohio Board of Pharmacy; Christina Polesovsky, Associate Director of API-Ohio

Straight from the source

“Happy Thanksgiving. No politics at the table.”

– The Capitol Letter team

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing that provides concise, timely information for those who care deeply about state government decisions. If you don’t have a subscription yet, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter delivered to your email inbox for free every weekday.