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Gov. DeWine denies knowledge or memory of First Energy dark-money backing

DeWine denies knowledge of $4 million dark money, distracted driving tickets soar, Texas PAC influences Ohio House Republicans, and more news.

Gov. Mike DeWine recently expressed his lack of knowledge regarding FirstEnergy's contributions of over $4 million in dark money to nonprofit entities supporting his and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's campaigns. Additionally, he claimed to have no recollection of meeting with FirstEnergy lobbyists at a 2018 fundraiser, which coincided with a $500,000 transfer to the Republican Governors Association.

In other news, a surge in traffic tickets has been observed following the implementation of a law allowing police to initiate traffic stops for distracted driving. Interestingly, despite the increase in tickets, distracted driving-related crashes and fatalities have decreased.

A Texas-based group, Make Liberty Win, spent $2 million on Ohio House Republicans' primary elections last month, resulting in the defeat of four incumbents who supported Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens. The group aims to continue its efforts to influence Ohio politics through November by working to defeat Democrats.

House Speaker Jason Stephens and Minority Leader Allison Russo have assured that legislation will be passed to ensure President Joe Biden's placement on the state's November ballot. This move is intended to prevent future presidential nominees from facing similar issues.

Ohio lawmakers are introducing a resolution urging Major League Baseball to lift Pete Rose's lifetime ban for gambling and induct him into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Despite the resolution being non-binding, it highlights the perceived hypocrisy of MLB's stance on Rose.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb recently visited Washington, D.C., to advocate for President Joe Biden with union members and promote local projects. Bibb's efforts in the nation's capitol included urging the construction of a proposed Amtrak line connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton.

In a somber note, Jerry Wray, the former Ohio Department of Transportation director, passed away. Wray, who led ODOT for 16 years, was remembered for his contributions to the department, including setting up the Transportation Review Advisory Council.

Jack Daniels, a Republican serving on New Franklin City Council, is set to fill a vacancy in Ohio House District 32. Daniels' appointment comes after the Summit County Republican Party recommended him for the position.

Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno expressed opposition to a bill that includes aid for Ukraine and Taiwan while potentially banning TikTok. Moreno's stance on the bill reflects his nuanced approach to various components within it.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 34, which excuses breastfeeding mothers of babies up to age 1 from jury service. This bill, set to take effect at the end of July, aligns Ohio with other states that have similar laws or provisions for breastfeeding mothers.

Steve Bannon, former campaign executive for Donald Trump, criticized U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and other House Republicans on his podcast. Bannon's remarks shed light on the dynamics within the Republican Party and its relationship with Trump.

Lastly, some Republican state lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would tighten Ohio's voter ID law and allow hand-counting of ballots in certain cases. House Bill 472 aims to address loopholes in the current voter ID requirements and make the electoral process more secure.

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