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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, October 4, 2013

November 2014 ballot issues may factor in statewide candidate races too

The potential ballot in November 2014 looks like it might be a little less crowded now that a group that had opposed a new law to ban storefront sweepstakes parlors has dropped its fight to place a repeal up for a statewide vote.

The Committee to Protect Ohio jobs wanted to repeal Ohio House Bill 7, and the group said it had gathered thousands of additional signatures after falling short of the required number earlier this month.

Ultimately the committee decided not to submit any more to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted by a Thursday night deadline.

House Bill 7 gives the state Attorney General’s Office regulatory authority over sweepstakes terminal devices used by internet sweepstakes cafés, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office. Cafés are required to obtain a certificate of registration from the Attorney General’s Office and file monthly reports.

The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation also now will have explicit authority to investigate gambling law violations alleged to occur at internet sweepstakes cafes. DeWine also plans to send letters to each of the 88 county prosecutors in Ohio on the issue.

Another group called Healthy Ohioans Work aims to have the Ohio General Assembly approve Medicaid expansion for people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Democrat lawmakers appear to be mostly united on this issue, but so far leading Republican lawmakers have declined to support the issue even with Gov. John Kasich urging them to do so.

It’s a lengthy process to submit the language and appropriate number of signatures to force the Ohio General Assembly to consider a proposal, but if the group is successful and state lawmakers don’t act, an initiative could be part of the November 2014 ballot.

Other possible initiatives that have been mentioned in publications across the state could include the so-called right to work issue, legalizing gay marriage and legalizing marijuana either for medicinal purposes and/or recreational use.

Next year will really be interesting on the statewide level as the governor’s race will be on the ballot along with most statewide officeholder positions.

It’s entirely possible that whatever issues do appear on the ballot would have a significant impact on how the candidates races go.

To provide just a quick example, Medicaid expansion in Ohio has proved to be a divisive issue especially between conservatives and most Democrats. Even some in the Republican Party aren’t unified against expansion — like Kasich, who supports it and top Republican lawmakers who apparently don’t.

In big races that involve statewide issues and candidates, getting loyal party voters and even independents interested can often mean the difference for a candidate’s chances of winning and losing. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Candidate endorsements

Candidates in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties who appear on the Nov. 5 ballot may send in listings of endorsements they receive for the upcoming election via email, fax or standard mail. They will appear online periodically on The News-Herald’s Northern Ohio Politics blog.


Dennis Morley, candidate for Eastlake mayor, will host a meet and greet event, 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10 and Oct. 24 at Trader Jacks in Eastlake.

Deadline reminder

The weekly deadline for information to appear in this column is each Wednesday at 5 p.m. Email or fax is preferred.


n State Rep. John Rogers hosts fall clambake, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Mentor Beach Park in Mentor-on-the-Lake. See Rogers or Kip Molenaar.

n Matt Jaworski, candidate for Wickliffe Council at large, hosts a bowling fundraiser, noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 12 at Wickliffe Lanes. See Jaworski or Matt Gallik.

n Lake County Commissioner Judy Moran hosts Oktoberfest 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at American Legion Hall in Willowick. See Paul Miller or Kevin Malecek.

n Lake County Recorder Ann M. Radcliffe hosts spaghetti dinner fundraiser 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Park Road Grill in Painesville Township. See Terri Conley.

John Arthur Hutchison

Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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