Mailbag: What’s the cost of sending Highway Patrol to the Texas border?

By: - July 12, 2021 12:50 am

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Welcome back to another installment of the Ohio Capital Journal Mailbag, which rank choice voting has shown is the most-read political column in the state. (Or at least is readers’ third pick.) Let’s get to it:

Got a question about Ohio politics/government? Send them by email to [email protected] or tweet them to @tylerjoelb.

Any new state symbols (cookies, dogs, insects, etc) up for a vote any time soon? 

– @winzigpedia

Answer: You bet your sweet bippy!

Actually, lawmakers are on summer break right now. But hopefully they get to these crucial bills upon returning to Columbus.

In the previous legislative term, state Reps. Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, and Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, sponsored a bill to designate the sugar cookie as Ohio’s official state cookie. 

State Reps. Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati, and Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park.

Their bill received favorable committee testimony from schoolchildren as well as one very enthusiastic resident of Miami County, whose first page of written remarks just included the words “sugar cookie” over and over 14 times.

The committee advanced the bill but it wasn’t taken up for a floor vote. (You wouldn’t believe the clout the snickerdoodle lobby has in this town.)

Undeterred, Miranda and Kelly are back again this year with House Bill 366. The new sugar cookie bill hasn’t received the same bipartisan support in 2021 as it did in 2019. Such is politics.

The full text of HB 366 is short and sweet: “The cookie with the main ingredients of sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and vanilla, commonly known as the sugar cookie, is adopted as the official cookie of the state.”

Besides sugar cookies, there has been a dearth of what I call “designation legislation.” There were plenty of bills like this during the last term, such as attempts to make the monarch butterfly the state butterfly; apple cider as the official state beverage; the All-American Soap Box Derby race as the official gravity racing program; and of course, everyone’s favorite, the dunkleosteus terrelli as the state fossil fish. Well, maybe not everyone’s favorite.

This term, though, it’s been pretty quiet. Maybe with the budget bill done we can move on to more important things. I propose the pothole should be Ohio’s official state driving hazard. Who’s with me?

Why is the Branch Rickey Memorial Highway in Delaware rather than Scioto County?  Aren’t memorial highways usually near a person’s hometown?

– @nzchwest

Answer: Actually, there are stretches of highway in central and southern Ohio dedicated to the baseball legend. The story of Branch Rickey (and how he’s been memorialized) is a fascinating one. I think you’ve given me an idea for the next History Thursday column…

What are the big/important/meaningful changes in the OH budget that just passed?  

– @RobotDevil83

Ohio Senator Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, introduces the Senate’s version of the budget.
Photo courtesy of the Ohio Senate

Answer: I assume you mean besides alcoholic bingo and a geology-themed license plate.

If I had to boil down the massive two-year, $74 billion state budget to some of its most important pieces, I think the main highlights would be:

I’m curious to know how much it’s going to cost to send OSHP to Texas and who’s paying.

– @JackShelley5

Answer: One of those things we know, the other we don’t … yet.

First, some context. Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced a total of 14 troopers and supervisors with the Ohio State Highway Patrol will soon be heading to the southern border.

DeWine said this mission came at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The Patrol officials will be there for two weeks, helping local law enforcement with border surveillance (though they will not be making any arrests).

As for who is paying: You and I are. 

The mission is being paid for using state funds from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Patrol. Our tax dollars are going toward sending them to the border.

This differs from the larger deployment of 185 Ohio National Guard troops to the border; this mission is paid for by federal dollars. 

How much will the Patrol mission cost? 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced plans to send 14 members of the State Highway Patrol to the Texas border. Photo a screenshot from the Ohio Channel.

“The Patrol will not know the exact cost until after the detail is complete,” an agency spokesperson told me.

This is a bit curious, as the department already knows exactly how many people are going and exactly how long they’ll be there. Us taxpayers footing the bill won’t know the cost until they return, it seems.

Got a question about Ohio politics/government? Send them by email to [email protected] or tweet them to @tylerjoelb.

Here are some important and interesting Ohio Capital Journal articles you may have missed:

Misinformation thrives at Spanish-speaking vaccination site; health workers are fighting back – Reporter Jake Zuckerman traveled to a vaccine distribution clinic in Lorain County to learn how health workers there are battling the spread of vaccine misinformation.

Wealthy state lawmakers to gain from income tax cuts in budgetThe average Ohioan will save about $75 per year from the new income tax cut in the state budget, while rich lawmakers who approved the tax cut will save thousands, reporters Nolan Simmons and Jake Zuckerman write.

Attempts to reform drug middlemen surge in nearly every state – Ohio is among the many states trying to change the way pharmacy benefit managers do business, Marty Schladen reports.

Ohio ballots will list party affiliations for top judicial candidates – My story notes a change that may have big implications on the leaning of the Ohio Supreme Court for years to come.

Collin’s law signed to prevent hazing tragedies – Ohio is looking to crack down on college hazing, reporter Susan Tebben writes.

Education reforms in state budget could narrow achievement gap – Columnist Rob Moore highlights the potential impact of the Ohio budget’s school funding overhaul.

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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

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