The future of the purge, the voucher lawsuit, and free speech in Ohio

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    Catching Our Eye:

    The future of the purge. Columbus Dispatch’s Rick Rouan and Doug Caruso are reporting, “County election officials wait to hear LaRose’s plan for controlling Ohio voter registration.”

    “Local election officials across Ohio are keeping a skeptical eye but an open mind on Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s idea to give the state more control of voter registration systems and voter purges.

    “LaRose has called the decentralized system that leaves it to 88 county boards of elections to clean up their own voter rolls ‘unacceptably messy’ after problems were uncovered with two 2019 voter purges. Now, his office is considering several options for more state involvement.

    “For example, the state could use a “hybrid system,” where counties take voter registrations but provide all data to the state for management. A statewide board of elections, with equal representation from both parties, also is on the table.”
    Another voucher update. Columbus Dispatch’s Anna Staver is reporting, “Ohio families, private schools file lawsuit to block school voucher deal.

    “A group of families, private schools and conservative organizations is asking the Ohio Supreme Court today to essentially throw out a deal on school vouchers.

    “The pact, which lawmakers finalized Friday, would delay the start of the application process for the EdChoice Scholarship program until April 1.

    “The reason for the hold-up: Giving time for lawmakers to negotiate another deal on how school vouchers are awarded in Ohio and decide which schools — if any — are eligible due to poor performance. Legislators were rushing to head off the start of applications to a list of eligible schools that, starting Saturday, would have more than doubled from 517 to 1,227 and included schools in some of highest-rated districts in the state.”
    Free speech. Cleveland.com’s Thomas Suddes is writing about, “Curbing Ohioans’ free speech rights in the guise of protecting infrastructure.

    “Ohio’s General Assembly is once again playing fetch for that wonderful group of people who do so much for Ohio: polluters.

    “An Ohio House committee OK’d Senate Bill 33 last week; the Senate passed it last year. It purports to shield ‘critical infrastructure’ – pipelines, fracking rigs, maybe even that telephone pole in front of your house – from those silly Ohioans who want to protect our state’s water, air and land…

    “Fact is, concerned Ohioans know something that pro-SB 33 state legislators won’t say (or, given some legislators’ intellectual limits, may not know): Ohio’s roadsides, streams and lakes, and swaths of its fields and forests have become cesspools and dumps for industries that don’t want to cover the costs of cleaning up their own pollution – so the state must.”

    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.