Rumblings from inside the rotunda at 1 Capitol Square in Columbus:
While the presidential election has been completely upended by the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign of Democrat Joe Biden held an organizing call Tuesday with what they said was about 1,500 Ohioans looking to get involved.
Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper led off the call, with Brown once again saying 2020 was the most important election of his lifetime: “If Trump wins and the Republicans win the Senate, this country will be unrecognizable in five years.”
Oh, no you don’t: Backers of two statewide ballot issue campaigns suffered a setback Tuesday when an appeals court blocked a judge’s order that would have allowed them to collect petition signatures online. The ruling by the panel of judges said the coronavirus pandemic might have made it more difficult, but not impossible, to gather signatures.
Distant memory: Critics, including a state lawmaker, have been sharing an outdated video on social media that shows Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton not wearing a mask and sitting near other people while talking about the coronavirus, Tobias reports. The video was recorded at cleveland.com on March 3, before Ohio had its first coronavirus case and well before the public health orders that restricted Ohioans’ activities.
Doctor becomes patient: The number of coronavirus deaths in Ohio cleared the 2,000 mark on Tuesday. Reportering from Gov. Mike DeWine’s briefing, Laura Hancock shared the story of a Southeast Ohio pediatrician who spent a month in the hospital with COVID-19.
Threat of violence: Akron police are investigating a phone call made to state Rep. Emilia Sykes, in which a person threatened violence against her father, state Sen. Vernon Sykes, Hancock reports. DeWine, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko condemned the threat.
Judgment call: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block the release or transfer of inmates from Ohio’s federal prison, where nine inmates have died from the coronavirus and hundreds have become infected. As John Caniglia reports, the high court upheld an order that the Bureau of Prisons identify and move vulnerable inmates from the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton, near Youngstown. One of the inmates at risk was corrupt former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, who tested positive for the virus while prison officials fought the order, Eric Heisig reports.
In my Skype room: Rep. Tim Ryan is receiving some high accolades for his background surroundings. The Room Rater Twitter account (@ratemyskyperoom), which rates people’s backgrounds when they appear on video, apparently loved Ryan’s digs. “Very working class hero,” Room Rater said in a tweet. “Hasn’t forgotten where he’s from. We’ll send you one of our Challenge Coins. We think you’ll approve. 9/10”
Delegating responsibility: The Ohio Democratic Party released its district-level delegate list for the presidential primary in the state. Former Vice President Joe Biden will collect 76 of the 89 delegates, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont taking the rest. Some of the notable names who will be going to the convention (assuming there is an in-person convention) include state Sen. Hearcel Craig; state Reps. Jeff Crossman, Kent Smith, Mary Lightbody, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Tavia Galonski and Allison Russo; former state Rep. and Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Clyde; Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein; and Cleveland City Councilmen Blaine Griffin and Jeff Johnson, who are all Biden delegates.
Don’t blame me: Laura Bischoff of the Dayton Daily News has details on two bills in the state legislature that would protect businesses and health care professionals from liability during emergencies. While business groups support the legislation, groups like AARP are concerned that it could make it more difficult for injured people, including those abused or neglected in nursing homes, to pursue claims, Bischoff reports.
ICYMI: Former state Rep. Clayton Luckie, convicted of public corruption in Dayton, got out of prison last week, reports Lynn Hulsey of the Dayton Daily News. Luckie pleaded guilty to a count of mail fraud, Hulsey reports.
Grapevine is a look at the decisions made by Ohio lawmakers as provided by The Columbus Dispatch and other Lima News wire reports.