Voting rights, immigrants, medical cannabis, plastic bags and a farmer running against Jim Jordan

    Each day in our newsletter, we are highlighting stories and commentary from other media big and small throughout Ohio and the nation. If you’d like to get this feature directly to your inbox, please sign up for our newsletter here. 

    Catching our eye:

    Interests. Today the Ohio Capital Journal’s Tyler Buchanan reports on the various interests behind the Ohio House moving to stop local communities from enacting plastic bag bans. For instance, 20 of 26 cosponsors of the bill have received campaign contributions from the groups that testified in favor of their bills.

    All about the follow-up. The Associated Press is reporting, “voting-rights advocates in Ohio have urged both the state’s top lawyer and the elections chief to do more to assure that immigrants understand the voting process, after more than 350 apparent non-citizens were referred for investigation last week…

    “Groups including the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Ohio arms of the League of Women Voters, ACLU and Common Cause, and CAIR-Columbus said that publicly announcing investigations into potential voter irregularities involving immigrant communities is harmful. They said the probes rarely turn up serious offenses or intentional fraud, but those results are hardly ever shared with the public.”

    You either canna-can or you canna-can’t. The Columbus Dispatch’s Patrick Cooley is reporting that petitions have been submitted proposing more conditions to be eligible for medical cannabis use, but they face long odds as the State Medical Board of Ohio has voted down every proposed addition in the past:

    “At a meeting of the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee in the Rhodes Tower on Thursday, state officials unveiled the conditions included in 13 petitions submitted for consideration so far. The conditions include HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, Asperger’s, chronic back and hip pain, depression, bipolar disorder, Epstein-Barr virus (better known as mononucleosis or mono) and neuropathy.”

    Farm on. The Freemont News-Messenger’s Craig Shoup has a profile of Maplewood farmer Chris Gibbs, a former Republican who is considering a challenge to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan in Ohio’s 4th Congressional district:

    “(Gibbs) said Trump’s trade war with China cost many farmers their soybean crop sales and he has increasingly become dismayed with how the Republican Party is operating.

    “But he has seen the youth movement and revolt from people that could spur change in the country.

    “He said he wants to tap an underlying power of young voters ready for change.”

    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 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.