Use it or lose it: Of 4.6 million first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine allocated to Ohio, 4,214 were deemed unusable, Laura Hancock reports. Doses become unusable if they expire due to no one getting a shot, if temperatures are not at the proper levels or if vials are broken or damaged.
Increasing cases: With the sharp winter decline in Ohio coronavirus cases over, there has been a spring uptick – with newly reported cases up about 10% in the last week. Vaccinations, meanwhile, have sharply increased with 35% of the state’s 16 and older population now having received at least one shot, reports Rich Exner in his weekly data dive into the latest coronavirus trends.
20,000 extra deaths: With the last of the death reports from 2020 still trickling in, the state is now reporting that at least 143,558 Ohioans died last year from all causes amid the coronavirus. That’s an increase of nearly 20,000 deaths, or 16%, from the year before, Exner reports. The biggest change was with the number of natural deaths. They were up by about 18,000.
Sick notes: 1,497 new Ohio coronavirus cases were reported Monday, which is below the 21-day average of 1,590 cases. The test positivity rate has gone up to a seven-day average of 4%. This time last week it was 3%, Hancock reports.
Rental assistance: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended an eviction moratorium on tenants who haven’t been able to pay their rent because of the coronavirus pandemic, Eric Heisig reports. The moratorium is slated to last for three months, though could be upended by court challenges, including one this month from U.S. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese in Cleveland, who ruled the CDC lacked constitutional authority to implement it.
Toppling Trump: Now that former President Donald Trump is out of office, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is using his chairmanship of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees the banking system to overturn regulations the Trump administration passed in its waning days that he views as anti-consumer, Sabrina Eaton writes. Brown is using a 1996 law called the “Congressional Review Act” in a bid to repeal a rule he says allows predatory lenders to skirt state laws that curb interest rates and a second rule that affects how shareholders can present proposals at corporate meetings.
Made in America: Joe Biden’s White House will get a “Chief Manufacturing Officer” if Ohio Congress members Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan and Rob Portman get their way, Eaton reports. On Monday, the three Ohioans teamed up with a bipartisan group of legislators in both Houses of Congress to introduce legislation that would create the new White House post, as well as a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy (OMII) to help strengthen America’s manufacturing industry and workforce.
In our House: Anywhere from 11% to 37% of elected state lawmakers do not plan to get the coronavirus vaccine, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jackie Borchardt and Jessie Balmert report. Of the 89 Republicans surveyed by the Enquirer, 41 said they were either getting or had already gotten the shot, while 8 said they weren’t going to get it and 6 were undecided. The rest did not respond. State Sen. Sandra Williams was the only Democrat who said she wasn’t sure if she’d get the vaccine.
Doubling down: Lt. Gov. Jon Husted used a radio interview on Monday to talk more about his tweet on Friday in which he referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan Virus,” prompting backlash from Asian-American groups and others. As Andrew Tobias reports, Husted said he intended for his 10-word tweet to criticize the Chinese government, and accused those who criticized him of trying to “manipulate the situation.” Advocacy groups have said the term encourages bigotry amid a backdrop of rising prejudice and violence against Asian-Americans.
Mike check: Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican, is jumping into the list of maybe candidates for the 2022 Senate race, launching a will-he-or-won’t-he video on Monday highlighting his background and career. Yes, that includes his past paying for college as a second-degree black belt in taekwondo.
Off with his head: Also appearing in Turner’s non-announcement announcement video was Dave Burrows, a former Fuyao vice president. As ProgressOhio’s Michael McGovern noted, Burrows – who was featured in the documentary “American Factory” – said: “I’m going to have to kill a senator. I’m going to take these big scissors and cut off Sen. Brown’s head.”
Out and about: Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a Cincinnati Republican, said he would not run for Senate, Borchardt writes. Meanwhile, Wenstrup, a podiatrist who served as a combat surgeon in the Iraq War, got some hands-on experience with the coronavirus vaccine on Sunday administering shots of the coronavirus vaccine to try and communicate to his voters – many of whom are reluctant — to get the vaccine, per the Associated Press’ Dan Sewell.
Walk the line: Rep. Tim Ryan, a Niles Democrat, is keenly aware of how his survival in the U.S. House of Representatives might be tenuous given the Republican-controlled legislature will be redrawing the maps this year, Politico’s Sarah Ferris, Ally Mutnick and James Arkin report. That, in no small part, is contributing to his expected decision to run for Senate in 2022.
Small screen: Former Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican running for Senate, is up with a small ad buy of $27,000, per Medium Buying. The tone of Mandel’s ad is quite difference from the false bravado and anti-Muslim rhetoric on his Twitter, recounting his grandmother surviving the Holocaust thanks to Christians.
Drive train: Shontel Brown, the Cuyahoga County Councilwoman and chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party running for the vacant 11th Congressional District seat, got the backing of the United Auto Workers Region 2B, a good bump for her bid to succeed U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge. UAW has 2,800 members in the district.
Capitol riot: Caleb Jones, a 23-year-old Columbus man, was arrested for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Columbus Dispatch’s Marc Kovac reports. Jones is accused of climbing a wall to storm the Capitol. He was released following an initial appearance on Monday.
Sold: The state closed on a sale Monday of the six-story building at 145 S. Front St. in Columbus to the Columbus Partnership for $3 million. The building, built in 1963, hasn’t been occupied for 13 years because the state’s real estate needs have changed, according to a statement by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, but will likely be redeveloped because of its location along the Scioto Mile. The sale had to be cleared by the legislature and U.S. Department of Labor.
Standing room only: A federal appeals court ruled that a Shawnee State University professor can sue the university over its decision to discipline him for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a transgender student, CNN’s Taylor Romine reports. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor, was punished by the university after repeatedly denying a student’s request to use their preferred pronouns. Meriwether sued, but a district court previously said he had no standing. The appeals decision revives the case.
Five things we learned from the Feb. 18, 2020 financial disclosure form of state Rep. Tom Patton, a Strongsville Republican.
1. Aside from his legislative salary of $69,052.84, Patton reported income of $10,000 to $24,999 as president of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 756 and as a consultant for Amazing Tickets, and $50,000 to $99,999 as a consultant for Blue Technologies.
2. Patton’s investments include a retirement fund through the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, a pension plan through American Funds, insurance through Columbus Life, Wilco Life, Guardian Life, Minnesota Life and TransAmerica Life, an IRA, Roth IRA, savings and pension plan through LPL Financial, a 401K from Blue Technologies, and savings with Community United Credit Union.
3. Patton received $3,538.08 in mileage reimbursement from the state as well as $133.40 in travel expenses from the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee.
4. The Ohio Dermatological Association gave Patton a gift worth more than $75.
5. OHROC and the House Republican Campaign Committee gave Patton meals, food and beverages worth more than $100.
State Rep. Scott Lipps
“I can say I’m the best Trivial Pursuit question in the state of Ohio.”
-Former Gov. Nancy Hollister quoted in the Columbus Dispatch on her brief tenure as the top official in Ohio. Hollister, the only woman to hold the spot, was governor for 11 days starting Dec. 31, 1998, from former Gov. George Voinovich’s exit to become a U.S. senator to former Gov. Bob Taft’s swearing in.
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