Political briefs – July 30

Staff report


DURING HEARING ON VETERAN HOMELESSNESS, BROWN ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR BILL TO IMPROVE PROGRAMS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES – During a Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown renewed his call to end veteran homelessness. He is the original cosponsor of the Veteran Housing Stability Act of 2015, introduced today, that would increase access to permanent housing options for veterans.

“After serving our county with honor, our veterans should never have to worry about having a roof over their head,” said Brown. “Even one veteran on the street means Congress isn’t doing enough to tackle veteran homelessness. The Veterans Housing and Stability Act would make meaningful improvements to services for homeless veterans and give more veterans access to permanent housing opportunities.”

The Committee heard testimony from Lisa Pape, who serves as the Executive Director of Homelessness Programs and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration. Pape served part of her tenure with the VA at the Cleveland Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, where she was responsible for homeless outreach.

HUSTED NAMES SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR FOR RESPONSIBLEOHIO PETITIONS, SUBPOENAS RECORDS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted named David Bowers to serve as a special investigator to review discrepancies in the petitions submitted by ResponsibleOhio in their effort to place a constitutional amendment before voters this fall.

“As with every possible case of election fraud, it is my responsibility to investigate and hold accountable anyone who may have cheapened the voice of all Ohioans by cheating the system,” said Husted. “I have long stated that voter fraud is rare, but it happens; and when it does, we will call out the guilty parties and hold them accountable.”

Significant disparities remain between the number of petitions and signatures ResponsibleOhio claimed to have collected and the number the group actually submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. There are also discrepancies between the hard-copy petitions and what should have been identical electronic copies of those petitions. Such discrepancies, if the product of fraud, are subject to criminal penalties up to a fifth degree felony.

Secretary Husted will also exercise his authority under section 3501.05 of the Ohio Revised Code to subpoena Ian James and any relevant records in the possession of ResponsibleOhio and The Strategy Network to aid in the investigation.

David Bowers, Esq. is the principle at the Law Offices of David Bowers in Lima, Ohio. He is the former Prosecutor of Allen County where he was the longest-serving county prosecutor in Ohio at the time after 28 years of service. During his service, he maintained a conviction rate in excess of 90 percent in criminal prosecutions.

Last month, Secretary Husted issued a warning to ResponsibleOhio when it was discovered by county boards of elections that The Strategy Network, the organization managing ResponsibleOhio’s petition drive, was submitting an alarming number of fraudulent voter registration forms.

“Fraud and sloppiness have more in common than being the devastating cause of undermining voter confidence, they are illegal and will not be tolerated by my office,” added Husted.

AS SENATE DEBATES TRANSPORTATION BILL, BROWN INTRODUCES AMENDMENT TO FUND CRITICAL FREIGHT AND BRIDGE PROJECTS LIKE BRENT SPENCE – As the Senate debates a transportation bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced an amendment that would provide mandatory funding for a freight and bridge program that would fund major projects like the Brent Spence Bridge.

“The Brent Spence Bridge is critical not only to the economic wellbeing of southwest Ohio but to our nation’s economy,” said Brown. “This amendment would help Cincinnati and other Ohio communities invest in important infrastructure projects, create jobs, and ensure the safety of their citizens.”

The amendment would increase funding levels for the new Major Projects Program in the proposed transportation bill, as well as for a new freight grant program. The freight grant program would be funded annually out of the Highway Trust Fund instead of being subject to appropriations. Brown’s amendment, which is fully paid-for, includes a provision based on his Fair Playing Field Act, would raise revenue for job-creating infrastructure projects by ensuring that fulltime employees are no longer misclassified as independent contractors. Misclassifying employees allows employers to deny employees basic workplace protections, puts businesses that do play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage, and deprives the federal governments billions of dollars in tax revenue.


Staff report

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